Category Archives: State Parks

Mosier Twin Tunnels, Mosier, Oregon

Mosier Twin Tunnels ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25083); Historic Columbia River Highway ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25089); Mosier, Oregon ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25077). January 17, 2016. Chronicles 22: Life in the Gorge/Columbia River. November-December 2015. Photographs by   Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Reviews: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  Chronicle tales: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=17409
Mosier Twin Tunnels ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25083)

Mosier Twin Tunnels
Mosier, Oregon

These remnants of the Columbia River Highway’s history echoes a time of great adventure, slow travel, and mesmerizing views. The Columbia River Highway once came through these cliffs back in 1921. There were 2 tunnels that originally were built through this high rock point to allow for travel. It was a popular highway then turned byway, then turned trail. It gave fabulous views of the Columbia River and the Gorge. The architects of the tunnels took their inspirated from the Axenstrasse along Lake Lucerne, Switzerland. But regardless of the sound design, these tunnels were plagued with troubles, especially rockfalls and automobile accidents. In 1954 they build the replacement road at water level along the river, and these tunnels were abandoned and fell into disrepair. The replacement road became Interstate 84. In 1995 the tunnels were re-opened for tourist byway access, and then converted to the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail, completely restored. It was opened to hikers in 2000 as a 4 1/4 mile hiking trail. Panoramic scenic overlooks, picnic tables, and paved trails appease the regular day-visitors to this hotspot along the Columbia. Great views of 18 mile island can be seen very nicely from several vantage points along the trail. THere is an etching of a message scratched into the rock past the sencond window in 1921 by a hunting party that was trapped there from snow fall in the past.

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Gingko Tree Petrified Forest (Washington)

Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Gingko Petrified Forest
Vantage, Washington. http://parks.state.wa.us/288/Ginkgo-Petrified-Forest
Article by Thomas Baurley on 12/3/2016 ~

Enroute to a archaeological survey I was doing, we stopped the night at Wanapum State Park only to discover next door was the GIngko Petrified Forest. What a treasure trove lying within the Washington desert for any paleontology enthusiast. The park is approximately 7,470 acres including over 27,000 along the shoreline of the Wanapum Reservoir on the Columbia River. This petrified forest was once a tropical jungle that after cataclystic events became hardened into stone by volcanic activity and lava during the Miocene Period. It is located right off of Interstate 90. We took a hike along the “Trees of Stone” interpretative Trail, just down the road from the interpretive center. You have the option of the longer 2.5 mile loop or a 1.5 mile loop. Dotted along the trail are metal cages containing in situ various tree stumps and logs that were petrified long ago. There are over 22 species of trees that can be found on the paths. The petrified trees were discovered by a highway crew in 1927 led by geologist George F. Beck. In 1938 the Civilian Conservation Corps completed Beck’s excavations, built a museum here, and opening the park to the public. In 1965 it was designated a National Landmark by the National Park Service.
The interpretative center and museum tells the story of the forest, how it was formed, what life was like when it existed and how it is now. During the Miocene of the Neogene period (15.5 Million years ago), this area was a semi-humid jungle that was affected by volcanic fissures and lava flows that once came across the Columbia Plateau. These flows leveled the landscape that once was here, flattened and encased in basalt rock. During the burial, a chemical transformation converted the wood to stone by process of petrification when the minerals and silica from the volcanic ash mixes with ground water, penetrates and soaks into the wood, and mineralized it enough to make it rock. By the end of the last ice age, the catastrophic Missoula Floods around 15,000 BPE, the basalt was eroded and exposed some of the petrified wood. There are over 50 species found within the park including sweetgum, ginkgo, redwood, douglas fir, walnut, spruce, elm, maple, horse chestnut, cottonwood, magnolia, madroe, sassafras, yew, and witch hazel.

The Wanapum peoples lived in this region from the Columbia River to Beverly Gap onwards to the Snake River. They welcomed the white settlers during Lewis and Clark’s expedition. They used the petrified wood for lithic tools, carved petroglyphs in the basalt cliffs, and lived here by fishing or agriculture.

Nearby is the Wanapum campground for visitors to stay and be able to explore the ground over the course of a few days. Near the Interpretive center is a Gem shop where visitors can buy souvenirs and stones for their collections. There is collecting permitted on Saddle Mountain 14 miles away where collectors can gather up to 25 pounds a day or 250 pounds a year for personal use.

