Pikes Peak

Bruce and I won tickets last year to ride the Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak. We were super excited about the opportunity because neither of us could remember what it was like to ride up (we had both been with our grandmas when we were little!) I also hiked it once in high school when I had no idea what hiking a 14ner was really like so we hitch-hiked the way down which means I’ve also experienced the Pikes Peak Highway. But turns out that was over a decade ago too so my memory is not as clear.

Life got busy and we kept pushing the tickets to the side, finally just before they were going to expire, we cashed in our tickets and got off work early for a date night with a view. The whole way up we were glued to our windows. This is the world we live in – the drive to the train station took us 10 minutes with parking. But the view, it was something so new and so thrilling. I see Pikes Peak in my rear view mirror every morning and I drive back toward it every evening. Taking the time to look at something so familiar in a new way was good for us – to feel the fresh air, to feel small, to be thankful for the little things.
I had plans for taking some cool style photos at the top of the mountain, but I scrapped it all to have a messy bun and a comfortable outfit. At the top I wanted to stand by my husband and peer out into the world, not try to mess with the lighting forever and attempt to fight the wind for the perfect photo. Of course we took some at the top, but it was more for the memory then the idea of a perfect blog post.
I’m not always good at this. This thing called slowing down. The time away from pushing forward, making plans, and getting things done. I struggled trying to figure out how to perfectly capture the beauty with my camera – landscapes are not something I’ve played with a lot. And while it was good to try, to learn, to focus, I did also put my camera down to look, to see, and to experience.  I’m never the person who tells you to put down the camera to enjoy life because I think the presence of a photo is a gift that continues to give but I also think there is a time when we need to let things go. I didn’t need a wonderful outfit or landscape shots that could be featured on Natural Geographic. I just needed to rest, to play, to try, and to live.
Here are those shots. I’m learning to find my photography style. I’m playing around with what I have and creating art the way I long too. It’s not perfect but that is okay. And maybe even more important than any photos we came home with was the time spent together and the 4 hour break from cellphone service.
Go look at the world in a new way. I dare you.

What kinds of “touristy” things are in your neighborhood that you could give a try? Have you ever been to Pikes Peak before? Did  you climb, drive, or ride the train?

Author: Oak & Oats

  • What a great view, and a perfect way to spend quality time with your husband. I live in a neighborhood that is very popular with tourists, but I haven't done too many of the things (walking tours, etc.). There is a boat tour along the river though, which passes near our place, and I might do that with my parents one day on their next visit. It's fun to play tourist in your own city.

  • We are planning to ride the train down when we hike Pike's Peak at the end of the month. Man, I am getting so excited!

  • i've driven by pike's peak when in colorado visiting family, but we've never gone up! and around here, we've got the liberty bell and other historic stuff…although i'm hoping to explore some nearby waterfalls this summer (as a break from going into the city to see old beautiful things) 🙂

  • The best photographer in the world couldn't capture the beauty on top of Pike's Peak or any 14er! It's something to be seen and enjoyed. Now, when I'm there that doesn't stop me from taking a million photos!

    With landscape I have learned that a high ISO (13+) really helps capture a full scene!

    I've climbed Pike's Peak before and it was a lot of fun! I'd do it again even if it does feel like death. =)

  • These are beautiful! And I totally agree – I feel like a photo is so valuable since it gives us the ability to put ourselves back in the moment, later on in time. But, being able to put the camera down and soak it all in is important too, and I struggle sometimes with finding that balance since I started blogging.

  • Gorgeous! You and the views! 🙂 As you know, I've never been up on Pikes Peak and I'm dying to go! 🙂 I love what you said about putting the camera down and enjoying the views. It brings that scene to mind from Walter Mitty where they are waiting for a snow leopard sighting. When they finally see it, Sean doesn't take the picture and Walter asks him why. He says, "Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it." I love that, and it's a good reminder of the importance of being completely present. XOXO.

  • Eryn Ivey

    The train photo is really beautiful!

  • How gorgeous! I feel like I am really learning when the memory is more important than the photograph. And yet, I'll never be the person that doesn't take photographs!

  • Beautiful! So glad you guys cashed in on those tickets! I think we take local tourist attractions for granted. Dan and I are always looking back at all of the things we didn't do when we lived in Southwest Virginia; there were so many things we just assumed we could see anytime, which resulted in us not seeing them at all.

  • Bailey

    I took the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak when I was in Colorado 2 years ago. I loved it! I also hiked part of the Manitou Incline and Barr Trail.

  • There's a "duck tour" here that I'd like to go on someday. It's this funny looking bus that starts at the space needle and you drive around the city, then it floats! in the sound to give you a look at the city from the water:)

  • Such beautiful photos! 🙂 A messy bun and a comfortable outfit are the best!

  • Love the bun and comfy clothes look. 😉 When we were in Colorado we did this and had so much fun! I want to come back!!

  • Amy

    they are beautiful beth!
    and i love what you said – you most definitely have to put the camera down and really see things and experience them! i'm glad you did all of it.
    you didn't take the fancy outfit, you put the camera down, you stood next to bruce and you mentally imprinted the moment. <3 it's one of the beautiful things life is about.

  • These are beautiful! It can be hard to find the balance between "document all the things!" and just being in the moment. I'm working on finding that balance, too.