Colorado Trip #3

Day Trips Pt.2

Foothills

Some how my friend and I ended up on Gross Dam Rd. Not sure how anymore, but it was nice scenery! Taken at 39°56'25" N 105°20'44" W with an elevation of 2,102 m.

The next riding day it was the two of us again and we just road through the foothills, however I’d got him on some dirt roads this time, I’m not exactly sure why I was leading on this day though. They were reasonably good for the most part, but there was some definite washboarding at times, I’m not sure how much he enjoyed himself but he didn’t complain despite me constantly asking if everything was cool. He fit right in though, we saw a sport bike on the same dirt road! Not a lot of pictures, but we saw some interesting scenery including an entire forest that looked like it had been wiped out. No photos of that though, the road was too great and I enjoyed the pace I was going down it (too fast).

Pikes Peak

Atop Pikes Peak you feel as though you and the clouds are on the same level. Taken facing north west, right at the end of the cog railway. Pikes Peak, CO.

Everyone’s probably heard of Pikes Peak, but if not it’s the second highest paved road in North America, as far as I know, and every year they have a race up it. We were not racing, but we were going up it. I’d been here once before on my very first trip to Colorado, and while conditions looked great then, as in the sky was clear and there wasn’t any rain, the wind was crazy and almost blew me off the mountain. This time however it was perfectly calm, barely any wind at all, and the temperature was somewhere around 14°C, there were clouds though, but they only added to how high it looked, appearing as though we were almost on the same level.

At the top of Pikes Peak, CO, same location as the image above but a couple steps closer to the rocks and facing north. The cog railway train. Highest cog railroad in the world. Taken at the top of Pikes Peak, CO facing north. Facing east from the top of Pikes Peak, CO.

Everything has to be ruined by something though, right? For whatever reason, they decided they were going to ‘fix’ the road between something like mile marker 14 and 16, but I could be mixing that up with Mt Evans which also had issues but that’s for later and they weren’t as bad. Anyway, there’s a bunch of switchbacks that mostly had no guard rails that they decided to pour oil and sand on for a couple miles. That certainly made the ride up and down far more interesting, since it was quite steep off the side and incredibly slippery. Luckily the camber of the road slants towards the mountain rather than away from.

Climbed down the rocks a little bit till I found a cliff. Took a bunch of photos from this location, 38°50'28" N 105°2'32" W at an elevation of 4,272 m. My 6.5 mm fisheye is so wide I capture my own feet sometimes. Watch that first step, it's a doozy. Taken facing north I believe.Same as the photo to the left but facing more east and more up, thus less feet in shot.

While at the top I climbed out on the rocks to try and get some more interesting views and generally scare the shit out of myself. Everything was actually quite nice and stable, though it certainly looked like it wouldn’t be, and was easy to climb around on. That said, I was next to some steep cliffs. Since I was mostly out on these rocks by myself with Horo, no one was there to recognize her (not that they would in this outfit) or comment which was kind of a nice change. It was peaceful, and Horo was in an alternate non-canon set of clothes I’d bought her off TaoBao.

Horo sits on a rock and looks north off Pikes Peak, CO.Horo sits atop a large rock looking to the east. In the distance she sees some adventurous folk climbing out on cliff pictured above. Bonus: http://tail.gr/18aIz3q Horo faces north once again. Wonder what Horo's looking at so intently in the north. Her homeland? Canada? ;) Horo looks over the edge of Pikes Peak. Noticing something, Horo moves for a better look. Atop Pikes Peak, CO.

I probably spent a little too much time at the top of the mountain, I think something like two hours, though I’m not sure how I managed to spend so much time up there and come back with so few photos.

Mt Evans

The most dramatic shot of my bike, 300 m from the top of Mt Evans. Location: 39°35'1" N 105°37'37" W

Not content with going up the second highest paved road I decided to go up the highest paved road in North America. Admittedly it’s a bit academic, the difference between the two is only 47 m. That said, you can climb higher than the road goes though I’m not sure by how much, I did climb up to the top but didn’t have my GPS with me and didn’t catch the vague elevation it would have offered. Like Pikes Peak, I climbed all over the rocks next to cliffs and generally terrified myself, though I was getting better at it and risking a bit more. I stood at about the highest point and had someone take a photo of me, there was a slightly higher point next to me, but it was too close to the drop I wanted at least a little safety.