Walnut ( http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=11050). Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan  and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Walnut ( http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=11050). Gingko Tree Petrified Forest ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=25979). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 29, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Maryhill State Park (Maryhill, Washington)

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Maryhill State Park
* http://www.parks.wa.gov/ * Maryhill, Washington *

Nestled right on the Columbia River, just down the hill from Maryhill’s infamous American Stonehenge is a wonderful state park with swimming, picnicking, camping, and boating recreational activities offered. Warm showers (pay per 3 minutes), nice restrooms, good camping facilities, and a stony beach welcome a restfulstop along the long stretch from the Oregon desert to the fertile valleys westward. It is a 99-acre camping park with 4,700 feet of waterfront on the Columbia River in Klickitat County.

Maryhill State Park: ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=7637). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Maryhill State Park: ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=7637). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 28, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Serpent Mound, Peebles, Ohio

Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder - New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935)

Serpent Mound
~ 3850 State Route 73, Peebles, Ohio 45660 ~ 1-800-752-2757 ~ www.arcofappalachia.org ~

One of the most world famous mound-culture sites in Ohio, Serpent Mound is an animal effigy mound that can be seen from the sky or up high. The site is well preserved and protected, with a nice parking lot, rest rooms, museum, and group picnic areas. There is a scaffolding tower you can climb on to view the serpent mound better. There is a $8 charge per vehicle to park, otherwise admission is free. Park is open 9 am until dusk. Museum closes at 4 pm. You no longer can climb or walk on the mounds as they are being preserved for future generations and protecting their sacredness. This site is the world’s largest surviving example of an ancient animal effigy mound. It winds over 1,348 fee oer the ground, and the earthworks are beautifully preserved example of an undulating serpent with an oval shape at the head. These kind of mounds were created by aboriginal inhabitants of the area prior to Euro-American settlers and exploration. The earthworks are very sophisticated art and unfortunately through the past, many were destroyed by Euro-American settlers, homesteaders, agriculture, and development. Early excavations revealed no artifacts to help identify which tribe or peoples created it. It is believed that multiple cultures could have contributed to it over time. There were later discovered, three conical burial mounds right by the Serpent Mound, two of which date to the Adeno Culture (800 BCE – 100 CE) and one to the Fort Ancient Culture (1000-1650 CE). A nearby village site was occupied by both the Adena and the Fort Ancient Cultures. Carbon dating from within the mound has shown conflicting dates for both Fort Ancient and Adena Time periods leaving the mound builders a remote mystery. Excavations in 2012 reveal the buried foundations of a fourth coil near the head. While there are some oral traditions suggesting possible interpretations of its meaning and use, there are also many modern theories trying to explain it, but no sound complete explanation exists. There are striking astronomical correlations with the moon and sun, with astrological observations that can be made throughout the year with various seasons and festivals. The serpent motif has a symbolic connection to many cultures as a symbol of cycles of birth and death, resurrection , and the higher/lower worlds.

A tributary of the Ohio Brush Creek runs through the park, bringing many species of plants and animals to live here, rare and common. The rock cliffs below the mound are dolomite limestone as the bedrock base providing classic karst features of grotto cliffs, and springs / sinkholes around the region. The earthworks sit atop a narrow flat ridge at the edge of an ancient crater at least 4 miles in diameter. The crater was formed by a meteorite impact that occurred 250 million years ago, giving lift to this magical formation. At the ancient crater’s center, the bedrock was pushed upward at least a thousand feet from its original position. Throughout the bowl of the structure there are massive cracks, faults, and places where to rock layers are jumbled and even upside down. The Mound has international recognition and has been submitted to UNESCO – United nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization for the World Heritage List.

Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder - New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder – New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Fort Worden, WA

