Today was a full day. The Gray Line van picked me up at 8:00. We had a brief tour of downtown Colorado Springs before heading to Cañon City to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park (www.royalgorgebridge.com). I spent about four hours walking around and taking various rides. Their electronically-powered water clock is one of only three in the world. It shows the exact time, day, month and year.
First I took the Aerial Tram across the Arkansas River. At 2,200 feet long it is the world’s longest single-span aerial tram. It is 1,178 feet above the river. On the other side I watched some people ride the Royal Rush Skycoaster, the world’s highest at 100 feet. One to three people are harnessed in per ride. They reach speeds of up to 50 mph. Bungee jumping definitely is not my cup of tea!
Then I walked on to see the ten-acre Wapiti Western Wildlife Park, which is home to native Colorado animals. There are Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (the official animal of Colorado), a herd of rare white American bison and Rocky Mountain elk, the largest of the deer family. All these were fine specimens.
I took the trolley across the bridge back to the other side. The Royal Gorge bridge is the world’s highest suspension bridge at1,053 feet above the river. It is 1,260 feet long and 18 feet wide. Its towers are 150 feet high. The cables weigh 300 tons each and contain 2,100 strands of No. 9 galvanized wire. It’s an amazing feat of engineering.
By this time I was hungry so I had a pizza before continuing my explorations. Next was a ride on the Incline Railway to the bottom of the Gorge. It is the world’s steepest incline railway. The incline is 1,550 feet long and the railway travels the 100% grade at three miles per hour. It takes about 5.5 minutes to reach to bottom. At the bottom there are viewing areas along the bank of the river. The rapids appeared to me to be very swift. I watched several groups of rafters negotiate them very skillfully. This does not tempt me!
My last ride was on the Silver Rock Railroad. It takes a circular route with some cute sights along the way. These included the Silver Rock (actually a large piece of mica) for which the railroad is named, Hangman’s Flat with ‘graves’ of the likes of Wyatt Earp, Paradise (pair of dice) and a Ute Tee Pee with its Pee Pee Tee Pee.
By the time I finished this ride, it was time to head home. It was a very enjoyable day. My tour guide was the same as for the Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods tours. She is very helpful and interesting.
The only down side to my day was that, when I was cleaning my contact lenses for the night, I hit the left one on the faucet and broke it in half. Aarrgghh! I was very thankful that I had one more old gas-permeable lens that was for the left eye. When I get back to Austin I will have to buy another pair. The only backup lenses I have now are some soft ones, which I hope I won’t have to use because I just don’t see as well with them as I do with the gas-permeable ones.