6 Ways to Enjoy Pikes Peak
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In the s, when the Arapaho people arrived in Colorado, they knew the mountain as "Heey-otoyoo' " meaning "Long Mountain". American explorer Zebulon Pike named the mountain "Highest Peak" in , and the mountain was later commonly known as "Pike's Highest Peak". The mountain was later renamed "Pike's Peak" in honor of Pike. Pikes Peak is composed of a characteristic pink granite called Pikes Peak granite. The color is due to a large amount of potassium feldspar. Through the process of uplifting , the hardened rock pushed through the Earth's crust and created a dome-like mountain, covered with less resistant rock.
Years of erosion and weathering removed the soil and rock leaving the exposed mountain. Soils on Pikes Peak are classified as Cirque Land above timberline approximately 12, feet or 3, m ; forests at lower altitudes are mostly supported by brown stony sandy loam of the Catamount or Ivywild series. The first Europeans to discover Pikes Peak were the Spanish in the s. The first American sighting is often credited to members of the Pike expedition , led by Zebulon Pike. After a failed attempt to climb to the top in November , Pike wrote in his journal:.
The first European-American to climb the peak came 14 years after Pike, in the summer of Edwin James , a young student who had just graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont , signed on as the relief botanist for Stephen Harriman Long 's expedition after the first botanist had died. The expedition explored the South Platte River up as far as present-day Denver, then turned south and passed close to what James called "Pike's highest peak.
Along the way, James was the first to describe the blue columbine , Colorado's state flower. Gold was discovered in the area of present-day Denver in , and newspapers referred to the gold-mining area as "Pike's Peak. This was more due to Pikes Peak's visibility to gold seekers traveling west across the plains than any actual significant gold find anywhere near Pikes Peak. Major gold deposits were not discovered in the Pikes Peak area until the Cripple Creek Mining District was discovered southwest of Pikes Peak and led, in , to one of the last major gold rushes in the lower 48 states.
In July , Clark, Gruber and Company commenced minting gold coins in Denver bearing the phrase "Pike's Peak Gold" and an artist's rendering of the peak sight unseen on the obverse. In , the U.
From the summit, she wrote in a letter to her mother: Thirty-five years later, in July , Katharine Lee Bates wrote the song " America the Beautiful ", after having admired the view from the top of Pikes Peak. It appeared in print in The Congregationalist , a weekly journal, on July 4, A plaque commemorating the words to the song was placed at the summit. Pikes Peak was the home of a ski resort from until There are several visitor centers on Pikes Peak, some with a gift shop and restaurant. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway , the world's highest cog railroad ,  operates from Manitou Springs to the summit, conditions permitting.
The road has a series of switchbacks, treacherous at high speed, called "The W's" for their shape on the side of the mountain.
The road is maintained by the city of Colorado Springs as a toll road. A project to pave the remainder of the road was completed on October 1, The short film Climb Dance features Ari Vatanen racing his Peugeot automobile up the steep, twisty slopes. The most popular hiking route to the top is called Barr Trail , which approaches the summit from the east.
The trailhead is just past the cog railway depot in Manitou Springs. Visitors can walk, hike, or bike the trail. Although the Barr Trail is rated only Class 1 it is a long and arduous hike with nearly 8, feet of elevation gain, and a 13 mile trip one-way.
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Another route begins at Crags Campground, approaching the summit from the west. Since , the summit of Pikes Peak has been the site of the United States Army Pikes Peak Research Laboratory , a medical research laboratory for the assessment of the impact of high altitude on human physiological and medical parameters of military interest. On June 4, ground-breaking was held for a new Summit Complex which will be constructed next to the current Summit House.
The older facility will remain open to the more than , visitors annually through the end of construction in A faster rate of respiration is required by humans and animals not regularly at high altitudes. The summit of Pikes Peak has a polar climate due to its elevation. Snow is a possibility any time year-round, and thunderstorms are common in the summer.
Much of the area near Pikes Peak has a continental semiarid climate, while other areas would be classified as hemiboreal. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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