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

Fort Worden, Washington

Right in the heart of Port Townsend is a historic US Military fort turned into a State Park. It resides along the Admiralty Inlet that flows by Port Townsend. The fort property, now owned by the National Park Service consists of 433 acres, originally as a US Army base to protect Puget Sound from invading forces from 1902 to 1953, named after U.S. Navy Admiral John Lorimer Worden who commanded the USS Monitor during the American Civil War. After it was decommissioned in 1953 and purchased in 1957 converted to a juvenile detention facility, and then turned to a State Park in 1973. Because the Admiralty Inlet was a strategic defense location for Puget Sound, three forts were built along the shores – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler creating a “Triangle of Fire” with huge guns thwarting any invasive force coming from sea. The forts were never used for war and never fired a shot. During World War I the guns were removed and used in Europe. It was primarily a training base for military applications. During World War II it became the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command and jointly operated by the Navy and Army in a team effort. The artillery units were disbanded after World War II and gun batteries dismantled. During the Korean war a 2nd Engineer Special brigade was stationed here before being ordered to Korea to reinforce the Far East Command. After this, in 1957 the fort was in the hands of the state of Washington for diagnosis and treatment of troubled youths. Remnants of various batteries litter the landscape, some of which are open to explore by park visitors. The park also houses the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, a balloon hanger used by airships, three 3-inch anti-aircraft gun emplacements, several restored quarters on Officer’s Row, Point Wilson lighthouse, a campground, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and lots of beaches for recreational use. In 1983 the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed here. In 2002 the movie “The Ring” was also filmed here.

Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula - Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Fort Worden ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26407), Port Townsend, WA ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=26403). Exploring Olympic Peninsula – Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 25, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Niagara Gorge and the Devil’s Hole

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Niagara Gorge
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

Our final tour location was Niagara Gorge which was full of hiking trails and overlooks to the Devil’s Hole (Giant whirlpool). The Gorge is an approximate 7 mile long gorge carved by the Niagara River separating the U.S. (New York) and Canada (Ontario) beginning at the base of Niagara Falls and ending at the Niagara escarpment near Queenston, Ontario. The falls originated at the escarpment 12,000 years ago and the river formed the gorge receding the falls upstream towards Lake Erie slowly eroding the Lockport dolomite sub-strata that the river runs along. This river and gorge is one of the world’s strongest river currents in existence. The Devil’s Hole Rapids and Whirlpool is one of the largest in the river. Devil’s Hole Ravine is located along the U.S. side of the Niagara River Gorge just north of the Niagara Glen. It is a deep bowl shaped basin formed from the Bloody Run tributary of the Glacial Lake Tonawanda. It gets the name “Bloody Run” after the massacre of British Soldiers here by the Seneca Indians in 1763. THe Devil’s Hole is believed to be the lair of the Evil Spirit who gobbles up souls of men and horses that enter his cave.

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Horseshoe Falls

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Horseshoe Falls
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

Located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, the “Canadian Falls” or “Horseshoe Falls” is the most famous and most attracted spots at the Niagara Falls wonder. Over 90% of the Niagara River flows over these falls and is used for massive hydro-power generation. The Remaining 10% of the river flows over the American Falls. These falls are located between Terrapin Point on Goat Island and Table Rock in Ontario. The Falls have been fought over between America and Canada throughout history.

The Myth of the Maid of the Mist is a Native American legend from the Ongiaras Tribe about a young woman, named Lelawal, the Maid of the Mist. She lost her husband at a very young age and was lost in sorrow. She canoed along the Niagara River to the Falls, singing a death song paddling into the current. She was caught up in the rough waves and hurled into the falls, but as she fell, Heno, the God of Thunder who lived in these falls caught her carrying her down to his home beneath the veil of waters falling. Heno and his sons took care of her until she healed. One of his sons fell in love with her, married, and bore a son who learned to be a God of Thunder. The Maid however missed seeing her family and tribe. Heno reported to her that A great snake came down the mighty river and poisoned the waters of her people. They grew sick and were dying, being devoured by the snake until the mass disappearance of the tribe occurred. She begged Heno to be able to go back to the realm of her people to warn them of the dangers, so he lifted her through the falls back to her people. She advised them to move away from the river onto higher lands until the danger passed. Heno came back and brought her back to her husband. Once the great snake discovered that the people deserted the village, it went into a rage hissing and going upstream to search for them. Heno rose up through the mist of the falls and threw a giant thunderbolt at the snake killing it in one blast. The giant body floated downstream and lodged just above the cataract creating a large semi-circle that deflected huge amounts of water into the falls just above the God’s home. Heno swept through the falls trying to stop the massive influx of water caused by the position of the corpse. His home was destroyed. He called for the Maid and his sons returning up into the sky making a new home in the heavenly realms watching down over the humans, Heno thundering in the clouds as he once did in the falls. The thunder of the falls is Heno’s voice. [ http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/09/the_maid_of_the_mist.html ] Other legends claim Lelawala was betrothed by her father to a king she despised and secretly wanted to be with He-No, the God of Thunder, who lived beneath Horseshoe Falls. In the middle of heartache she chose to sacrifice herself to him, paddling her canoe into the Niagara River and swept off into the Falls. He-no caught her, merged with her spirit, and lived forever in his sanctuary behind the falls, whereas she became the “Maiden of the Mist”.

