Yesterday was our first anniversary. Yep, one year. That means that the warranty has officially expired and I have to keep him forever. It sure is hard being married to my favorite person in the world… but we make the most of it!
To celebrate, we headed down to Manitou Springs and, among other things, took a cog rail up to the summit of Pike’s Peak (14,110 feet above sea level). As if cramming on to the train with all the other tourists didn’t make us self-conscious enough, our strenuous train trip was the very same day as the Pike’s Peak marathon, in which hundreds of people literally ran up (and down) the mountain with little else but a bottled water and some silky shorts. We saw them coming to the finish as we stood in line for our train tickets, looking down at our feet so as not to be embarrassed by the eighty-year-old triathletes booking through the last leg of the race.
We got on the 2:40 train, but in order to appreciate the rest of this story, you need to understand all of the factors that had to come together for us to be on that 2:40. First, we’d originally planned to go Saturday, but it rained all day. Next, we planned to get an earlier Sunday train, but we had conflicting priorities (*ahem* breakfast, brunch and second breakfast) and missed them. Finally, we decided on the 2:40, but it was sold out. We almost got tickets for the 4:00, but at the last minute, we decided to get standby passes for the 2:40. By 2:30, lucky for us, enough people no-showed, or decided to run the marathon instead, and we got on.
The train started rolling on a 25% grade and chugged (rather, cogged) slowly up the tracks. It took about an hour and a half to get to the top, so we hardly noticed the oxygen depletion – it was that gradual. Very different than our Mt. Elbert ascent in 2003, after which I wrote an autobiographical essay entitled, “Mt. Elbert: I Laughed, I Cried, I Peed On My Shoes.” Mt. Elbert – a story for another day – was all foot-power, and had no road, parking lot, or tourist stop at the crest selling hot chocolate, high-altitude donuts, and shot glasses inscribed with various Colorado puns.
The train was packed with crying kids, angry moms, and Rod Stewart (yeah, he sat across from us with his motorcycle mama. Why do aging men think that highlights are a good thing? Anyway.). There was also “Kelly” the tour guide, pointing out various trees and rocks in a creepy stage-voice that sounded like Minnie Mouse on coke. Seriously, I want you to think about that for a moment.
But, it was totally worth it. We ran into a family of these guys, who waited patiently for us to pass before crossing the tracks and settling in the rocks on the other side:
BUT… the craziest thing about our anniversary train trip to the top of Pike’s Peak, 2 hours (as the car drives) and 14,000 feet (as the bighorns climb) from home, was that on the summit, we ran into our wedding musician. Yeah, a woman who played classical guitar for our wedding ceremony exactly one year (almost to the hour) before our paths crossed again here on the Pike’s Peak summit. Turns out she was on the same train as we were!
It was cool, you know? Like a little message along the way of life that you’re on the right path, doing the right thing (which is good… as I previously mentioned, the warranty has passed and my favorite monster is non-refundable).
So, in keeping with signs, traditions, and old things, when we got home later that night, we unwrapped our wedding cake (yes, we were one of those couples). With the single exception of a very spoiled raspberry, which was quickly spit into the sink, the cake was surprisingly good. Not as good as it was last August 20th, but good enough that we slammed down a nice chunk before bed. Mmmm, old cake. What’s not to love?
In closing, I’ll leave with you with two pieces of sound(ish) advice (better than two pieces of old, thawed cake):
1) Keep an eye out for all the little messages from the great beyond – you never know when they might appear.
2) Next time you get married, remove fresh fruit before freezing the cake.
Good night, all. And, Happy Anniversary, my love!