Here’s Part 2 of the story! If you missed part 1 of Pike’s Peak or Bust, be sure to go catch up before reading the conclusion of our exciting two part story of Grace Reid’s family vacation mishap.
After completing the transaction in the Pike’s Peak gift shop, the three oldest Reid children went to rejoin their parents and younger siblings on the train.
“Um,” Samuel began, looking towards the track. “Where’s the train?”
Grace looked up. That was a good question. Where was the train? There were the track and the Pike’s Peak elevation sign and everything else that had been there earlier, but there was no red train.
“It…left, I guess,” Hope managed, disbelief in her voice, nervousness in her eyes as she looked towards the valley far, far below.
“Why?” Grace asked. “It wasn’t time yet.”
“Let’s go inside and talk to a worker,” Samuel suggested. “They can tell us what happened and what we should do.”
Heading back into the visitor’s center, the siblings located a helpful employee. Samuel quickly explained what had happened and asked if the train had left early.
“No, it was scheduled to leave at two, and that’s when it left,” the worker told them.
“But according to my watch, it’s just now two,” Hope protested.
“I’m sorry, Miss. Your watch must not be set to the correct time.”
“So what do we do now?” Samuel asked. “How can we get down? Will we have to hike?”
Hope visibly shivered. “Anything but that,” she thought. “Not hike down a narrow mountain trail.”
“Wait one moment, please, while I make a call.”
The three said not a word as the employee stepped towards a nearby phone and made a brief call. When he returned to the desk, he said, “The next train has a few empty seats. You can ride down on it.”
“When does it leave,” asked Samuel.
“It leaves at 3:30. Be sure you don’t miss it,” he added with a knowing smile.
“Well, what will we do for the next hour,” Grace asked, as they left the help desk.
“What would you girls like to do?” Samuel asked, relieving Hope of the shopping bag.
“I want to go back outside and look around some more. And except for getting off the train, Hope hasn’t seen much of the view.”
“On purpose,” Hope muttered under her breath, but she followed the others outside.
On the train Mr. and Mrs. Reid discussed the missing children. “I told them to watch the time, and the checkout line wasn’t that long,” said Mrs. Reid.
“I guess they just forgot. They should be able to get a ride back on a later train, but we’ll need to wait for them.”
“Maybe one of them got sick,” Faith suggested.
Mrs. Reid looked concerned. “I hope that’s not why they missed the train.”
“I’m sure they just lost track of time.” Mr. Reid tried to provide comfort.
“And now Faith and I get window seats again.” Joseph tried not to be too excited at the unexpected arrangements.
Mrs. Reid smiled faintly and smothered her worry. Worry would accomplish nothing, and there was nothing she could do for her stranded children except pray. She turned to the window and the mountain view with a prayer in her heart.
“There are more marmots,” called Faith.
The family searched the rocks for the little animals, and gradually their attention left the ones left behind and focused on the trip down the mountain.
“Get a picture,” Joseph suggested. “That’s a better look at them than we had earlier.”
“Samuel and Hope have the cameras,” Faith reminded him.
“I’m disappointed we haven’t seen any bighorn sheep.”
“Well, Joe, not everyone sees them on these train rides,” said Mr. Reid. “At least we saw lots of marmots.”
“It’s so far down,” Hope breathed. The height made her dizzy. “I—I think I’ll go back inside.”
“I’ll join you,” Grace decided. “I’m feeling tired and out of breath.”
Inside the Pike’s Peak visitor’s center, the three found a quiet spot to sit, wait, and carefully watch Hope’s re-set watch.
At last it was 3:20 and time to board the train. The three Reids settled into their seats, ready to be reunited with their family and get to a lower elevation.
Twenty minutes out of the station, Grace, in a window seat, sat up and pointed, whispering, “Look, look!”
There, a short distance from the rails, stood three big-horned sheep, each with large curling horns. Instantly Samuel and Hope had their cameras out, snapping pictures of the majestic animals. It was only a few, short seconds they had in which to see the bighorn sheep. Then they were left behind.
“Did you get one, Hope? Mine both blurred.”
“Yes, I got one good one,” Hope excitedly shared.
“I can’t believe we actually saw bighorn sheep, and not just one!” exclamed Grace, still staring out the window, searching for more.
“I know! We actually saw three.” Hope was looking at the picture she had gotten.
“That was definitely a gift from God,” added Samuel.
Each of them individually thanked God for the special blessing. Hope also thanked God for His help on the mountaintop. He had given her peace, even when they were stranded. And He had worked everything out for them to get safely down.
A little while later, the train reached the station, where their parents and younger siblings waited to meet them. After the first greetings were over, Mr. Reid asked, “What happened? How did you miss the train?”
Hope looked sheepish. “Somehow the time on my watch was wrong.”
“Maybe you mis-set it when you changed the time this morning,” suggested Mrs. Reid.
“Maybe, but I don’t think so. I remember setting it exactly one hour backwards.”
Reluctantly, Faith spoke up. “Uh, Hope, I set your watch for you last night. I forgot to tell you, and I guess I got the time wrong. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, Faith. It all turned out okay. Thank you for being thoughtful.”
Joseph grinned. “Yes, it did turn out alright. We got window seats both ways. But we went all the way up Pike’s Peak and back and didn’t see a single bighorn sheep,” he added sadly.
“That’s too bad you didn’t get to see any,” said Samuel. His tone of voice made Joseph look suspiciously at him.
“Did you see one?” he demanded.
Grinning, Samuel said, “We didn’t see one.”
“We saw three!” Grace burst out. “And Hope got a good picture of them.”
“Now, I wish I’d been left,” said Faith. “That must have been so neat to see.”
“It was,” agreed Hope.
“Well, are we ready to head for the next destination?” asked Mr. Reid.
“I am, if it’s somewhere involving food,” Samuel said.
“Me too; I’m starving,” added Grace. “Mom had all the snacks.”
“Well, why don’t we head for a restaurant then,” suggested Mrs. Reid. “How does pizza sound?”