September 3rd, 2007 – by: alyssa_ob
Being in the Springs over Labor Day, I decided we were going to play and not work.
"I like it on top" is apparently the slogan for making it to the top of Pike's Peak. Not like it is hard - you just drive up it. But the drive was so fun I did it a second time. Again, the view from the top isn't much, but the drive is awesome. And so is stopping at the pulloffs to play on the rocks. We played at Devil's playground again, and another spot that I'm sure has a name. We even saw a few marmots up there. You want to go up to the top early because it often gets cloudy or stormy over the peak by 1 pm.
We found a place called St. Peter's Dome about 8 miles outside of the Springs that had fluorite and feldspar and maybe some other minerals.
Nice place for a walk
Both of us being rockhounds, we decided to check it out. Well, the map was a little misleading. This road - Old Stage Road - took us up and through the mountains on a windy gravel road. It tooks us about 45 minutes to go 8 miles! But again, it was a fun road to drive, except for all the washboards. We finally get to the pull off and rested for few minutes. I got a shake in town, but wasn't able to eat it because I needed both hands to drive up here. So I wolfed down my half melted shake before we decided to find the outcrops. They were on a little road behind us that went to a shooting range. We didn't see any signs for the range, but the road angled the same way as it did on the map so we took it.
Back of NORAD and Fort Carson
It was a little rough - maybe very rough - do not attempt in a regular car! Lots of wash outs and at one point the car was tipped sideways at what felt like a 45 degree angle (but probably wasn't, since we didn't tip over). This area is popular for drinking parties, as evidenced by the numerous broken bottles, beer cans and bonfire remnants. I stopped by big pile of gravel. Sure enough, there was the fluorite! It was the pretty stuff - green and purple. I wished I had my rock hammer, but I wan't planning on rock hunting out there. So we spent a good hour picking up rocks and hiking a little bit. It started to look stormy and I didn't want to be up there if it stormed, so we headed back down.
Next stop - Garden of the Gods. I figured if it rained we could just stay in the car. But it didn't rain. Just looked stormy and thundered around us. Pikes Peak was a pretty purple with the dark blue storm clouds over it. We walked around the rocks at Garden of the Gods a little bit. Unlike last time, I could find parking and there weren't a million people there. It is a really nice park with paved trails winding through the rock formations.
Being the end of the day, we stopped at a little wood-baked pizza place on Tejon St in downtown Colorado Springs for dinner. Yum! Very good pizza!