2011 Southwestern USA travel blog

Colorado Springs, CO - Air Force Academy Peregrine Pines FamCamp - Site...

Colorado Springs, CO - Air Force Academy Peregrine Pines FamCamp - Site...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 0 - our route - 136...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 1

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 2

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 3

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 4

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 5

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 6 - a hot-air balloon getting...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 7

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 8 - a painted pig in...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 9 - lots of RVs on...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 10

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 11 - arriving at the South...

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 12

Poncha Springs to Colorado Springs, CO 13 - it does have a...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 1 - the Hornbeck homestead

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 2 - one of the very large...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 3 - nothing but a few semi-buried...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 4 - notice the steel bands keeping...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 5 - a triple stump

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 6 - if it was a moonlit...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 7 - a potentilla plant along the...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 8 - more than 20 museums and...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 9 - the Big Stump - its...

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument 10 - the view from the trail...

Garden of the Gods 1 - view of the entrance to the...

Garden of the Gods 2 - heading into the Garden

Garden of the Gods 3 - the Kissing Camel formation

Garden of the Gods 4

Garden of the Gods 5

Garden of the Gods 6

Garden of the Gods 7

Garden of the Gods 8

Garden of the Gods 9

Garden of the Gods 10

Garden of the Gods 11

Garden of the Gods 12 - the Scotsman

Garden of the Gods 13 - the Balanced Rock

Garden of the Gods 14 - Steamboat Rock

Garden of the Gods 15 - they built the road between them

Ghosttown Museum 1 - Elk outside the entrance

Ghosttown Museum 2 - from the other side

Ghosttown Museum 3 - the General Store

Ghosttown Museum 4

Ghosttown Museum 5

Ghosttown Museum 6 - some refurbished carriages along the street

Ghosttown Museum 7

Ghosttown Museum 8 - the other side of the street

Ghosttown Museum 9 - Barber Shop and Dentist office

Ghosttown Museum 10 - Apothecary Shop

Ghosttown Museum 11 - Hotel Parlor

Ghosttown Museum 12 - Assayer - Post Office, etc

Ghosttown Museum 13 - Saloon

Ghosttown Museum 14 - Stagecoach

Helen Hunt Falls 1 - the road up the canyon

Helen Hunt Falls 2

Helen Hunt Falls 3 - the falls - not much water this...

Helen Hunt Falls 4 - the stream coming down to the falls

Helen Hunt Falls 5 - the beginning of the Silver Cascade Falls...

Helen Hunt Falls 6 - more of the trail

Helen Hunt Falls 7 - and more of the trail up to...

Helen Hunt Falls 8 - the view near the top

Helen Hunt Falls 9 - even less water coming down the Silver...

Helen Hunt Falls 10 - Libby waiting on us as we return

Helen Hunt Falls 11 - it's starting to rain as we pass...


It was a pleasant 136 mile drive to Colorado Springs, including the detour to see Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument along the way. The traffic was heavy as we started through Manitou Springs but we made onto Interstate 25 and then into the Air Force Academy without incident. We are staying at the Peregrine Pines FamCamp and have a nice full hookup pull-through with 50 amps, good Verizon and satellite coverage with the use of the tripod. This campground is heavily forested and we had to move from our originally assigned site to this one in order to get the satellite. It wouldn't have made as much difference but we were staying 10 days so wanted access to the satellite programming.

Our stop at the Fossil Beds included an interesting movie and a hike of about two miles through the valley looking at the petrified Redwoods and also seeing one of the fossil digs along the way. The petrified redwoods were formed when volcanic mud covered the region long ago but didn’t cover the whole tree, just up the trunk a little way so that all that was petrified was the stumps. It is a shame it took our country so long to see the value of this place and protect it. We lost a lot of fossils and petrified trees to scavengers and tourists before they woke up.

We spent the rest of Sunday watching football and Monday planning what all we were going to do while here, but early Tuesday we set off for the Garden of the Gods. This is one of the premier attractions in Colorado Springs and when we visited here several years ago we were amazed at the red rock formations. We were somewhat less amazed this time. We don’t know if it was that we have seen so much in the last four years that we have become somewhat accustomed to fantastic scenery that it takes so much more to impress us or that they have let the roadside vegetation really get out of hand so that you cannot really see as well as we remember when you are driving through the park. When we visited before, it was in May so the vegetation would not have been so dense and maybe that is the problem.

After we left the Garden of the Gods we headed for old Colorado City which is just around the corner. It is a heavily visited area of the old town containing a lot of tourist related items such as bars and restaurants. The weather wasn't cooperating so we didn’t get any pictures but, again, we have seen much prettier streets this year. Just a little ways from there we visited the Ghost Town Museum and were delightfully surprised to find it to be one of the best we have seen this trip. They have taken old ghost town structures and placed them in a huge building, recreating the old ghost town, complete with hundreds of relics of our past, such as the first clothes washing machine and a great many other items.

Wednesday we headed up the Cheyenne Canyon to visit Helen Hunt Falls. It was a pretty drive up the canyon and, though it is late in the year and not much water is falling, we had a good time seeing the falls and then hiking a third mile almost straight up to see an almost completely dry Silver Cascades Falls. It was a good hike and gave us a good workout. We are in much better shape than when we started this trip. A third mile straight up at 8,000 feet elevation would not have been possible five months ago! It wasn't easy now but at least it was doable. Shortly after we finished the hike it started raining and then it started pouring. This is the heaviest rain we have had since staring the trip back on April 2. It rained hard all day Wednesday and has still been raining today, Thursday, so we are just staying put.

I am going to go ahead and make this posting tonight, even though we will still be here until next Wednesday, to break it up a little and not give you so much in one sitting.

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