When I was ready to head out of Buddy's place (and thank you to Buddy and Jessica for being such awesome people and thoughtful hosts!), I decided to go hit up a 14'er and Pikes Peak was right near Colorado Springs. I was confused about the mixed signals my intuition was giving me about making it to the top, but I got the joyful go-ahead to go to the mountain so off I went! Oh, Buddy let me drop off some boxes, my computer and monitors, and some other bulk and weight in his place. Thank you again! Without that added stuff, my car gets better gas mileage, brakes faster and puts less wear on my brakes, and it doesn't bottom out as much on speedbumps! Woohoo!!
Anyways, off we go to Pikes Peak! After paying the $10 entry fee I started making the drive up to the top. Along the way you'll find cool stuff like a sign warning travelers about bigfoot sightings, a frozen reservoir with a beautiful view of the mountain, and many smaller peek-a-boo previews of the mountain as you drive.
There is a shop I stopped at at 11,450 feet. After hopping out of my car, my eyebrows furrowed as I noticed this weird looking dog being fed. Wait a second... that's not a dog, that's a fox! Turns out there's this fox that comes by and looks for handouts. The shop owners also come out and feed him to make sure he gets his fill. :)
One of the great things about animals, and this is generally frowned upon, is that they can become very friendly and approachable. This was shot with my wide angle which I was so happy about because I could get close to the little dude and simultaneously get some contextual background in the shot. As you look from left to right, you'll see the Glen Cove Inn, some trucks parked out front, the ranger parked way back down the street, the checkpoint where I believe they check the temperature of your brakes to make sure they're not overheated as you come down from the summit (you gotta use lower gears and if your brakes are too hot, they make you wait at least 30 min or so). Keep moving right and you'll find the road cones blocking the road up to the summit. More on this in a second. Then all the way on the right edge of the frame you'll see some snow plows to keep the roads clear.
So it turns out there was an avalanche the previous night and so they actually shut down the road up to the summit. I went up to the ranger parked in the back and asked if I could hike up to see the avalanche (which was only 600 yards up the street), but he told me that they weren't even sending in their own cleanup crew yet as the avalanche danger was still much too high.
Just behind the shop is this sweet rock face. I met two mountaineers there fully decked out in climbing gear. I offered to take a shot of each of them and email the shots to them. We talked for a bit and they explained what they had been up to and how avalanches work. Actually, speaking of avalanches, let's explore that in the next photo... :)