Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home Via Monarch Pass

Yesterday we left Emily's around noon and stopped at Monarch Pass, the highest pass in the country, or the highest pass with a road, or with a paved road, or something, at 11,215 feet, and there we took a cool ride to the top of the mountain. First Paul and I climbed into an oversized Easter egg and went sweeping up, and then the cable stopped and our children climbed into the next egg, and up we went.

They say you can see 150 miles from the top on a clear day, out to Pikes Peak. It was cloudy, so we probably saw half that far. It was amazing. We were almost 2000 feet higher than the top of Oregon's Mt. Hood.

Here in Oregon, the high peaks are all volcanic and loom up twice as high as the surrounding mountains, which makes them seem very impressive. But the fact is that in that range in Colorado the normal mountains are all really high, and we were surrounded by lots of mountains in the 12-14000 foot range.

Interestingly, Oregon's mountains have a lot more snow, at lower elevations, than these did.

Then we rode the egg back down and the gruff fellow operating the ride said, "So, you're Mennonites? And you're from Organ?"

Yes and yes.

Well, he gets a lot of Amish and Mennonites through there. In fact, his three biggest types of customers* are foreigners, with the strong Euro; motorcyclists; and Amish and Mennonites, from Indiana, a lot of them, and Pennsylvania and Iowa and such.

*I think he meant distinctive types of customers as opposed to normal Americans

Well, I found that interesting, because my mom told me that back in her day, Colorado and especially Colorado Springs, was "the" destination for Amish from Iowa going on vacation, and one time she and Vina took their parents to Colorado Springs on the train, after their brother died, hoping to jolt Grandpa out of his depression, and it worked, kind of, and he was able to function better after that.

"Do you get van and busloads of Amish that stop here?" Paul wondered. And the fellow said,

Quote of the Day:
"Oh yeah. But you know, if they're Amish, they have to get Mennonites or civilians to drive them."

(and then we drove home, straight through, hour after hour, 23 in all I think, through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and then Organ, and came home right before noon today, and it is good to be home. Maybe next time we should get a nice civilian to drive us.)


  1. Uh, Dorcas, Berthoud pass in Colorado is 11,307'.

  2. LOL!
    Yes, lots of the Amish here in Indiana get cilvilians to take them to Colorado too! I hear, (don't remember it) my parents first to me to Colorado Springs when I was four, but we took the train then. Guess not as many hired civilians back then.
    Sounds like a good, But LONG, road trip! I'd like to take a road trip from IN to Organ one(1) time.

  3. Interesting. Interesting. You can say in words what I see in pictures. ... The "Easter Egg" was kinda scarey.

  4. I've been over Independence Pass in Colorado a couple times. It's 12,095' in elevation. Higher yet than that is another pass I have crossed a couple times--Trail Ridge Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park, at 12,183 feet. That's a headache-evoking level...but the headache went away once I descended to 8000' and could suck in more adequate amounts of oxygen per breath :-) It's worth the headache, though--awesome country!

  5. regarding the "civilian" comment....ROFL
    in other news....I am homesick for the mountains......if I could just get in the car and drive 14 hours....I would get to them....and that would be bliss.