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Cave of the Winds (Niagara Falls, NY)

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Cave of the Winds
* Goat Island * Niagara Falls State Park, New York *

Not to be confused with Cave of the Winds in Colorado, the Cave of the Winds Niagara was a natural cave that ran behind Bridal Veil Falls in the Niagara Falls State Park on the U.S.A. side of the Niagara River. It ran roughly 130 feet deep and was discovered in 1834. It was originally called “Aolus’ Cave” named as such in tribute to the Greek God of the Winds. Tours began in 1841 taking people down within for a view of the falls from beneath. Unfortunately in 1920 a rock fall made the actual cave no longer safe to go within. Tours began again in 1924 bringing visitors to the foot of the falls, but does not go behind it. There are points along the decks and walk ways where tropical storm-like conditions can be felt with winds upwards of 70 mph raging under the falls. The cave eventually eroded away by rockfalls finally in 1954 and the name of the attraction as a “cave” is more a “underlook” and “overlook” depending on your viewing platform. The platforms are removed every winter to avoid damage by ice fall, and are not bolted into the rocks, but rather wedged into the crevices.

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The Power Portal of Niagara Falls

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The Power Portal
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

the Power Portal resides on Goat Island where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla rests. Nicola Tesla was the inventor whose patents for the AC induction motor and other devices for AC power transmission made harnessing the falls power possible. Along this portal and the Niagara River are walking paths with views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. These are nestled within the Niagara Falls State Park just in front of the Cave of the Winds.

    “The construction of larger and more efficient electric generating stations at Niagara made the original Adams plant obsolete. It has been demolished … the main entrance to this first powerhouse with the legended Indian medallion by Frederick McMonnies in the Fan Arch above the doorway was taken down piece by piece and re-erected here. The cost of materials was met by subscription from interested corporations, individuals and associations. The site was made available by the Niagara Frontier state park commission. On a voluntary basis, the builder’s association of Niagara Falls furnished equipment and administration, perhaps the greatest contribution was from the individual members of the Niagara Falls building trades council who donated their time and skill on their days off to make the re-erection of this memorial possible. ” ~ placque on the power portal, Goat Island, Niagara Falls State Park, New York.

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Niagara River

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Niagara River

A massive river that flows between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie for approximately 35 miles in length. It is home to the famous “Niagara Falls” both on the U.S. and Canadian sides. It is dotted with falls, whirlpools, and rapids along its course. There are also several islands along the run of the river: The two largest and most popular are the Navy Island and the Grand Island. Other popular ones include Goat Island, Luna Island, and Squaw Island. The river forms the border between Ontario, Canada and New York, USA. Many legends amiss around the river, as does its name origin. An Iroquois belief is it was named after a branch of the Neutral Confederacy called the “Niagagarega” in the late 17th century. Others state it was named after the Iroquois village “Ongniaahra” or “point of land cut in two”. Today the river is dotted with, especially within the Falls area, hydroelectric power stations. The two most famous of which is the Sir Adam Beck Hydro-electric Power Station in Canada and the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant in the U.S.A. It was America’s first waterway to harness large scale hydro-electricity. Ships coming down the Niagara River use the Welland Canal of the Saint Lawrence Seaway to bypass the Falls. The Falls drop over 325 feet along its gorge fallway. It has two tributaries – the Welland River and Tonawanda Creek which were adapted into Canals for ship traffic such as the Erie Canal and the Welland Canal. The first European exploits of the area begin in the 17th century with French explorer Father Louis Hennepin published in the 1698 “A New Discovery of a Vast Country in America”. Some of the first railways built in America were built along this river, including the inclined wooden tramway built by John Montresor in 1764 called “The Cradles” and “The Old Lewiston Incline”. The River has seen its share of battles and wars, including ones between Fort Niagara (U.S.) and Ft. George (Canada) during the French and Indian War, American Revolution, Battle of Queenston Heights, and War of 1812. It was also very important during the American Civil War as a point where slaves crossed via the Underground Railway to Canada.

