We ascend further to a proper stop at the Windy Saddle Trailhead below the summit where a better view of the Rockies and I-70 is afforded, this time looking down the dusty green gullet of a valley to the highway far below. This is a trailhead for hiking, and as any respectable Colorado native may well do, some dolt comes racing off the trail on a dirt bike without a care that a car might hit them. Indeed, there are quite a few bicyclists taking advantage of the cool morning weather to laboriously climb this steep winding road that makes Crawford Notch in New Hampshire like a minor bump in the road.
At the summit, there is Buffalo Bill Cody’s gravesite and museum, with expansive views of the entire state – and beyond to Kansas if you squint through the haze hard enough. Whether the view is muted by smoke from the raging fires far to the south of us in Colorado Springs is anyone’s guess – both Mike and Mrs. Brooks were concerned about that – but it is still an awe-inspiring sight. A vast concrete patio permits us an unfettered view of the city far below, shrouded in smog as the wind dies down, and the sun warms things up enough to take off our light jackets.