I try to go snowboarding as often as I can. That’s how much I love it! So, it’s a pretty huge deal for me not to drive the two hours from Pueblo, Colorado to Monarch Mountain in order to spend time with my brother. HUGE DEAL!!! He’s my little bro though and I love him. (Note: Monarch Mountain gives a really good deal for lift tickets if you’re a government or military person. End note.)
The weekend Chris came to visit me, driving from Denver, we didn’t really have any plans. I tried to persuade him not to come as I didn’t think there were a lot of things that would interest my brother in Pueblo. Heck, I was off only one day a week and that one day was spent riding the powdery freshies that the mountains would use as a siren’s call to all who would come. I really had no idea where we could go a-galavanting! However, I did remember this gorge that I would pass on my way to the mountain and suggested we check it out. Bingo!
The Royal Gorge is located about 55 miles northwest of Pueblo, CO. It’s an easy drive and the landscape is mostly praire-like, but pretty. You’ll pass through a couple of small towns on the way there (I highly recommend Abbey Winery in Canon City) filled with your normal amenities such as fast food places, hotels, gas stations etc. At the Gorge site, there are numerous white water rafting outfitters, a heli-tour outfitter and other sources to make the most of your time here should you decide to spend a weekend.
Our goal was to ride the gondola across the gorge. We arrived there a bit too early to enjoy the gondola ride, so we decided to go exploring. It was extremely windy, and brrr-ish cold, since it was January. Walking across that planked bridge, I was very conscientious of not looking at my feet as you could see all the way down to the bottom of the gorge between the planks. As the wind blustered and the bridge undulated like a snake under a snake charmer’s spell, we marched on. Along the bridge are plaques of each state within the United States. Visitors can stand next to each plaque representing their state and take pictures. I noticed this long after we passed the Alaska plaque and I didn’t feel like walking back as we were already 60 feet away from the opposite end that we started at.
As we looked around and oohed and ahhed at the view, my brother had to go back to the car. I wanted to look around some more, like at the Tommy Knocker Children’s Playground (I don’t know why I find that name so spooky), explore the photo lookouts, and see the Royal Rush Skycoaster (a seasonal ride). We agreed that we would meet upon the aerial tram as I would take it back to the visitor center and he could hop on from there. We would both journey back across taking as many pictures as we had memory available on our phones and cameras.
The beauty of this area was only overwhelmed by the sweaty nervousness I felt in my feet as I gazed down to the river below. Yet I couldn’t look away, much like a person who’s on a diet would keep sneaking looks back at that chocolate cupcake in the window. Did you know that the area was under attack during a 2013 fire that devastated much of the landscape? Surprisingly, only 32 planks on the bridge had to be replaced.
Anticipating the aerial gondola’s first voyage, I was at the designated area five minutes before it started. I wanted to show my brother all the amazing views from this side of the bridge! Okay, 10 minutes go by and no gondola. I go up to the service shack and ask the person there about the gondola’s start time. He replied because it was so windy, they have to watch the gusts to see if it’s safe to run. To make a long story short, the gondola never ran that day, I walked 1,200+ feet back across the bridge to get my brother to go back across the bridge for the third time to enjoy the views with him. Why didn’t I just call him and explain the situation? Cell phones are great when there’s service. Haha!
Much love and Aloha,
your walking all the time clueless wanderer
Have a few extra minutes? Check out, my brother, Christian Anderson’s project:
Click here for The Green Bean Adventure
Click here for the The Green Bean Adventure YouTube video