1. Pikes Peak below summit 4
    View from the back of the gift shop just below the summit (peak) at more than 11,000 feet elevation.  Travelers to the summit take the bus due to construction.   

Reach for the mountaintop,

Even though breath is labored and you breathe in deep.

For I’m from a lower plain, not accustomed to the steep.

The head is a little light, and I take it slow,

But I behold the wonderful beauty that’s set above.

Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop-2Where do you go once the peak you reached?

Can you go higher, or down in retreat?

Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop
Image behind the gift shop just below the summit.
Pikes Peak gift shop and restaurant just below the summit.

Pikes Peak below summit

Image behind the gift shop looking upward to the summit area.
Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop-3
Image behind the gift shop just below the summit.  I wonder how many would be tempted to climb these rocks?
Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop- no scrambling
Image behind the gift shop just below the summit.  

Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop-4At Pikes Peak the choice is clear,

Downward I travel – beauty still around,

Pikes Peak summit area from gift shop-5Of the trees, the lake, the rocks and life.

pikes peak lake
The summit trip was cut short due to weather – and snow beginning; hence no photos from the summit itself.  

Pikes Peak leaving signI’m glad I had this mountaintop trip,

Instead of looking above from below,

Wondering what it would look like, or be,

Of the experience that one loves.

Pursue your mountaintop experience – physical, mental and spiritual.



Pikes Peak Info –

Elevation: 14,115 feet (4,302 meters)

Prominence: 5,510 feet (1,679 meters)

Location: Front Range, Colorado

Coordinates: 38.83333 N /  -105.03333 W

Map: USGS topographic map 7.5 minute Pikes Peak

First Known Ascent: Dr. Edwin James and 2 others, July 14, 1820.

Ute Indian Name

The Tabeguache Band of the Ute Indians, who often camped in the valleys below the mountain, called it Tava or “Sun.” Tabeguache means “People of the Sun Mountain.” The Arapaho Indians from northern Colorado called the great peak heey-otoyoo’, which means “long mountain.”

Named for Zebulon Pike

Pikes Peak is named for explorer Zebulon Pike, who described the mountain on an expedition in 1806 to determine the southern boundary of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Pike, naming the mountain Grand Peak, attempted to climb it from the south but deep November snows thwarted his summit bid. The early Spanish explorers called it El Capitan or The Captain for its dominance of southern Colorado’s landscape.

First Known Ascent in 1920

The first recorded ascent was by Dr. Edwin James, a botanist on Major Stephen H. Long’s expedition, along with two others on July 14, 1820. James’ party set a forest fire on the way down, scorching thousands of acres. Major Long named the peak for Dr. James, but trappers and mountain men continued to call it Pikes Peak.

First Woman to Climb in 1858

Julia Archibald Holmes was the first recorded woman to climb Pikes Peak with her ascent on August 5, 1858.

She was also the first woman to climb a Fourteener in Colorado. No other woman accomplished that feat for 23 years. Read Julia Archibald Holmes: First Woman to Climb Pikes Peak for the complete story about her landmark ascent.

Most Visited High Mountain in the USA

Pikes Peak is the most visited high mountain in the United States, with over 500,000 people reaching the summit by hiking, climbing, driving, or cog railway.

Most drive up the paved 19-mile-long Pikes Peak Highway, which starts from Cascade in Ute Pass and winds up to the peak’s flat summit. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway finished in 1891, carries passengers 8.9 miles from Manitou Springs to the summit.

Pikes Peak Marathon

The Pikes Peak Marathon, a grueling test of running endurance, ascends 26 miles up and down Barr Trail every August. The day before the round-trip event is a one-way 13-mile race to the summit.

“America the Beautiful” Song

In 1893 schoolteacher Katherine Lee Bates was so inspired by the view atop Pikes Peak that she wrote “America the Beautiful,” the unofficial hymn of the United States.

Pikes Peak or Bust!

”Pikes Peak or Bust” was the slogan of the 1858/1859 gold rush to the diggings west of today’s Denver near Central City. The slogan was painted on the sides of covered wagons. Yee-Haw!



15 thoughts on “Mountaintop

  1. I am way behind in blog post responses, but this is really inspirational and wonderful writing about a place I have heard of but never been to. Wonderful description and words on life itself. Thank you so kindly.

    1. Well I can see why. I don’t think I could handle the hike. Adjusting to the oxygen level was sufficient more me. I’m sure you have many stories to tell about the peak. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I know what you mean. The Rocky Mountains are higher than the east coast ones but the ride seems to be more gradual; not too bad. 🙂

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