Hitchhiking from Texas to Alaska Part Three: Pikes Peak

Two very excited pitbulls wished us a very good morning as we opened the door to LaToya’s living room. They were extremely eager to get to know us, and definitely showed us. She had the morning off, and we appreciated this chance to get to know her better. She very kindly offered to drive us to Manitou, the closest point to Pikes Peak. The day before, the man who drove us to Colorado Springs told us that Pikes Peak was the place to go to, and after looking at the photos, decided to pursue this plan. It was one of Colorado’s mountains that soared over 14,000 feet (climbing one is considered a must in Colorado), and one of two that can be driven up to the summit. How American, they actually built a road up a 4300 meter mountain, just because they can. We grabbed coffee together, said goodbye, and then headed in the direction of the highway to the peak.

Very excited puppies

Laurent with LaToya

Walking to the highway from Manitou

We had barely taken our hitchhiking photos when a pickup truck pulled over. We loaded our bags on and drove with this man and his two daughters to the start of the car lineup to Pikes Peak. Apparently, summer had truly started, and the line up to Pikes Peak was quite long. However, this meant that our chances for finding a car were pretty good. We had decided against hiking up to the top because we were carrying all our stuff and had no place to drop it off. We made a sign, and not long after, a black pickup truck with two ladies in the main cabin told us to hop into the trunk. This meant that we had an absolutely stunning aerial view as we ascended to the summit.

Hitchhiking is quite easy in Colorado

Small spelling mistake, but the sign worked

Gorgeous view from the back of the pickup truck

Looking over Colorado

Long and windy road to the top

At the summit, we strolled around and observed a marmot posing for us in front of the gorgeous landscape. It was quite cold at the top, and we felt a little like imposters being at the summit without having hiked up there. After about half an hour, we tried hitchhiking back down, and the same ladies who picked us up on the way up offered to drive us down. We hopped in and began the slow descent. Halfway down the mountain, we had a mandatory brake check, and it turned out that due to the steep decline, we would have to wait 15 minutes for the brakes to cool down before we could continue to the bottom. They dropped us off just past the entry to the park, and we barely had to wait before another car with a Belgium and a Belarussian IT guys pulled over that was headed to Denver. It was increasingly apparent to us that hitchhiking in Colorado was a breeze.

With all our gear, we got asked if we hiked to the top…which we had to say no

Laurent showing off his new hat proudly

Marmot chilling

They dropped us off on the side of the interstate, and we climbed up towards the bridge through a gate. From there we found our way to a bus stop. Thanks to Denver’s great transportation system, we got dropped us right across the building of our Couchsurfing host’s apartment. Franke greeted us outside his unit and ushered us into his very beautiful place. Both Denver and Franke are truly hip, friendly, and hipster. We have rarely met someone who was so sincere when he said that we should see his house as our own. We really felt like home, and offered us to join him for dinner as one of his friends was coming over to cook. She made a delicious pasta filled with vegetables (which we hadn’t had in a while and super craved) which we were super grateful for. Franke introduced us to the world of the Smart Home with Amazon Alexa, and Emily determined she had to acquire one before going back home to Canada since it wasn’t available there. Today’s experience- hitchhiking on a well paved road to the summit of a mountain, riding on clean spacious public transit across a safe, green city, and speaking voice commands to turn on/off lights before going to sleep- helped us to be reintegrated back to the Western world.

Climbing up from the Interstate through this gate…legal?

Welcome to Denver