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Berkeley Springs State Park, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

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Berkeley Springs State Park
Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Located in the heart of downtown and main street Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is a magnificent state park based on the town’s historic mineral spa. Since pre-contact, the waters were visited for their magical, medicinal, and restorative powers. Known to cure and heal digestive disorders, stress, skin disorders, and depression. After contact and colonization of the Americas they were popular because George Washington spent five weeks bathing in them. It is the only state-run spa in the United States and operates under the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Originally the site of a 1750’s health resort, they were taken over Lord Fairfax in 1776, giving birth to the Roman bathhouses. The spring is a cool one, at a constant temperature of 74.3 degrees, originating from the Oriskany Ridgeley sandstone of Warm Springs Ridge flowing with significant amounts of sulphates, nitrates, and carbonates, especially magnesium carbonates upwards of 2,000 US gallons (2,800 to 7,600 L) per minute. Common for bathers to come and visit often as well as visitors filling up their water containers.

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Bottomless Lakes State Park (Roswell, NM)

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Bottomless Lakes State Park
* Roswell, New Mexico, USA *

Our swimming hole playground while living in Roswell, New Mexico – Bottomless Lakes provided much cooling off during the hot and dry summers of the desert. Only Fifteen miles from Roswell, the Lakes are Located along the Pecos River, and are a series of natural caves and sinkholes forming lakes used for recreation. The parks were established in 1933 and was the first State Park composed in New Mexico. There are nine small deep lakes along the escarpment of the Pecos River Valley that represents the remains of an ancient limestone reef. Caves formed within this limestone and eventually collapsed via erosion creating sinkholes or “cenotes” as round circular lakes or swimming holes. One of the largest lakes is Lea Lake and Lazy Lagoon, providing a large sandy shoreline that outdoor recreational visitors can use for picnicking, camping, outdoor sports, and swimming. Lazy Lagoon is the largest of the lakes and spans over 26 acres as a single lake but is made up of three interconnected sink holes. The lagoon is level with the salt flats which gives it an appearance of being very shallow, where in contrast, it is actually quite deep – over 90 feet deep. As opposed to the old days, Lea Lake is the only lake in which swimming is allowed, due to accidents that occurred in the others, especially Devil’s Inkwell.

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The shallowest is Pasture Lake with a depth of 18 feet and a surface of .76 acres. The deepest are Lea Lake (90 feet deep – only one that allows swimming) and Lazy Lagoon (90 feet/ 26 acres). The smallest of the lakes, is the darkest, known for its color, steep sides, and algae growth, called “the Devil’s Inkwell” and is approximately .36 of an acre. Figure 8 Lake is actually two lakes separated by a thin beach that seasonally gets covered making it look like one lake at times. The circular shapes connecting create the figure 8 symbol. Cottonwood Lake is 30 feet deep, and Mirror Lake at 50 feet. The Lakes are fed by underground streams and aquifers perculating through the rocks up into the catchment holes. The lakes are home to various endangered species and all of the park’s lakes are protected. The four known endangered species found at the park are the Cricket Frog, Eastern Barking Frog, Rainwater Killifish, and the Pecos Pupfish. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley and Leaf McGowan.

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Gibraltar Falls, ACT, Australia

Gibraltar Falls
* Corin Road * Namadgi National Park * +61 02 6207 2900 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia *

One of the first waterfalls that I had a chance to see in Australia as accompanied by my travel mate Bluey Bee Fabbo. A nice calm overcast day, we ventured outskirts of Canberra to find this charming little falls which is pretty close to the city. Easy to find, one drives out of Canberra southwest 45 kilomenters, along highway 5 – “Tidbinbilla Road”, roughly a half hour drive turning off at the sign pointing the way to the Falls within the Gibraltar Creek Pine Forest south off Corin Road. Park and take the well-marked footpath down to the falls. With warnings of steep cliffs abound, we kept to the trail, until the end of the path dictated (as everyone else was venturing over) to experience the waters ourselves. Now, being a world traveller and having seen some of the best falls around the world, I wasn’t that impressed. It also seems probable that the falls are more spectacular after a good hearty rainfall, even though it has been deemed the largest waterfall in the ACT. The falls cascade 50 meters down into a 800 meter granite walled gorge feeding the headwaters of Gibraltar Creek.

Historically, the falls and area was of special interest to the Australian Aborigine. Archaeological finds have shown habitation patterns near the falls including rockshelters, axes, lithics, and grinding grooves. The area was first settled by white westerners in the 1890’s. The first recorded white settlers were the Woods family who named the area “Gibraltar Creek”. It wasn’t until the 1960’s with the establishment of a station for the Corin Dam Road that the location found much foot traffic. Environmentally, the falls are home to a rare species of dragonfly called the Waterfall Redspot.

