One cannot plan or manufacture a perfect day. Perfect Days just happen. And, perfect days don’t come along very often. But, how do they happen? Is there a formula? How do the weather, company, food, health, and attitudes mix to develop a perfect day?
My husband’s sister and her husband and daughter stayed with us for a couple of days last week. They were making a touring circuit from Chicago and Colorado was included. After presenting a few local touring options, the final decision to visit Pikes Peak was made. With a picnic loaded, cameras at the ready, and designating the car for the “boys” and the van for the “girls,” our two-vehicle caravan made its way toward the Fourteener. The youngest grandkids were equipped with walkie-talkies, with the girls’ vehicle designated as ‘Eagle’ and the boys’ vehicle as ‘Falcon.’ (Our Miss M tended switch them around.) Frequent unintelligible chatter ensued. The predicted low temperatures and cloudy conditions proved to be in error. The sun shined brightly and there were just enough fluffy clouds to add interest to our photography.
Colorado has some of the bluest skies anywhere and this day did not disappoint. I removed my sunglasses occasionally to fully appreciate the blueness. We stopped at Crystal Lake Reservoir to enjoy the views from below the peak. A few families were fishing along lake shores. Crystal Lake is one of the reservoirs that provides water to Colorado Springs. The water table is good this year, thank goodness!
A bike race was in progress as we wound our way along the switch-backs up the mountain. The few remaining bikers making the ascent appeared to be struggling, yet still moving. (Mental note: never sign up for a bike race up Pikes Peak. Never. Ever.) The road leading us to our destination wound through the montane terrain filled with pine and aspen trees and then to treeless tundra. Large rocks covered the ground as we approached the peak. The walkie-talkie chatter became a little more excited.
The temperatures atop Pikes Peak were in the 40’s and 50’s F., made worse by the wind. We donned our sweatshirts and jackets and trekked to the Pikes Peak Summit sign to take the obligatory photos. (I’ve been up there so many times that I didn’t bother with a photo of Hubby and I [yep, I forgot I’m a blogger] I did manage a quick photo of the grandkids so I could post it to my daughter’s Facebook page. She did not make the trip–afraid of heights.) The view from the summit is always breathtaking (except when it’s cloudy, of course) and it can take one’s breath away (or that could be the wind). The kids were excited to watch the Cog Railway train approach on what our Mr. D called “weird train tracks.”
The views were magnificent from all around the peak and we all took our time taking in the scenes from every angle. Eventually, however, the cold air forced the littles inside the crowded Summit House to warm up. A couple of souvenir purchases later, we made our way back to the two-car caravan. Our Chicago relatives were feeling the altitude a bit, so the water and granola bars waiting in the van were much appreciated.
The views on our trip down the mountain were even more stunning than they were on the way up. Our descent was halted to enjoy our picnic at the Halfway Picnic Grounds, where the food was greatly appreciated. The kids (and some of us adults–okay just me) enjoyed climbing on the rocks. In the years past, we took photos of the kids in a tree near the picnic table, so we found another good tree to repeat the tradition. Our Miss M wasn’t really sure she wanted to do this when she saw how high she was sitting in the tree. But she smiled bravely for the photos and was the first to be removed from the tree. After a short hike around the picnic ground, we finished the descent, saying “So Long” to Pikes Peak.
Our two-car caravan took a short trek through Garden of the Gods park, including a stop to climb around Balancing Rock. Ending the day with a barbecue at home, including some yard games and the obligatory football toss, completed the exhausting, but satisfying day.
Not a particularly exciting day. Not a particularly life-changing day. Not a particularly eventful day. But definitely . . .
A Perfect Day