There is a lot of charm to be found in this older mountain town. It has preserved some of its older buildings and resorts. One such building is Miramont Castle, built in 1895 for Father Jean Baptiste Francolon and his mother. They were quite wealthy and had a chateau in France, which they returned to in 1900. The Father had been poisoned in New Mexico and had some lingering ill effects from that. He came to Manitou Springs with the hope that the Sisters of Mercy would care for him in his castle. He became the local parish priest. After he returned to France the Sister converted the building into a sanitarium.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Sometimes I wonder about my tour guide. John said we were going to see Seven Falls, but we ended up at North Cheyenne. They both can be reached by Cheyenne Blvd in Colorado Springs. Seven Falls is privately owned and requires an admission pass, whereas North Cheyenne is owned by the city and no fee is required for admission. So maybe on the way to Seven Falls he saw this other park and we happened to wander into it, I do not know. We had a beautiful drive through a canyon with striking rock formations, saw two tall tumbling falls and got a good hike in- I was satisfied and my tour guide redeemed himself!
We are still parked in Colorado Springs, probably leaving tomorrow. I was not too happy having to park within a bustling city, until I walked from our home to a nearby trail which runs along Fountain Creek. Before even leaving the rv park, a black squirrel ran across my path. They are rare, some towns we have been through have as their only claim to fame the presence of black squirrels. However, we never saw them in those towns. Funny that I found one here. As I then walked down the trail a mule deer and her baby stepped out from the brush along the creek and stared at me. A young man I met later made the comment that deer are more prevalent in this city than in all of Colorado! Finally I want to show the view of Pike's Peak which we have near our home. I am coming to like where we are parked.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Somewhere in our tour brochures we read that this is the best and most unique city park in the world. Notice I said city park. Charles Elliott Perkins, who once owned this 1,350 acres of land, told his children that the Garden of the Gods should forever be free to the people of the world. His children gave the land to city of Colorado Springs in1909. Yesterday, Sunday, we drove around the park as well as hiked some of the trails. One of the first formations we saw was balanced rock.
South central Colorado was certainly a different world some 34 million years ago, which we learned at the Florissant Fossil Beds. Currently it is forested with ponderosa pine, spruce, fir and aspen. Back then it was a warm temperate climate where tall redwood trees grew. Study of the tree rings showed that the redwoods of Florissant had more favorable growing conditions than those of the California redwoods of today. At this national monument we took a trail through the petrified forest of redwoods. Scientist figure that these redwoods once were 13 feet wide and as high as 250 feet.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
We have moved our home south and now we are parked in Colorado Springs. Yesterday we continued our search for a family reunion site. We started looking in the area around us, but then widened our search to the land southwest of Colorado Springs, which explains how we ended up at Royal Gorge.
Friday, July 24, 2015
The past week has pretty much been devoted to helping our daughter and her cousin Heather check out campgrounds for the Lohrmann reunion in 2017. In the process we have managed to get some sightseeing done. One day we took a trip south through the mountains on highway 70 and were able to get a good view of some snow covered mountains which included Mount Elbert and Pikes Peak. The entire drive took us to Colorado Springs with stops in Leadville and Buena Vista. It was a beautiful trip, and we were also lucky to see pronghorn antelope.
According to information provided along the trail, many years ago pressure within the earth built the Rocky Mountains. As the young peaks grew, they shrugged off layers of sediment and rock. Raging rivers then rolled them off the slopes unto the plains. Some of them rolled 30 miles south from Pikes Peak and embedded them in the caprock pictured above. Those smooth rounded cobbles can also be seen in the walls of the canyon, I took a close-up photo to show how all those little pieces of rock built up the canyon.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
As some of our readers know, John and I have seen a fair number of zoos by now. The Denver Zoo was not particularly on our radar to see, but we had a couple of free hours late Saturday afternoon, and it is close to Heather and Ann’s home. Heather seems to love the place and was especially pleased that we were going there. She has been there many times and proved to be a great guide for getting us around the place and into exhibit buildings out of the rain. The zoo has 700 species, and 4,000 animals on 80 acres.
What Heather likes about the zoo is that most of the animals are up and active and not sleepily lying around. The polar bear in the picture above seemed to be enjoying the rain ( which was coming down from small to moderate amount of sprinkles the whole time we were at the zoo). He is sitting on a ball, not sure what he plans to do with it! I never did understand the different sections of the zoo, and how the animals were categorized, but the bear is in the Northern Shores exhibits.
In the Tropical Discovery we found this interesting tree frog. Its secretions are used in the treatment of aids and some cancers. Native people use it as a mind-altering drug. Because of those reasons it is a threatened species. I believe it was in this area where I saw a sign noting that our rain forests are disappearing at an alarming rate. Many scientists predict that the forests outside of parks and preserves may be gone by 2045.
The aquarium building had some wonderful displays, especially that of sea horses. I find them rather unique and interesting creatures. Equally fascinating is the sea bubble anemone, pictured above. It can be found in the rocks and coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. It paralyzes and devours fish that brush against its tentacles. However, the clown fish is immune and finds a safe haven among its tentacles. Two clown fish can be seen hang out in the sea bubble anemone inthe picture above.
I also liked the pretty flowers and other decorative items displayed around the zoo, as pictured above. In another area baskets and fabrics of Africa are displayed. I must say we did have fun at the Denver Zoo, despite the rain and shortage of time! It will be one of our more memorable zoos.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
We had a beautiful drive down here from Estes Park last week. Our route took us through the Big Thompson Canyon and along the river by the same name.