Atop in the parking lot are restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, amenities, first aid equipment, and gas barbeque grills. There are more picnic tables and areas, as well as camping, further into the woods reserves. The footpath takes one to a couple lookouts for viewing the falls, though the best way to photograph the falls is to wander off path (not recommended but seems something that everyone who visits does).

I found the waterfall quaint, and would be a picnic spot I would frequent often if I lived in Canberra. Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited/Reviewed by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan with Bluey Bee Fabbo on April 25, 2011.

For more information, recommended readings, and photographs ~
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Dockweiler Beach State Park

Dockweiler Beach State Park
Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, California

Right alongside LAX: Los Angeles International Airport is a popular beach known as “Dockweiler State Beach”. Part of this beach is directly under the flight path of the airport and therefore has become a popular spot to watch planes land and take off. It is also a popular location for training people to hang-glide.It is also one of the very few beaches in Los Angeles were beach bonfires are permitted. Adjacent to El Segundo and connected to Playa del Rey, this can become a very popular beach for picnics, summer outings, etc. In between the beach and the airport is the ghost town of Palisades del Rey.

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Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Mount Pisgah Arboretum
* http://www.mountpisgaharboretum.org/ * 34901 Frank Parrish Rd. * Eugene, OR 97405 * mtpisgah@efn.org *

The Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden has always been a very sacred place in my heart. No wonder why I feel so home at the Park when my tribes of Faeries have begun to throw their infamous Faerieworlds festival on said location. My first visit to Mt. Pisgah was back in 1993 when I first moved to Eugene, Oregon. My friend Danae, who lived on a house whose property nestled up to the Arboretum’s gorgeous lands, was operating a Church of Worlds Nest there. As I had started up the Ancient Forests Protogrove of ADF we combined efforts, celebrations, and ceremonies at the Arboretum lands and hilltops, Spencer and Skinner Buttes. I went hiking weekly through this amazing botanical garden with various friends including Hyko, my girlfriend at the time Linda, and my good friends Jennifer and Rachel. I took my daughter on those trails for many a fascinating hike. There has never been any one botanical garden that was that magical and that special to me. The magical Druid rites atop the hills were very sacred, very special. The Mount Pisgah Arboretum consists of 209 acres of a non-profit “Friends of Mount Pisgah” arboretum and botanical garden that is located within the 2,300 acre Howard Buford Recreation Area located along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and the slopes of Mount Pisgah just south of Eugene and Springfield Oregon. Admission to the park is free. The Arboretum was founded in 1973 and quickly constructed over 7 miles of hiking and nature trails, riparian meadows, evergreen forests, a rare preserved oak savanna, wildflower meadows, a water garden, wooded picnic area, restrooms, over 23 bridges, planting, removal of invasive species, and publication of their newsletters. They began holding Mushroom and Wildflower shows in 1981 and established a staff shortly after. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and propogate Pacific Northwest plant communities, education, and recreation. Mt Pisgah is home to well over 67 families / 231 genera / and 339 plant species of native mosses, shrubs, ferns, plants, and wildflowers. The park is also a nature sanctuary for numerous wildlife such as the endangered Western Pond Turtle, the sensitive Red-Legged Frog, tree frogs, bats, deer, coyote, foxes, small mammals, lizards, Gopher and garter snakes. Numerous birds of raptors, waterfowl, migratory and resident songbirds are abundant. This amazing place will always be dear to my heart. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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American Stonehenge

American Stonehenge
Maryhill, Washington * Contact: Maryhill Museum of Art * 35 Maryhill Museum Drive * Goldendale, Washington 98620 * 509-773-3733 *
by Thomas Baurley

America has several Stonehenges – replicas of the infamous original from the British Isles. The American Stonehenge at Maryhill is one of the most popular sitting atop a lonely bluff overlooking the town of Maryhill, Washington and the length of the Columbia River. It is a full-size identical replica astronomically aligned of the ancient monument of “Stonehenge” in England. It serves as a replica for those who died in World War I and was built by the road engineer, Sam Hill from 1918-1930. It took him 12 years to perfect the monument, dedicating it on July 4, 1918 and completing it in 1929. He passed away shortly after its completion and was buried at the base of bluff below the monument in a difficult to reach location so that he’d be left alone by the tourists he expected to come see his monument. Hill originally built the monument after being mistakenly informed that the original Stonehenge was used for sacrifice. He wanted to symbolize how humanity was still being sacrificed to the God of War. His monument can be seen ominously looming on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River and easily seen by all passerby’s on U.S. Highway 97.

