Everyone likes a day trip, right? I know I do. I’ve made plenty of them since moving to Colorado – you have to, this place is just so damned gorgeous! One place I’ve never been before is The Royal Gorge. I fixed that on the 5th and took my mom and my cousin Steve along for the ride, neither of whom had ever been there before either. It was a blast and I want to share the pics with you here today.
Without further adieu, let’s get started!
Well, this time around, my cousin Steve wanted to come with. He’d seen my photos and heard my stories of day trips passed and said he wanted in. Who am I to say no?! Steve is great to have a long on any trip and great company. We started our day early enough, hitting Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Passing through Colorado Springs on the way to Royal Gorge via Pueblo via Canon City, we saw the sign for Garden of the Gods and Steve mentioned he’d never been.
Honestly, that place is a day trip all its own. You could spend so much time scrambling through the rocks and just lose the day. But, I couldn’t just drive by it without giving him a taste of the place. So, with the admonition that we would ‘only drive through the park’ (a rule that we totally broke five minutes later), we headed into the Garden of the Gods. I’ve posted photos of this place before, so I don’t want to repeat myself. I’ll give you these – The Kissing Camels, mom and Steve checking out an overlook/map type place, and a shot of me that isn’t horrible.
Okay – onto Royal Gorge!
Some quick facts thanks to Wikipedia:
- The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado
- The bridge deck hangs 1,053 feet (321 m) above the Arkansas River
- The bridge is billed as the highest suspension bridge in the world
- The Royal Gorge Route Railroad runs under the bridge along the base of Royal Gorge
- The bridge is 1260 feet (384 m) long and 18 feet (5 m) wide, with a wooden walkway with 1292 planks
- The bridge is suspended from towers that are 150 feet (46 m) high.
- The bridge was constructed in six months, between June 5, 1929 and late November 1929, as a toll bridge, at a cost of $350,000
- It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983
- 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
Attractions At The Royal Gorge Bridge And Park
- Aerial Tram- Built in 1968
- Incline Railway- Built in 1931
- Antique Replica Carousel
- Horseback And Burro Rides
- Silver Rock Railway
- Mule Team Wagon Rides
- Royal Rush Skycoaster- Built in 2003
- Cliff Walk (Scenic Overhang)
- Point Sublime (Scenic Pavilion)
- Petting Zoo
- Visitor Center And Shopping
- Various Dining Facilities
Here’s my very first view of the bridge:
Breathtaking – am I right?
On this side of the bridge, they have a few little things to check out-the tram for one, also the incline railroad and the carousel plus a couple of places to get some food, hang out and catch some tunes from a live band.
From the restaurant, you can see the Arkansas river, far, far below:
The aerial tram doesn’t have any towers from one side to the other – it’s all on wires:
…I didn’t ride that. Not because I was worried or anything, it was actually because we ran out of time and the place was closing. Still, pretty scary, right?
Here’s a shot straight down from the restaurant:
As you’re heading towards the bridge, you will see the incline railroad on your right. I got a shot of the tracks – pretty steep:
The view from over here is just as breathtaking – and we haven’t even crossed the bridge yet!
…and of course, we still have a bridge to cross.
Now, I’ve been on plenty of bridges in my time and I’ve never had any issues whatsoever. I’ve walked across em, driven across – you name it. There’s a walking bridge in Chattanooga – had no problems with it whatsoever.
This bridge… There’s a wind coming from the East. Flags for every state whip in that wind and the bridge itself? It sways… I immediately began to feel odd.
Beneath your feet are wooden planks. No problem, right? I mean – this thing is safe! it’s been here for a while, they do maintenance and all of that – it’s perfectly safe. Heck, you can not only walk across, you can DRIVE across.
…only, when the cars and trams go across, the planks… wobble. I wobbled.
In my head I was thinking, “What the HELL, man?! You don’t have any problems with heights or any of it! Why are you having troubles?” and I was. Having troubles. I had to be in the middle of the bridge. I stood in a sky rise building in downtown Denver with ceiling to floor windows and I leaned against it and looked down – no problem. Took photos too. Couldn’t do it on this bridge. Had to hand the camera to Steve to have him take pics for me.
Silly, I know. I started looking down as I walked – I had to. Then I noticed the gaps in the wood planks. I grabbed the camera and snapped a couple shots to illustrate this point:
Yes, those are my shoes as I’m looking down. Steve was kind enough to say that he could do much better. So he got down and snapped this gem for me:
Yep. He was messing with me at this point. Kept mentioning the swaying of the bridge, how you could see the ‘tiny screws’ holding the wood planks to the ‘fragile frame’ – that sort of stuff. I don’t blame him. It’s a guy thing – I totally would’ve done the same to him if our roles had been reversed. Actually, I would’ve done better! 😉
I handed him the camera to take some more shots.
Here’s a shot of me, looking down, that we’ll call, “ALMOST THERE!”
Whew! Made it!
…and, I think I’ve photo spammed you enough for one post. I’ll post more about our adventures on this side of the gorge tomorrow!