11. August 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 9: Cripple Creek · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Our family took a leisurely drive in the Mustang with the top down. We didn’t set a location precisely, but ended up in Cripple Creek, Colorado, a very quiet little mining town that’s filled with casinos.

There’s a tourist railroad in Cripple Creek, called the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. Trains leave every 40 minutes and take tourists on a 45 minute ride. We didn’t plan to stay long enough for a train ride, but we enjoyed looking around at the depot.

You know what else is cool, the railroad is pet friendly! When we come back to ride it we fully intend to bring Howie!

Otherwise, Cripple Creek has numerous small casinos and little else. The state voted to allow gambling in Cripple Creek in 1991. The town is tiny. It was tough to find a place for lunch in the area…most of the restaurants are in the casinos. But we did find a burger joint on called The Creek¬†on Bennett Avenue (the main drag), that was pretty good. Dave had an elk burger which he testified was pretty darned good.

 

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The kids have mixed feelings about having the top down. So long as we aren’t going too fast, they really enjoy it.

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11. August 2013 · Comments Off on More Hiking in Colorado Springs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

There are so many places to go hiking throughout Colorado Springs. I’ve made it a point to get the kids out and about 3-4 times per week this summer. The City of Colorado Springs parks and recreation website has a great listing of area parks, which is the best starting point when planning your day.

The boys would often get tired after these hikes. Jacob has recently revealed that he can’t stand “desert walks”, which we encountered on most of these hikes. We’d quickly go from aspen-kissed creek beds to sandy junipers and pear cactus. I had found a couple memes to make fun of these hikes. Here’s one that sums up Jacob attitude about the more desolate parts of our hikes…and here’s one that sums up the bike ride we took last week (which I don’t have any pictures of, and it was quite traumatic for all…so we’ll pretend that it didn’t happen).

Enjoy some photos from some of the hikes we’ve done lately….

Pulpit Rock Open Space, near downtown Colorado Springs

Pulpit Rock is in the middle of Colorado Springs. We took a short walk around the base of the rock, it was storming around us. We didn't last long.

Pulpit Rock is in the middle of Colorado Springs. We took a short walk around the base of the rock, but it was storming around us. We didn’t last long.

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11. August 2013 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries 8: Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Manitou Springs · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
The Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings is a part-day attraction you can roll in with other activities in the Manitou Springs/Ute Pass areas of Colorado.

The Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings is a part-day attraction you can roll in with other activities in the Manitou Springs/Ute Pass areas of Colorado.

About 3 weeks ago, our family took a day trip to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. A Facebook advertisement featuring wolves from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center visiting for the day got my attention. The boys were immediately interested.

There is an admission to visit the Cliff Dwellings. I downloaded a coupon from the website and was able to get $1 off per person. You will pay the admission at a little guard shack just after turning off U.S. 24 into the facility.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a representation of what life was like for the Anasazi tribes of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Dave and I were quite disappointed to learn that the structures we toured weren’t actually native to the area: the structures were disassembled from a collapsed area near Cortez, Colorado and relocated to Manitou Springs via railroad around 1900.

Nonetheless, it’s about 15-20 minutes to fully walk through the “neighborhood” of cliff dwellings, which feature living quarters, cooking areas, garbage disposal areas, and a “kiva“, which is a room used for rituals. The kids immediately noticed the sense of community to the area, when they asked about the three-family living quarters and communal cooking areas.

After the quick turn through the dwellings, the boys wanted to go visit the two wolves who were near the gift shop. The CWWC was holding a fundraiser: for a $5 donation, you could take as many photographs as you liked. There was quite a crowd on hand, so the boys got several minutes with the wolves…but we had to assure them we would visit the CWWC later this year and they could spend more time with them later.

We then visited the gift shop, which is very big. If it weren’t for the admission you have to pay just to get onto the property, I’d recommend it as a nice place to find a wide variety of Colorado-esque gifts for friends and family.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

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It’s a well-laid out, well-kept museum.

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There are signs to guide visitors to tour the dwellings in the same direction: right-to-left on the inside, then left-to-right on the outside.

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The openings were about 5 1/2′ tall, many adults have to duck to get around the interior areas.

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Teachable moment: Dave is teaching the boys about the kiva.

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The pottery within the mud/clay was interesting to me.

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There is this balcony area that was a popular photography spot. But there’s a limit of two people on the balcony at a time. It was hard to photograph the boys because kids kept popping in and out of the holes behind them.

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It was funny seeing the kids popping in and out of the holes.

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I wish I could remember the names of these wolves. Sorry!

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A rare view of me on the other side of the camera.

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These poor wolves were in and out of sleep much of the time.

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The gift shop is larger than the rest of the museum put together. I recommend it as a nice place to get native-Colorado gifts.

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A model of the cliff dwellings inside the gift shop.

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My telephoto lens capturing the wolf from afar.