Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 21, 2012. From Pueblo To Royal Gorge Bridge..

The Hawthornes left Pueblo, CO.
for Royal Gorge.

We finally see mountains!
Nice break from the prairie.

Remember, I'm shooting most pictures
from the car at 60+ MPH.

I so want to get Mr. Hawthorne on a zip line.
Ain't gonna happen, though.

We're at Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, CO.,
ready to embark on the world's steepest incline railway.
Length of incline:  1550 feet;
100% grade, 45 degree angle.
Rate of descent:  3 mph
Weight of cars:  4500 lbs.
Travel time: 5.5 minutes each way.
Safety:  Nineteen manually operated stopping devices,
also equipped with automatic governor that will stop the car.

And down we go.

Looking back up.

Notice the rafters.

From the bottom of the incline railway,
looking up to the Royal Gorge Bridge.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is the world's
highest suspension bridge.
Construction began June 5, 1929,
and was completed November 1929.
It's 1053 feet tall and 1260 feet long.

Fat little squirrels.

Going back up.

The gorge was created some 3 million years ago
when a trickle water first began to carve a canyon out of 
the solid granite bedrock.
Today that trickle is the Arkansas River,
one of America's longest rivers.
The Arkansas continues to carve the Royal Gorge
in Canon City, Colorado,
at the rate of one foot every 2500 years.

The width at the canyon bottom is about 40-50 feet
and the top measures a few hundred feet wide.

The first to visit here were Native American Indians,
who hunted and camped in the sheltered canyons
and mountain parks of this Colorado region.
The Utes, a mountain tribe,
frequently wintered in the Canon City area,
and many of the Plains Indians - Cheyenne, Sioux,
 Kiowa, Blackfeet, and Comanche- followed the buffalo
herds as they moved to the mountain meadows 
during spring and summer.
As early as 1642,
Spanish missionaries knew of this area.
During the 1700s, trappers and fur traders
visited the region.
And Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike
(Pike's Peak fame)
established a camp at the eastern end of Royal Gorge in 1806
and sent out a scouting party to explore the canyon.

When silver was discovered in the upper waters of the Arkansas River
in 1877, this sparked a controversy, called the Royal Gorge War,
between the two competing railroads - the Rio Grand and the Santa Fe.
Both wanted the rights to build the new railroad
to carry the ore down from the mountains.
The Royal Gorge War started with dynamiting
competitor's efforts and exchanging gunshots
and eventually evolved into a 6-month court battle.
The Santa Fe Railroad hired legendary gunfighter
and US Marshal, Bat Masterson
and his Kansas posse to help protect their crew.
The Rio Grande Railroad countered with a 200-man posse
led by former Governor A.C. Hunt.
The Rio Grande Railroad eventually won out.

Nice view from this house.

From the bridge looking down
to where the incline railway took us.

I couldn't get Mr. Hawthorne
to get on the swing.


Some of the earliest and largest dinosaurs roamed
this area over 100 million years ago.
Paleontologists have discovered some of the
most complete dinosaur remains
less than three miles from here.
Fossil bones found here include 
the comptosaurus, stegosaurus, and allosaurus. 

We opted NOT to take the two hour train ride through the gorge.

Length: 1260 feet
Width:  18 feet
Height:  956 feet.
Main span: 880 feet
Towers:  150 feet high;
2100 strands of No. 9 galvanized wire in each cable
Weight of cables:  300 tons;
1000 tons of steel in floor of bridge
Original cost to build:  $350,000
Cost today:  About $18 million.
Bridge will support in excess of 2 million pounds.
Walkway: Made of 1292 planks of deck;
about 250 are replaced each year.

I don't think I want to go across the gorge on this.

Check out the aerial tram,
the world's longest single-span aerial tram.

Length:  2200 feet
Height above Arkansas River:  1178 feet
Maximum speed:  11.4 MPH
Built in 1968 at a cost of $350,000.
Capacity of cabin:  35 passengers.
Track cables weigh over seven tons each.
More than two miles of cables utilized in tramway system
Safety:  Wind warning gauges working at all times.
The tram will not operate during severe or gusty wind.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

No zip lines? I'm bummed.

But I can feel my fear of heights kicking in from here.