Taken perhaps a kilometer from Mt Evans rd along Squaw Pass rd. Location: 39°40'1" N 105°34'57" W facing east. A couple kilometers in on Mt Evans Rd. Location: 39°36'52" N 105°36'38" W at an elevation of 3,808 m, facing south west. Looking out over the Chicago Basin. Location: 39°36'8" N 105°38'29" W and elevation 3,885 m. Same location as the previous photo, but with the wide angle you can see the mountain wall next to me on the right.

A confusing part of the ride to Mt Evans were the road signs. I got to the road that lead to Mt Evans and it said the road was closed ahead. As there was no where to turn around I kept going until I could find one, but then a sign said that Mt Evans was opened. So was the road closed or opened? As it would turn out, both. The main road to mount Evans was closed but had a detour, and the road up Mt Evans was opened. The construction I rode through wasn’t super fun but certainly made what would have otherwise been an amazing paved road at ~3,000 m pretty terrible, the scenery as always was spectacular though.

I'm not sure what Horo is gesturing here. A hug?

Still a little unsure... Horo do you want a hug? I think that's a yes.

The ride up Mt Evans wasn’t as much like Pikes Peak as I’d imagined it would be. You started considerably higher than at Pikes Peak, so there wasn’t as much elevation change from entry to top, only perhaps 1,000-1,200 m instead of ~2,000-2,400 m. Because of this you drove almost entirely across the tundra above the tree line and gave the entirety of Mt Evans a different feel, in addition to this there isn’t a visible city near by so you feel more secluded and more how you think you’d feel at the top of a mountain than Pikes Peak. Like Pikes Peak though there were some issues with the road, thankfully not oil this time, just a few sections that needed work and had been pushed up during the frost.

Yet another doozy of a first step. A quick way to get down though, if you don't mind the outcome...

Super wide fisheye once again captures my legs. Don't slip me!

Not quite at the highest point yet. Still, pretty much top of the world. Just a bit of a closer shot, if you look to the left you can see a bunch of people on the other peak. Now we're at the top of the world for sure. Highest point around. Was super nervous the wind would pickup and blow Horo off the edge of Mt Evans.

While at the top two guys drove up in what I believe were two MG TD2s. They’d gone up both Pikes Peak and Mt Evans in one day. As you can see they parked in a no parking zone and the motorcycle parking. They were told to move, but said they weren’t staying long and they didn’t. They got to the top, looked around, got some photos, and left. I think that’s fair.

Two guys drove up both Pikes Peak and Mt Evans in the same day in these MG TD2s. "Oh man, another one?" he says to the other goat hiding behind the rock. "Quick, look like you've been taxidermied!" It thinks to itself. "They'll stop photographing us if we just show them our behinds." the one goat says to the other.

On the ride back down the mountain I noticed a bunch of cars stopped in what seemed like the middle of no where, no actual parking or path, turns out they were all looking at the goats that were gathered around some rocks. So I slammed on the brakes, quickly parked, and took out my camera. I got way more goat ass than I’d ever imagined I’d capture, but still some interesting shots I think.

Taken at the same location as the first photo from Mt Evans. Location: 39°35'1" N 105°37'37" W at an elevation of 3,998 m.
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Comments

  1. Tian says:

    Wow, this was an epic post indeed. You’ve inspired me to plan another road trip! It’s unfortunate that I missed you just as I was gearing up for NDK. That was a good time, and somehow I completely missed all the flooding. Anyway, great photos as usual. You’ve really gotten a knack for sweet landscapes and outdoors photography. Hope to see more!

    • Aka says:

      Yeah, it’s too bad it didn’t work out, but I’m sure I’ll be there again next year or something. Too many things I’d like to ride still.

      Landscape photography is so much easier than people photography lol. You can just keep shooting until it works out, people you have to catch just right or ask them to pose etc… I feel the same way with dolls as well, have to really think out the pose, which I didn’t do too well on the trip. I think I got better as time went on but maybe next time I’ll be good.

      Missing out on the flooding isn’t a bad thing, especially if when you returned your place of residence was fine too.

  2. Smithy says:

    Looks like you had quite the adventurous trip!

    Gorgeous photos of that stunning scenery and some lovely shots of Horo too. Impressive!

    • Aka says:

      It really was quite an adventure. I still think it’s crazy how much ground I covered though on my “Big Trip” part, it was just destination after destination after destination. Was really hard to piece it all together after the fact, the only way I managed was I’d saved the GPS tracks so I could track back each day and break them apart.

