The Royal Gorge...
May 25, 2007
|Well, we had a blast today! The weather is holding for us, another beautiful day! Temperature's in the low 70's, blue skies & beautiful scenery everywhere! We decided to take Onyx with us today, she seemed to be having cabin fever. We packed a few snacks to take along, but we don't plan to be gone as long as yesterday. We have to change our camp area in the morning, as the space we have been in for the past 3 days is reserved for the holiday weekend. A bummer to have to put everything away to move a few hundred yards, but worth it to stay here in this campground. We like it here very much!
As we headed down the 2 mile road leading from the campground out to the main road, we passed something hanging on the fence. I told Larry it was either a belt or a snake, so we backed up to check it out. It was a Bull Snake...about a 4 footer. We laughed & joked "why does the snake climb over the fence? To get to the other side!" Anyway, after we bothered him for awhile, he tired of us & slithered off for some peace.
I love the drive down Hwy 115. The view all around us is so pretty, it doesn't matter which way you look. There are rolling hills, small mountains & then snow covered peaks as a background. Beautiful! You then make a turn onto Hwy 50 & it is equally beautiful! What a drive...
We arrived at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park about 1:30pm & the sky was really different. Black on one side of the road, clear blue with white fluffy clouds on the other. A good breeze was kicking up & I was anxious to get closer before the storm that seemed to be brewing hit. Turns out, there wasn't a drop, so I was worried for nothing.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado, within a 360 acre theme park, hanging 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River and billed as the highest suspension bridge in the world. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad runs under the bridge along the base of Royal Gorge. The bridge is 880 feet long but only 18 feet wide, with a wooden walkway with over 1000 planks. The bridge is suspended from towers that are 150 feet high.
The bridge was constructed in six months, between June 5, 1929 and November 1929, as a one-lane toll bridge, at a cost of $350,000. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Oddly, the bridge was not constructed for transportation purposes; instead, it was built with the intent that it serve as a tourist attraction, and has continued to be one of the most-visited tourist attractions in Colorado since its construction. At a cost of $23 per person, we decided to not enter the actual park but view it on our own. We didn't realize what a large attraction it was, & we didn't want to leave Onyx in the truck even though the temperature was 68 degrees.
There are many ways to see the bridge & the Royal Gorge. You can walk over it, fly over it by chopper, skycoaster over it, tram over it, train over it, take your choice!
The Royal Gorge is split by the Arkansas River. It has a width of 50 feet at its base, is as wide as 1/4 mile at the top and has a depth of 1200 feet in places. It hosts more rafters than any other river in the world! Bighorn Sheep Canyon just west of Canon City offers waters ideal for first time rafters, while the Royal Gorge boasts the steep drops & huge rapids that draws experienced rafters. We chose to watch them from the safety of the cliff edge!
The Royal Rush Skycoaster must be the most awesome adrenaline rush in the state of Colorado! Imagine a free-fall tower sweeping you 50 mph to hang momentarily over 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, which looks like a tiny blue line far, far below. I don't think so! The Royal Rush Skycoaster is one of only 87 in the world, and was recently named the scariest Skycoaster of them all. I asked Larry if he would do it & he said of course, no problem! I bought him a skydive for his birthday a couple of years ago, & he commented if he can jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet, he can certainly swing out over the Arkansas!! Okay...
After watching all the daredevils around us we decided we were ready for lunch. We had already eaten our snacks (all this hiking with no oxygen makes you awfully hungry!) so we headed back down the mountain to Canon City. What a quaint little city. We found a beautiful little park, well actually two of them & decided to go the colonel's for chicken. So, we purchased our chicken lunch & headed back to Veteran's Park. It was lovely. We then went over the Bullen Bridge, leading to Centennial Park. There we enjoyed the geese & spoke with the fishermen & women. Seems the Brown & Rainbow trout are biting good today. Darn, no poles with us!
We then headed for home, after another beautiful day. On the way we reflected on this Memorial Day weekend. I guess Veteran's Park reminded us of how lucky we are to be living in this United States.
I for one am glad that we have set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to this country. May you take a moment yourself as you BBQ, vacation etc. So have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everyone. And, if you are on the road, please have a safe trip!!