Wednesday, September 9, 2009

literally on top of the world

I was watching HouseHunters (HGTV) today and some couple was buying a home in Sedona, Arizona and he said, "Out here you're literally on top of the world," which...look, the word "literally" should be used sparingly. Because if you really want to get LITERAL, then every place where there's sky above you is on TOP of the world. Let's see, where are you not on top of the world...caves. underwater. That's all I can come up with. And, you're kind of still on top, just nestled within the world's lovely folds.

As I thought way too much about this guy in Sedona I scoffed, "I'll see your top of the world and raise (pun!) you about 10,000 feet." That's what we did on Labor Day. The night before, as I was slipping into the sweet embrace of sleep, Joel suggested we drive to Pikes Peak, one of Colorado's famed 14-ers, and the only one where you can actually drive to the summit. Being the good American I am, if there's an option to drive, I do it. "Sure, yeah, let's talk about it in the morninzzzzzzzz."

Early the next morning, I left to go for a lovely 5-mile run with my friend "Sylvia." Since she is a Colorado native, I asked her about various things to do and returned home, not only excited for our day's excursion, but armed with even more things to do (cave exploration, cliff dwellings, waterfalls, etc.). Major good-job-wife points. I informed the kids it was Family Field Trip day and after a shower and breakfast and the hurdles which entail getting a family out the door, we were on our way.

the road alternated between pavement and dirt. funsies.

The drive up to Pikes Peak is 19 miles of some of the freakiest switchbacks I've ever ridden. At one point Joel incredulously said, "Are you even LOOKING at the views?!" I was. Occasionally. For a few seconds. Then straight ahead, eyes wide, knuckles white, teeth clenched. I was very relieved to get to the top. And it was... hmm. There doesn't seem to be a word suitable for up there. The immediate surroundings are bleak, to say the least, since we were well above the timberline. They're not kidding around with the name Rocky Mountains. But the view... It's no wonder that the song "America, the Beautiful" was inspired after reaching that summit and beholding the panoramic views.

We walked and climbed and looked around for a while, even running into some friends, before starting our descent. For some reason going down didn't worry me. We stopped various times to climb on more rocks and look at more views. I think we might have inadvertently damaged some alpine surface foliage (said to grow an inch in 75 years) when we were trekking around. Way to go, family. About a third of the way down they have a brake checkpoint where we were informed our brakes were "a little hot" and we needed to give them a rest. Well that's because some morons were going even slower than *I* thought we should be going, forcing us to ride our brakes all the way down, creating temperatures close to 400 degrees. That's not an exaggeration.

climbing on giant rocks is fun when you're 4 AND when you're 33

At one point when we got out to hike some rock formations, Donovan leaped from the car, hooted, "More cwy-ming wocks! WOOHOO!" and then threw his arms around my legs and exclaimed, "Fank you for dis fam-wee field twip!" You're welcome, little dude. Seeing you scamper up and over and through granite boulders is all the thanks I need.

Donovan being...Donovan. About 4 steps back it's a bit of a drop.
Donovan laughs in the face of danger (every day).

We spent so much time ascending and descending the mountain that we didn't have time to do anything else. So we look forward to future Family Field Trips down there. This one was truly spectacular. Standing up there at the summit, I really felt like I was on top of the world. But I would never say "literally." That would be lame.

Ainsleigh and me

Gemma thought the 40-degree weather was a touch chilly

the obligatory "I'm not looking at you" picture

We made it! Thank goodness for guardrails.


Lisa said...

...I've never been to Pike's Peak. How lame is that?

P.S. You look super-hot.

Sarah Burgoyne said...

I watched that same episode! Did you notice how every other word out of their mouths was "view."
It was driving me crazy!

Christina said...

WOW! That last photo is incredible. I am inspired to go for a little drive up there now. I haven't been since I was a little kid.

Becca said...

Umm can we go there when I come?? I would surely love it!

Melin said...

I'm totally moving there. That is like the best family

Nataluscious said...

Did you photoshop those pics? That background is just too surreal. Don't you love Colorado? You can't leave here. Joel will just have to find a job here. period.

laura said...

Ha! Yeah, that picture of Dono almost looks like he's superimposed. Awesome.