      Hopefully next time I go, I’m a little bit more competent with my posing and can make Horo look a little bit more into the trip than sitting all the time. Still, I like the photos, it adds something over just plain landscapes I think.

  3. Rajura says:

    Great pics man!

    Looks like you had you had a great trip!

    I loved the Horo shots… I was kind of scared for her in a couple of them, but I know you made sure she was safe before you left to take them.

    Also, regarding your experience with the kid, I am glad to see there are other males out there that like her fluffy tail almost as much as me.

    Pros of your shots: It’s Horo, shots from behind… loved seeing her tail in all its glory and that she was unabashedly showing it off, new outfits for Horo.

    Cons: Human ears visible at times (that’s the only con… doing pretty good there)

    Oh, and those images are coming your way soon.

    • Aka says:

      Was a great trip indeed! I miss the state already.

      I did try and take as much care as I could with all the placements, but once I walk away there’s no telling what could happen. Would one of her joints give way, would the wind pickup, I am on mountains after all where weather changes rapidly. So many uncontrollable variables, I just had to give way and try anyway.

      As per your con, I’ve actually become to accustomed to the ears being there, that I don’t notice at all or even try to hide them ever. It’s just not something I care about so much at this point. Perhaps in making her ‘perfect’ in the end, but right now I care more about getting her tail attached properly and perhaps better matched to her hair, and shrinking her ears and putting magnets in them so that they’re easier to deal with on the road. The human ears really are the last thing on the list since it’s such a destructive mod.

      Interestingly, the people who seem most disapproving of Horo (and Dollfies in general) are anime fans and figure collectors. They seem to feel the doll is too much of the uncanny valley or RealDoll vibe. Which strikes me as really odd, since every doll meet I attend, and every outing I’ve been on, average people seem so interested and complimentary.

      • Rajura says:

        Wow, that is weird… my philosophy… the more real Horo looks… the better!

        I would that “average people” liked her more than a niche group.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Aka says:

          The more real the better, yes. But in terms of what’s more important to me right now, the human ears are like the bottom of the list. Her tail and animal ears bother me more that they’re not right. The human ears require destructive modification that can’t be undone.

          Think you missed a word in that second line, not sure what exactly you meant. Could go many ways if I try and read into it.

          • Rajura says:

            Sorry tried to go a little long more older style on that comment… read it as “If I had my way, more average people would be interested in her.”

            Also, the “weird” part I mentioned pertained to your comment about people who were seemed more likely to not like the current approach to Horo. Keep up the good work; fix those wolf ears and that tail to your standards.

          • Aka says:

            Ah I see. I’m alright with anime being a niche thing. I don’t think it’d be as fun if everyone knew.

            As for the weird, I think there’s just some stigma about dolls, and they don’t want to be caught liking one.

      • CptNerd says:

        Beautiful job, the few times I’ve been to CO the scenery was fantastic (I was there during the flooding, my great-nephew was supposed to get married that weekend in Estes Park). As for your Horo doll, you have to understand that every person has their own “uncanny valley”: for example, I have no problem with the CGI “Appleseed” movies, but my friend can’t watch more than a few seconds of them, because they fall into his discomfort zone. Your version of Horo is okay by me, but there are some aspects that are just on the edge for me. I have to say there are quite a few dollfies that I’ve seen that I can’t see, they’re just too far “into the valley” for me. But then I was always creeped out by the “sad kids on black velvet” paintings…

        • Aka says:

          I find they’re far less creepy in person. That added dimension I guess really helps. And once I’d seen them in person, I found most of the photos to be less creepy than they were beforehand. I think it’s the unfamiliarity perhaps.

          I suspect I’ll be making a habit of visiting Colorado… I just hope there isn’t a disaster every time. There were the fires, and then the floods… what next?

          Anyhoo, glad my Horo is ok by you! 😀

  4. Otakusan says:

    Have been seeing all your instagram pictures ^^ looked like you had a lot of fun this trip ^^

    • Aka says:

      Started taking the shots with my phone just to get the GPS coordinates of each location. Ended up posting them on Instagram because I couldn’t wait to share haha.

  5. B-Sabre says:

    The air base is Buckley AFB (http://www.buckley.af.mil/) and is home to the 460th Space Wing (Air Force Space Command). There’s also Colorado National Guard and Air National Guard units based there.