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The Kid's First Train Ride and the Royal Gorge

When we discovered the notion of Creative Adventuring I was busy putting together lists of short trips I could do with the kids. But, this was in the time of Covid. So, nothing was open. Still, it gave me time to dream and think of all the great adventures we’d have when the world opened back up.

One of the adventures I’d thought up was going to the Royal Gorge, which has a bridge and, I later learned, 956 feet below on the raging Arkansas River: a train.

We did both in one, long and hot summer day.

We chose to eat breakfast on the train and our departure was at 9:00 a.m., which I highly recommend. Otherwise, it would have been too hot on the outside, observatory deck.

At first, the kids loved it. My three-year-old is obsessed with all forms of transportation and this, this was their first real train ride.

Tickets aren’t cheap. At all. But, because we’d been talking about this for two years and this was their first train ride: it was worth it. A lifetime of memories.

A train can be a little sketchy. The gangway transitions between the cars has an accordian-like barrier on each side. And there’s a gap at the bottom that meets the platforms on each car. The couplers are fluid in their motion and swivel as you’re moving to each car. So, stepping from car to the other with a three-year-old who mysteriously trips over invisible wires all day long is almost horrifying. I hated it. We figured out our rhythm and how to shuttle all three kids through the cars efficiently, safely and quickly but – it would only take the little tripping in that one gangway transition…

Otherwise, it was an amazing ride. We traveled along the river and under the famous Royal Gorge Bridge.

After returning to the station, we drove twenty five minutes to the bridge. I didn’t do much research on the bridge and so I didn’t know what to expect. I honestly just thought it was just a bridge. It’s not. When we got there, the first thing we saw was the gondola which spanned the width of the gorge. There was ziplining next to it. All the kids immediately wanted to the ride the gondola. For some reason, they’re obsessed with every one we see and this was the grandaddy (apart from probably Telluride’s gondola). I was very apprehensive about this as I have a developed fear of heights, but we did it. And it was rad. Easy. Quick.

On the other side of the gorge, there’s restaurants, the best playground I’ve ever seen and the kids got to pet snakes and reptiles from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

To get back, we walked the width of the gorge, 1,257 wooden planks to be exact – over the bridge. And whoa: it was a thing. The bridge is a suspension bridge. So, it moves. Only anchored on each side, you can feel it moving. Couple that with the fact that you can see through rather large separations between the wooden planks and Dad got vertigo pretty darn good.

It was 95 degrees that afternoon and so we got a smoothie and some water once across the other side as we’d run out of water in our traipsing.

Overheated, we blasted the air conditioning all the way back to Colorado Springs. And with the kids asleep, I pulled in to the Garden of the Gods Resort: a place that I recommend to anybody. It was maybe the nicest place I’ve ever stayed, all said and done, pool and dinner and breakfast and view included.

Highly recommend this trip if you’re in Denver and want a short trip out of the city.


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