Tucked way in the back of my head, somewhere in the childhood memories folder, is a vague recollection of riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and having a donut at the summit. When I found myself nearby, it seemed like a good opportunity to find out if the donuts were any good or not and have what I believe to be the nation’s highest altitude donut.
Instead of taking the train, my hubby and I drove up Pikes Peak in a rental car more fit for grandparents than donut seekers. The weather was gorgeous, beautiful blue skies with a rainstorm visible off in the distance producing lightning. Portions of the roadway are unpaved right now and other portions are being re-paved so there was a tiny construction delay, but one with a view so no complaints.
Once we reached the Summit House, we realized the train was there. That means several hundred people all crammed in the Summit House trying to eat, go to the bathroom and buy their souvenirs in 45 minutes. It also meant there were NO DONUTS! We staked out good spots to get donuts once the train left and the donut supply was replenished. John waited at the fudge counter, where the glazed donuts are served and I waited in the snack bar area where unglazed donuts are available.
While waiting for a donut, I met a family from Texas who told me about a Vietnamese donut shop in Dallas that I must check out. Finally warm donuts were brought out and unceremoniously dumped into a plastic bin for self service. I got two donuts and headed to the cash register to pay. (Insider tip, a quick search on-line will turn up a free donut coupon for Pikes Peak.) I spent a whole dollar for two donuts.
Meanwhile, John was snagging donuts at the fudge counter. He was surprised with a discount for waiting so long. An EMT was acting as the cashier (one of two EMTs, both wearing stethoscopes, that we spotted working in the gift shop) and was very kind to the restless tourists waiting for their donuts, some not so patiently.
The other gal behind the counter was full of great information on the history of the Pikes Peak donut. The first homesteaders formulated the recipe 88 years ago and high altitude donuts have been sold ever since. I asked what happened if you took the donuts back to a lower elevation and she said some people say they turn to a greasy ball, some say they turn rock hard and some say nothing happens to them at all.
The donuts smelled wonderful–slightly like a hushpuppy, but perhaps more like the mini donuts at the state fair except they are not mini in size. They were definitely greasy and left a big oily spot on the dash of the car, their spot for the ride back down the mountain. John ate donuts at the top and again later at lower elevation and reported no difference. Interesting!
My gluten-free (and vegan) sweet for the week was a Scout Cookie at Watercourse in Denver. Sort of light the Girl Scout Samoa cookie, only huge and full of goodness from dates, coconut and chocolate. Hello, Denver friends? Please ship more of these to me when the weather cools off. My address is…
Thank you for posting such a wonderful review! I found the coupon online (woo hoo!) and I’m more excited than ever to eat donuts after seeing your pictures. I’m still a little bit nervous for the drive up the mountain next week. Was there a $ fee to drive it? My boyfriend and I considered taking the train but I’m not crazy about the idea of being on a crowded train with so many people. I hope you had a wonderful trip! I look forward to reading more of your blog.