Sunday, July 22, 2007

Up the Mountain

Okay, so I didn’t do such a good job of keeping this updated every day. I got so busy with class and some other fun stuff that I didn’t get a chance to update this every day. Right now I’m driving home. I think we just passed Fort Riley (I learned on the way out that up on a hill across from the base is one of the only nuclear cannons in the world). So I thought that I would take a few minutes to update you on the last several days.

The day after the giant geology lecture we actually got to go out into the Garden of the Gods and look at some of the stuff that we had learned about yesterday. Now you have to understand that I had walked through Garden of the Gods several times. I actually proposed to my wife there last year. I had been on the same trail that we took at least 3 times before. But after going through it with someone that knew the geology it was a whole different story. It was like putting on a pair of glasses that allowed you to see things you had never seen before. Some of the highlights included seeing where two separate geologic formations come together (one formed under water and the other from blowing sand), and seeing part of the rock where you could actually see water ripples like you would see at the edge of a stream or on the beach. We took about a two hour walk and saw all kinds of things that I had never noticed before.

The next day we spent at a nature center called Fountain Creek. It was really pretty. It was cool because it had five distinct habitats in one area. We took several hikes and looked at the plants and some animals. We say a frog, tons of birds, a great blue heron, a turtle, several small lizards, a snake, and the coolest was a weasel. I had never seen one before and when we told them about it they said that it was only seen a couple of times a year. We also did some water and soil testing as well as took an in depth look at pond much. I was amazed at how many animals were in one scoop of it, leaches, worms, bugs, and crawdads to name a few.

Thursday was an AWESOME day. I was nervous about going to the top of Pikes Peak but I made it. We made several stops along the way. My job in my group was to take pictures and to participate in a lung test. I had to get out of the van and blow into a tube (seen below) to measure my lung capacity. Then I had to play Frisbee for a minute and take the test again. I thought that my lung capacity would go way down as we went up the mountain. It did go down but not as much as I thought.

Playing frisbee on the mountain. You can see the beginning of Pikes Peak in the background on the right.

Giant rock located in the "Devil's Playground". This was the stop before reaching the summit. That is my wife climbing up the rock in the grey sweatshirt.

Flowers on the mountain.

Once again at "Devil's Playground". We are about 13,000 feet above sea level. The lake you see in the background is huge. It doesn't look like it from this view but it really is.

One of the things that I was very surprised about was that half of the road on the way up was dirt and there was NO GUARDRAIL. There is no way I could have driven up there. Thank goodness I was riding. Everyone in the van knew that I was nervous and they were really cool about it. At our last stop before the top we got out at a place called Bottomless Pit. It was beautiful. It was starting to get cloudy but you could see a long way down a big canyon. The flowers were really cool. Little bitty yellow, bright blue and purple flowers were everywhere. I even looked over the edge. I was standing a long way back but I did look down. It was a loooooong way down.

We then made our way to the summit. The elevation is 14,110 feet above sea level. When we first got up there you could see a little but the clouds were starting to move in. It took me a few minutes to get used to it up there but once I did I was okay. When the clouds moved in it was kind of creepy. You couldn’t see very far at all. I actually wish that it hadn’t been so cloudy. I was scared but if I went up there, I wanted to be able to see. I actually might try going up the cog railroad sometime. Overall, I am really happy that I did it. It was really cool.

Now I am driving home (actually, I am riding. Typing and driving wouldn’t be too much fun). So far I have written my back to school letter, done this post and have worked on a class mission patch. I will probably do a post about that later. Tomorrow is going to be a sleep in day and then Monday I head to Springfield, Missouri to attend the last week of math academy. I will try to post more next week.


Anonymous said...

Awesome blog Mr. Kelsey. See ya on Saturday! I'm excited to get the pictures!

Kim Weber

Anonymous said...

13,000 feet above sea level! And I say I'm scared of hights! WOW!