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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Churchill Fellowship Day Twenty Two - Caves and Mountains

Our first stop yesterday was Cave of The Winds in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado Springs. This amazing cave structure and mountainside viewpoint offers a range of adventures from zip-lining and high-wiring to cave crawls. I knew in advance that the cave itself was not wheelchair accessible and I would only be able to explore the first ‘room’ in my chair. As an ambulant wheelchair user it was then up to me if I could do the full tour. The guides at the cave were kind enough to show me the worst of some of the 196 stairs so that I could make my decision. Stairs have never been too much of a challenge and we were assured that if the challenge became too much that a guide could escort us out. So we went for it!

The tour was pretty awesome, it lasted about an hour and took you through some pretty tight squeezes and fascinating rock formations. There was only two areas that I chose to skip, one of which was accessed by a steep spiral staircase and the other a metal ladder-like stair. I managed to do about 90% of the total tour. It was a challenge but one I’m really glad to have tackled. This area is a definitely a top place to visit if you’re ever in the Colorado Springs area.

Image Description: Me standing in front of the first narrow cave passage. The entrance here is only 4ft 8” - I was quite glad of my short stature on this particular adventure!

After this we drove up Pikes Peak, at $15 per person toll we thought this was a bit ‘steep’ - pardon the pun! In summertime the drive is a 19 mile round trip, taking you all the way to the summit at 16,000 ft. Due to the ice caps we could access the first 13,000ft which led us to some breathtaking views. The snow at the top area was still undisturbed, creating a stunning winterscape and contrasting dramatically with the beautiful sunshine that was still beating down. There was about 7°c difference from the top to the bottom, but I was still in a t-shirt when we reached the highest point.

The best area on the way up was the reservoir, the views here were like something off a postcard and it was incredibly peaceful. The tracks in this area were surprisingly accessible and the sights and smells were indescribable.

Image description (x2): Views across the reservoir from the banks and the trails. The second image show my wheelchair in the foreground with the ice capped mountains behind, this was taken at around 11ft above sea level.

All the trails have accessible restrooms at the start and places to fill water bottles and grab snacks. I find it truly amazing how much of the area can be accessed using a standard wheelchair with no fuss or pre planning required. The adventure here is your own and that’s what makes it special, you have full control over how you approach each challenge, empowering you to make choices over how adventurous you want to be. It’s this that makes the experience truly accessible to all.

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