Friday, March 27, 2015

Roadtrip ~ Grand Canyon of the Arkansas

An impromptu roadtrip took us to uncharted territory. It was a beautiful Sunday and we wanted to get out and enjoy it. So off we headed to see the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas.
We headed south and were soon in the town of Penrose where we stopped to see the World's Largest Rocking Chair!

World's Largest Rocking Chair - built in 1990 from hand-hewn Douglas Fir logs,
weighs 9100lbs. 21 ft tall & 14 ft wide
This chair is located next to a really neat old building that may have a unique future in store for it.

From there we continued on to the quaint little burb of Canon City. We decided to stop for lunch and when we found a place named after hubby, we knew we had to stop! Boy, we were not disappointed! We had a lunch that reminded us of a Sunday dinner at Grandma's house!

Onward we went. We slowly climbed Fremont Peak. Driving through the area which had been ravaged by wildfire less than two years ago. Stark was the landscape. But signs of life were evident. Cattle grazed on grass and the tall stalks of mullein could be seen. While mullein is on the invasive species list, it serves a very valuable purpose in these burned areas by holding down soil and preventing severe erosion.

Mullein stalks silhouetted against the sky
The 2013 fire, which burned for four days, destroyed nearly 90% of the park. Only the bridge was left standing with only minimal damage to the wooden floor planks.

Smoldering building - image source
bridge fire damage - image source
When we arrived at the summit, a vast vista opened before us. The vastness of the canyon which lay before us was amazing. And to think it was carved by a river through granite! This place was aptly named - the Royal Gorge!

The Royal Gorge or Grand Canyon of the Arkansas is only about 50 feet across at the bottom and several hundred feet across at the top. It's roughly 1,250 ft deep and the canyon is 10 miles long.

The first documented exploration of the region was by Zebulon Pike in 1806. A railway through the gorge was built in the late 1870s. 

railroad tracks at bottom of  Royal Gorge
The Royal Gorge is owned by the local town of Canon City. In 1929, the town of Canon City had the bridge across the gorge built. The bridge is 955 feet above the river and held the title of the highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001. It is still America's highest suspension bridge.

To read more about the Royal Gorge, Click Here!  


Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's a beautiful gorge, as gorges go. Thanks for taking us along on your trip! I want to try out that rocking chair.

the dogs' mother said...

Fun trip. That bridge.

JenJen said...

Hey! I busted out laughing when I saw the rocking chair! When I go hot springing in Florence, I pass this and smile ever time. Never been over the bridge because of my vertigo BUT we did go rafting in the river and saw the bridge from the underside. Super cool! We live in a magical state. :)