Previously on Day Six: We traveled southwest from Colorado Springs to Cañon City for the pleasure of visiting the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, home of the professed highest suspension bridge in America, with animals and performers stationed on either side so that the bridge could foster traversal between activities and sights instead of between two dusty, rugged landmasses.
At bridge level, the Rocky Mountains are your eastern horizon, while the steep banks of the Royal Gorge serve as noise barriers to the Arkansas River below.
The bottom of the Royal Gorge is accessible through their Incline Railway, a sort of elevator with zigzag cars. The park brochure offers no advice to those who would rather rappel down the side of the Gorge using their own mountaineering gear and a thousand-foot rope.
On the way down, you can view flora lining either side of the Railway, such as these authentic cacti, which look bolder than the two-inch potted specimens some craft stores sell back home.
Last stop, bottom floor, is the Arkansas River.
As it turns out, there’s a third way down: travel several miles away to wherever in Canon City these hardy boaters accessed the river, then do what they did.
Remember the Royal Gorge Bridge from Part One? If you look up from below, it’s distant and shadowy, and cannot help you escape the gorge’s clutches because you are now a long way down.
When you’re finished soaking in the river ambience or your camera batteries are depleted, the Incline Railway is there for you. Be thankful there’s no thousand-foot uphill walk to navigate.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park would represent our final tourist attraction within the Rocky Mountains’ vicinity. When our business in Canon City was finished, it was time at last to begin the long journey east, toward home and away from mountains’ majesty. This, then, is among our final glimpses of the towering terrain before we ventured once more into flatland and forests that would accompany us home in decidedly less picturesque fashion.
We milked the moment for as long as we could before we had to walk away. Though we had to part with the Rockies, our nine days of sightseeing weren’t over. Flatter and closer to sea level, granted, but far from over.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]