    The dedication plague at the monument reads:
    “In memory of the soldiers of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in the hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death can alone quench.”

Sam Hill also built a mansion nearby that hosts the Maryhill Museum of Art holding monuments of the Klickitat County soldiers who died in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. It is also the very first monument in the United States to be constructed to honor the dead of World War I. The altar stone is aligned with the sunrise on the Summer Solstice. There is no admission to the Memorial.

American Stonehenge and the Columbia River Valley, Washington.  11/16/15. Chronicles 20: Exploring Oregon/Idaho border lands. October-November 2015. Photographs by Eadaoin and Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Reviews: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  Chronicle tales: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=16903www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/  American Stonehenge: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=7629 Columbia River http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=1151
American Stonehenge and the Columbia River Valley, Washington. 11/16/15. Chronicles 20: Exploring Oregon/Idaho border lands. October-November 2015. Photographs by Eadaoin and Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Technogypsie Productions. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Reviews: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. Chronicle tales: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=16903www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/
American Stonehenge: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=7629
Columbia River http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=1151

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The Curraugh

The Curraugh
Near Kildare and Naas, Ireland

It is said that in 480 C.E. Saint Brighid came to the area to found a monastery in Kildare and had approached the King of Leinster and asked for land for the poor and on to which to build it. He laughed a her and told her that if she lay out her cloak, whatever space the cloak covers is hers to keep. She laid out her magical cloak and thus claimed almost 5,000 acres of land in County Kildare which is known as “The Curraugh” (a.k.a. “An Currach”). It is a flat open plain that is common land for the Irish. It is used for Army maneuvers, Irish Horse breeding / training, horse racing, sheep herding, and public recreation. Ireland’s largest Fen, the Pollardstown Fen is also located here. There are many rare species of plants that grow on the Curraugh so it is a hot spot for botanists and ecologists. The Curraugh also has a sandy soil that was formed after an esker deposited a sand load on it thereby creating excellent drainage characteristics. In early Irish history, the Curraugh was a central point for legends and lore for thousands of years. The hill north is called the “Almhain” or “Hill of Allen” where the mythical Fianna used as a meeting place. The Fenian tales talk of much mythology here. The Curraugh is littered with prehistoric ruins, ring burial-mounds, and the Race of the Black Pig which may have been an ancient cattleway. In 1234 C.E. Richard Marshal, the 3rd Earl of Pembroke lost a battle here against a group of men loyal to King Henry III of England, he was wounded, and died at his castle at Kilkenny the same year. The Curraugh was also a common site for the mustering of the armies of the Pale. They held a Rebellion in 1798 here that resulted in a massacre of 350 unarmed United Irishmen at Gibbet Rath. This location is now where the Curraugh Camp is hosted where the Irish Defense Forces train. On March 20, 1914 the Curraugh Camp saw an incident called the “Curragh Mutiny” while the Camp was the main base for the British Army in Ireland. As in 1912 the Liberal coalition British governmen of H. H. Asquith had just introduced the Third Home Rule Bill for Ireland which proposed the creation of an autonomous Irish Parliament in Dublin. Numerous Unionists objected to the inclusion of potential rule by the proposed Dublin Parliament and founded the Ulster Volunteers paramilitary group in 1912 to fight against the British government if necessary on this point. In 1913, Lord French and Henry Hughes Wilson with a number of senior officers expressed concerns to the government that the British Army would find it difficult to act against the Volunteers since they were all there to defend the British Empire. To combat this the Curraugh base commander Sir Arthur Paget was ordered by London’s War Office in March 1914 to start preparations to move troops to Ulster in order to deal with any violence there that might break out by occupying governmenet buildings and to repel any assaults by the Ulster Volunteers. He misinterpreted his orders from a precautionary deployment to meaning an immediate order to march against the Ulstermen. At this point he offered his officers the choice of resignation rather than fighting this battle. 57 out of 70 of the Officers, mostly Irish unionists resigned or accept dismissal rather than enforce the Home Rule Act of 1914. When Paget reported this to London. This caused Asquith’s Liberal Government to back down claiming an honest misunderstanding and the men were reinstated and the Army would not be used to enforce the Home Rule Act. A month later, the Northern Irish Ulster Volunteers covertly landed about 24,000 rifles at night in the “Larne gun-running” incident without discovery or arrest. This event led to Unionist confidence and the growing Irish separatist movement convincing nationalists they wouldn’t have Army support in Ireland which in turn increased nationalist support for the Irish Volunteers and a growing concern for an Irish Civil War. The Home Rule Act was dropped after the start of World War I. The plains were also used to film the battle scenes in the film “Braveheart”. A famous Irish song called “The Curraugh of Kildare” is dedicated to the plains.

