Mother's Day at 14,000 feet

"Above the clouds, the sky is always blue."

 - Therese of Lisieux

This has been on my Colorado bucket list since we arrived, but we couldn't go that high up right away, so I have been anxiously waiting to do this.  Pike's Peak sits at over 14,114 feet and even though Colorado Springs is at 6,035 feet, we had to wait at least six months for our bodies to adjust.  There was nothing more perfect than Mother's Day to finally go to the top of Pike's Peak since it is the only day of the year that my family is actually required to do exactly what I want to do!  (Plus, mom's are free on Mother's Day!!!)  The cost was $15 per adult, $5 per child ages 5-16yrs or $50 per vehicle to go to the summit.  If you only want to do the North Slope without going all the way up it would be $5 per vehicle.  

The 20 miles of highway is quite honestly, the most beautiful, peaceful, terrifying piece of road I have ever been on.  The scenery is breathtaking around every switchback and I was so happy to be the passenger so I could mentally prepare for every photo I wanted to take on the way back down.  (Pretty sure the family was happy I wasn't driving as well.)  My recommendation is to drive all the way up and then make your stops on the way down so you can let your brakes cool off.  

There was snow above the tree line and it was actively snowing when we got to the top!  Oh, yes, and it was cold.  The temperature at the summit was 26 degrees, but the "feels like" temp was 13 degrees.  My children, of course, did not want to wear jackets, but don't think I didn't tell them to bring one before we left the house!

It is gorgeous up there above the trees and the clouds.  The Cog Railway used to bring you to the top, but is closed until further notice, so you can freely walk along the tracks and around the entire peak.  I recommend spending a few minutes alone up there to feel your own peace.  You can also go to the gift shop and grab a shirt that says "I Like It on Top" or "Got Oxygen," and a hot chocolate or pretzel for part of the drive down.  

The views are the best!  They are worth the cost and facing your fear of heights, but beware of the altitude.  You will most likely feel light headed and get a headache, especially if you live closer to sea level.  Drink plenty of water on the way up and for the rest of the day.  Altitude sickness can creep up on anyone, so do not think you are immune.  

The random spots along the road are the best places for these beautiful, untouched natural wonders.  Being up in the mountains among endless views of mountains is awesome!

This is the mandatory brake checkpoint where they measure the temperature of your car's brakes.  If they are 300 degrees or above, they will politely ask you to pull over and wait until they cool down.  There is another small gift shop here and hopefully you don't have to hang out too long.  

I am so ready to do some photography sessions on this beautiful highway.  If anyone wants to create a magical photo session in the mountains for your family portraits, engagement sessions or modeling portfolio - CALL ME!  

The most beautiful part of the highway to me, was Crystal Lake Reservoir.  You can reach the lake for the North Slope price of $5 per vehicle and I plan on going back many more times before we leave.  There is another gift shop here and if you walk out back, you can feed the chipmunks.  The shop employees will come out and give the kids sunflower seeds and the cute little rodents will come eat them right out of their hands.  Now, I am ready to see this place in July!

"The mountains are calling and I must go."

 - John Muir


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