Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tunnel Closed

Today Nik, Candy and I headed out to investigate the Oil Creek Tunnel. We met up at 10AM and headed up the 24 to Pikes Peak. Dam they get you with the toll charge, all together it was $36.00, $12.00 per head. So we paid the money and proceeded up the Peak to the Elk Knoll parking lot. It was breezy but not to bad and the temperature was cool. We loaded on the packs and headed down trail #652. There were a couple folks coming up the trail as we started but other than them we didn’t encounter anyone else.

We made our way down and found the junction to take you up to the Oil Creek Tunnel and the old ruins that still remain. We had to make our own trail at one point as the snow banks had it covered. One of the great things about this hike is that you start above tree line and work your way down into the trees and then up against the Peak. So you have a variety of scenery to enjoy as well running water from the snow melt.

As we came around the trail and in view of the tunnel entrance I was getting excited and ready to start digging out the flashlights. All of sudden there it was, a steal barrier that had been installed within the last two years, barring your way into the tunnel. Major disappointment! I am just glad that I had been able to make this trip before and actually get into the tunnel and been able to check it out. So I apologized to everyone, even though it wasn’t my fault but I had built up the expectation of going in. Who knows maybe they were relieved. :-)

We checked out the ruins and snapped off some pictures. Now it was time to start making our way back up the mountain. It is a fairly steep area that you have to go back up and secondly hiking at 12k feet is different than hiking at 6k to 10k feet. You can tell the difference if you are not used to it. The elevation climb is about 900ft and the trail up is about a mile and three quarters. All together roundtrip is 3.5/miles. Not a long hike but a very enjoyable one with a good cardio workout.

I don’t know how many different types of wild flowers we came across but the vegetation was spectacular to look at. Candy really enjoyed checking out the plants and flowers. She got some really good pictures.

Once we got back to the parking lot we drove on up to the Peak. The place was packed! The Cog Railway had just arrived and the parking lot was packed with local and numerous tourists from out of state. I saw license plates from TX, VA, and MS.

All in all, even with the tunnel closed I had a great time.

Happy Hiking

All pictures can be found at:

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