Philmont Scout Trek – Day 2 : Pikes Peak

Our second day in Colorado was breathtaking. Early in the morning we departed to the base of Pikes Peak. The first half of the day would be riding the Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak (14,115 ft.). Pikes Peak was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was officially named Pikes Peak after the explorer Zebulon Pike, who had failed to climb the mountain. Years later, Katherine Lee Bates was on a trip across America and was inspired by the sights she saw; at the summit of Pikes Peak, she thought of the words for the famous poem and song, America the Beautiful. A plaque was placed there as commemoration.

Arriving at the base, we boarded the cog and were on our way to the top. The temperature was in the mid 80s and not a cloud in the sky. The ride up was awe-inspiring; the view was gorgeous. As we rose above the tree-line, the trees disappeared and the orange rocks grew in numbers. Soon our surroundings became barren and reaching the summit, we stood from our seats. I became lightheaded and almost fell over due to the difference of altitude. Stepping out of the door, I was bombarded with a frigid Summer wind; around 40 degrees F. Considering we were so high up, it was expected and we had all brought the appropriate clothing.


Cog Railway – Summit of Pikes Peak, CO (14,115 ft.)

The lookout from the summit was stunning. An ocean of green and blue surrounded us and you could see for miles. Mountains fortified the peak and in the distance was entirely flat. Standing on top made me realize how small we truly are in comparison to everything. I almost got dizzy from the visual of the size of the land.

After enjoying the views for a while, we took the cog back down to the base and then embarked to whitewater raft the Arkansas River. At dawn the next day, our crew would depart to Philmont’s Base Camp in New Mexico.


The drawing I did was of the cog’s sitting on their tracks at the summit of Pikes Peak. This impactful moment is engrained in my mind and I wanted to capture it the best way I know how. An in depth description is difficult and photos/drawings do not do it a justice; the in-person experience is necessary. I am satisfied with my use of shadows and the perspectives. Again, it is not perfectly accurate to the photograph, but it is my take on it. I need to work on my depth and especially the detail in the rocks/boulders to the left hand side of the drawing.

My next drawing will be of Philmont Scout Ranch: Base Camp, NM.

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