Monday, August 27, 2007

Fourteener round-up

There an unusually thoughtful essay in the syndicated "Writers on the Range" column this week called "In Defense of Peak Bagging" that is worth checking out. We often use "peak bagger" as a pejorative term, but author Steve Albert says there is value in the act of climbing peaks to cross them off a list.

Closer to home, on Colorado Springs' own fourteener, Pikes Peak, a story in the Gazette today lays out how the city-owned Pikes Peak Highway is taking bids for a new concessionaire to run the Summit House. The city plans to double the yearly fee for the contract to $1 million dollars, and want the concessionaire to assist with adding more interpretive displays and building a new summit house.

Any improvements to the top of Pikes Peak will probably be broadly welcomed. For decades what could potentially be a valuable interpretive experience, comparable to a national park visitors center, has instead, been a rather tacky emporium of knickknacks, comparable to Wall Drug.

Obviously, there are huge physical plant hurdles at 14,115 feet, and building a new visitor's center is going to take serious cash, but I think a lot of people feel the top of Pikes Peak deserves something more than donut and T-shirt shops. If we're going to have a road up there, let's do it for a purpose. After all, you can buy T-shirts in Manitou.
Oh, by the way, you can print up a coupon good for a free Pikes Peak donut here.

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