Enjoying the day in God's cathedral

Once in a while, it's good to take time out and leave familiar surroundings. Mike and I did this on Sunday and took Andrew, Jonathan, Stephen, Michael, and Ethan up to the top of Pikes Peak. At 14,114 feet, the view from the top is really beautiful.

It was a good, relaxing day. A kind of day that feels spiritually healing. There we were in God's cathedral with an endless ceiling and no walls, ornamented by alpine forest and puffy white clouds. The birds and the sounds of the forest are the music.

On the way up we stopped at Crowe's Gulch and hiked on a trail that was flanked by high grass, and sprinkled with many types of wildflowers.

Of course tall, lush pine trees and twinkling aspens were abundant:

Since I am a fool for wildflowers, I carried in a 70 mm macro lens and took a few pictures:

Hairy Clematis

Fairy Trumpet

I have no idea what this flower is. It wasn't in my book and it was the most unusual one we saw. Any ideas?

Mariposa Lily (thanks, Sue!)

I'm not sure what was capturing the boys' interest in this spot, but guess who is the little ham?

From left to right: Michael, Andrew, Jon, Stephen and Ethan, hamming it up in the middle.
 It took most of the day because we stopped a lot, including a good picnic lunch at the Halfway picnic grounds, but we finally ended up at the top. Here, the air is very thin. Once in a while you have to stop walking and catch your breath. The scenery, however, is worth a little oxygen deprivation. It is out of this world gorgeous when it's clear. You can see why Katharine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" after her visit to Pike's Peak in 1893. "How Great Thou Art" also comes to mind.

From left to right: (front) Mike, Michael, Ethan. Back row: Andrew, Stephen and Jonathan.

On the way down the mountain we found a place to pull over. As you can see, we're just below the clouds:

If you're ever in Colorado, you really should drive up the Peak. The toll road is full of switchbacks, especially near the top, but it's paved all the way up and worth the drive. We had a great time. I'll let you know when Mike publishes our galleries on WritingPlaces.com.

Grace and shalom,