Sunday morning, we took our time getting ready for our day in lovely Colorado. Prior to our trip, I had made reservations for us on the Cog Railway up to the summit of Pikes Peak. We had all been looking forward to this little excursion- especially Sassy, who asked constantly when it was time to take the train ride to the top of the mountain. The girls enjoyed chasing each other around our hotel room for a while, and Little A tried desperately to convince Sassy that she should allow her to brush her hair. Yikes!
We decided to make one last trip to Garden of the Gods, this time actually stopping in at the visitor's center. It was really nice- there was a small museum, educational demonstrations, and a nice gift shop. Sassy collected some more rocks and Little A picked out the cutest stuffed wolf. Tyler and Sassy also chose a Colorado Spruce sapling to take home and transplant.
On the upper level, just outside the gift shop, there is a walk out balcony, if you will, with gorgeous views of the garden across the highway. It was such a beautiful day, and the girls really enjoyed running back and forth and tip-toeing to see the scenery.
Tyler, Sassy, and Little A had some adorably memorable moments on the balcony. There is something about quality Daddy-daughter time that is just enough to melt my heart...
Finally, it was time to pile into the car and drive to the foot of Pikes Peak for our train ride. The weather was predicted to turn a bit for the worse around noon, and sure enough, it did. When we arrived at the railway, we were informed that the train would not be traveling all the way to the top due to inclement weather, but rather to mile 6 or so. As disappointed as we all were, I had to let out a small sigh of relief, as I had been having nightmares about all the horribly tragic things that could happen to the girls when we reached to top and got out of the train. I know, I know... ridiculous. But, still. I even bought a LEASH for Little A for this very trip. Yeah... resorting to the child leash... wow.
We bought lunch to take on the train, and waited in line to board. It was a really neat atmosphere- felt very vintage to me.
The girls were just thrilled with our seats- almost the very front of the train! They had so much stinkin' fun on the ride. The train wasn't packed, so we had a bit of room to move around, and we could allow the girls to switch back and forth from the bench we were assigned to and the bench facing us. It was great!
We had plenty of time to laugh, tell stories, sing songs and eat snacks since our ride was a little over 2 hours, round-trip.
Did I mention that I took as many pictures during our train ride as I did of the rest of our trip?
It was the strangest thing when we reached the max point of our ascent. Until that point, the track ahead was free and clear. However, we reached a certain point where you could not see one bit of track ahead. It was completely snowed over, and that's what determined how far up we were able to travel.
We switched sides of the train car with some neighbors so that we could see the view from the other side on the way down. Sassy and Little A continued to eat their lunch and we waited anxiously for the stop off point around mile 4 where we could stop and stretch our legs a bit.
Although we were a bit cold, the girls had a great time playing in the snow. That is until Sassy failed to pay attention for a moment and fell face-first down a very small snow embankment. It was all Tyler and I could do to stifle our laugh as she screamed like a banshee as she fell. She was very distraught that she got her jeans wet and that snow went inside her boot. Oh, the trauma...
We boarded the train again, and Sassy was very quiet the rest of the way down. Both girls sat on Tyler's lap, and Little A dozed off here and there, comforting herself with her notorious finger-sucking. Oh, my sweet, sweet little family.
When all was said and done, we were actually thankful that the ride was condensed from the normal 3 hours and 10 minutes, since the girls did grow restless and sleepy towards the end of our decent. Having said that, the Cog Railway was one of the highlights of our trip, and we hope to take the full ride someday in the future.
And, so ends our pictures from Colorado. We spent the remainder of the day walking around Manitou Springs. Tyler was about in heaven when we stumbled upon a little cafe that served Yerba Maté. Since college, he has been in search of the special little gourd cup and straw that you use to drink this tea out of, and sure enough, he scored a prized souvenir for himself.
We tried to make it to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings before they shut their gates, as the stayed open for an hour and a half past this time for tourists already inside. But, we took a bit longer than we had anticipated loading the girls into the car, and we missed it by one minute... literally. We saw the gates being shut for the evening. I only pouted a little bit.
On our way out of Manitou, we stopped at another rock store for Sassy to choose souvenir to bring home for LMB and LuLu. Oh, and herself, of course. Good thing these rocks are inexpensive! We also stopped at a popcorn place and a winery for some booty to bring home!
We decided to take the girls to Poor Richard's to check out the toy store and bookstore. After spending some time there, we headed over to Old Chicago for a pizza dinner. Yum!
Lastly, we found a great theater to take the girls to- the $1.50 admission was just the right price to take the girls to see The Princess & the Frog again, rather than head back to the hotel prematurely. And, even when the girls both fell asleep and we snuck out of the theater three quarters of the way through, we didn't feel too bad!
Ta Da! Our trip to Colorado was complete. We packed the car and got as much sleep as we could to prepare for our early departure and 8 hour ride home the following day. We had a wonderful family vacation, filled with excellent memories, and we can't wait for our next family adventure! We are so blessed to be able to do things like this!