Life on the road……
Colorado Springs… David Mcclung said it best, “the adventure just keeps getting better”!
Pikes peak….14,115 feet above sea level. My Tahoe is a 2003 with over 225,000 miles on it and yes…we made it to the summit. 18.5 miles of winding, turning and sometimes downright scary road going up through the clouds. The sign says you can see all the way to Kansas and Nebraska. I guess you have to use your imagination….I didn’t see a sign in the distance that said “You are now looking at Nebraska”. It was around 50 degrees, which is mild and I did suffer from a little altitude sickness…dizzy and queasy, but we made it (my Tahoe and Me). The woman at the pay station (yes, I had to pay $10.00) reminded me to drink plenty of water which seemed to help….I still have to drive down this little hill I’m on!!! The lake in the photo is Crystal Creek Reservoir. It is a favorite fishing spot for the locals along the road to the summit and I spent a very peaceful couple of hours there, sitting in my camp chair enjoying the glorious scenery and fresh mountain air. I even drank water from the lake. At an elevation of over 9,200 feet it supplies the drinking water for Colorado Springs and the surrounding area….they have great water pressure in Colorado Springs. The chipmunk you see pictured came to chat while I was enjoying my peace and quiet time. Now it may have been the “Rocky Mountain High”, but I swear the little guy kept asking me if I’d seen Simon and Theodore….
Manitou Cliff Dwellings…..Built more than 700 years ago by the Anasazi Indians, the dwellings were actually relocated to this area from several hundred miles south in the early 1900’s. An interesting piece of American history with a pretty cool museum…..kinda touristy/commercial though…..the gift shops were bigger than the dwellings….
Garden of the Gods….Garden of the Gods is a public park near Colorado Springs (public=free!). The red rock formations were created millions of years ago and Archaeological evidence supports the theory that prehistoric people visited this area about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC Native American people camped here. They are believed to have been drawn here by the wildlife and plant life in the area. Also, the overhangs created by the rocks offered shelter. There are many native cultures who’s history is connected to the Garden of the Gods, including Ute, Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Pawnee and Lakota tribes…..another area that seemed to speak to me…..not unlike Battle Canyon in Kansas. An entire afternoon was devoted to wandering around the park….and for your amusement, I got lost and had to ask a fellow hiker where the hell I was..
The Water Falls…..OK, so I’m driving down (and sometimes up) this really bad road in the mountains. I just passed a sign that said “caution, road in need of repair”. So of course I think “hell I’m an adventurer, let’s keep going”……very slowly. And what is my reward for this foolhardiness…..the sound of rushing water. So I pull off this poor excuse for a road right next to a sign that says “No Parking”…why would anyone put a “No Parking ” sign way the hell up here! The first 2 waterfall photos are of what I found. Look closely near the top left and along the right side…Native American cliff drawings???
From there I went more “Main Stream” and attended the grand reopening of “Seven Falls”. Seven Falls is a seven level 181 foot waterfall that cascades down through a 1,250 foot box canyon. The falls had been closed for several months for renovations and I just happened to show up on the day they reopened….I’m one lucky guy. You have the option of climbing the 224 steps to the top or riding the elevator located within the mountain….I did both! The “cool” thing about riding the elevator was the temperature drop once inside the mountain. It was a good 20 degrees cooler and quite damp…..It was “cool” and “very cool” at the same time. Of course the stairs tried to kill me. I kept telling people “I’m from Florida” as if that would explain my having to stop every 30 steps to catch my breath….and I thought I was in pretty good shape….the air is just so thin.
From there it was on to Helen Hunt Falls (not the actress, the poet/writer). Helen Maria Hunt Jackson is also well known for being an activist in promoting better treatment of Native Americans. The falls are named in honor of her work.
The RV resort in Colorado Springs was within walking distance of Walmart, Home Depot, McDonalds, Arby’s, Burger king, Popeye’s Chicken and on and on……it scared the hell out of me! The website said “Spectacular views of Downtown Colorado Springs…..The brightest light I saw was the 24 hour shell station….Of course I’m not being fair…..just not a big fan of “City Lights” . So I buggered out and am now camped 17 miles west of Pueblo in the VERY WIDE OPEN SPACES, where it actually gets dark at night.
Tomorrow I head over to Blanca, CO which is near the “Great Sand Dunes National Park” and the “Iron Nipple”……I’ll let ya know??…..Guess I can put the sweatshirt away for now…..
The Adventure Continues…..