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Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle
* A2 Coast Road Portrush * BT57 8SX * County Antrim, Northern Ireland * Tel: 44-28-7082-3333 *

Dunluce a.k.a. Dun Lios, means “Strong Fort” in Irish. One of Ireland’s infamous settings for fantasy tales, movies, or depictions – Dunluce ruins contrast with awe-inspiring grandeur with the precipitous basaltic rock it stands upon over the Northern Sea. It is separated from the mainland by a deep chasm that is crossed by means of a narrow bridge and beneath the castle is a long cave that served great strategic importance as an escape to the Sea. It is believed that the nomadic boatmen who first inhabited this area in 7,000 B.C.E. must have seen this crag from which the castle now sits and may have ventured into the cavern beneath it back in the day. It is believed that early Christians and Vikings were attracted to this Crag and had an earlier Irish fort placed here before Dunluce was constructed. With the Normans arrival, it is believed, that this Crag was first crowned with a castle. There are legends of inhabitation of this area by giants, ghosts, and banshees as well. Believed to have been used as a fort during Early Christianity in the area by evidence of the souterrain that survives beneath the current ruins. The Castle is mentioned as part of the de Burgo manor of Dunseverick in the early 14th century. Richard de Burgh, the Earl of Ulster, was the first to build this castle on the Crag. It was a common place to fall under siege as many desired it. First in the hands of the MacQuillin family in 1513 when the two large drum towers were believed to have been built. The Castle then became the home of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland. Most of the ruin remains that are left standing were built by Sorley Boy McDonnell (1505-1589) and his family, the 1st and 2nd Earls of Antrim – who seized the castle in 1558 after the death of his brother Colla who married the daughter of the McQuillan chief in 1544 even though he had been evicted from the Manor twice before (1565 and 1584). He took back the castle by force with artillery in 1584 and hauled his comrades up the cliff in a basket. He was officially appointed Constable of Dunluce by the Queen in 1586. Damages done by the 1584 siege. In 1588 when the Spanish Armada treasure ship – The Girona – wrecked off the Giant’s Causeway in a storm – the treasures were salvaged by Sorley Boy who utilized the prizes to rebuild and repair the castle. Repairs were so extensive they lasted past Sorley Boy’s death in 1589 with additions such as the turreted gatehouse in Scottish manner, cannon ports in the curtain wall where eventually the Girona’s cannons were placed (from the Spanish Armada ship 1588). Somewhere around the 1560’s the north-facing Italianate loggia behind the south curtain was added. In 1613 Mac Donnell’s granddaughter Rose was born in the Castle. In 1639 a terrible tragedy befell the castle when the lower yard, the kitchen, and most of the staff saw a collapse into the sea. The Castle owner’s wife apparently after that point refused to live in the Castle any longer. The mainland court was believed to be built by Lady Catherine to replace the lower yard after parts of it fell into the sea. After Royalist second Earl was arrested at Dunluce in 1642, the family ceased to reside at Dunluce Castle, after which it fell into decay until 1928 when it was transferred to the State for preservation. Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690 following the Battle of the Boyne. In 1973 the castle appeared on the inner gate fold of the Led Zeppelin album “Houses of the Holy”. It was referenced in the comedy “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when they travel back into time to meet Socrates. In 2001, the castle appeared in Jackie Chan’s “The Medallion” as the villain’s lair. It is now in care of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and a Monument in State Care.
The Cave beneath has been called the “Mermaid’s Cave” above it is the “wishing well” (down and up the path). Castle is open year round from at least 10 am until 5 pm with later hours in the summer.

The castle is believed to be haunted by many spirits. Some say former servants roam the halls (those who died during a severe winter storm in 1639 when part of the castle fell into the sea), others say that one of the MacQuillan’s daughters can be seen on occasion (she tried to elope to Peter Carey, complete with black coat and purple scarf, when he was hung by Sorley Boy MacDonnell (the local chieftain)), while others report seeing an apparition of an English constable. Inland, below the castle, is the Royal Protrush Golf Club’s main course (known to have hosted the only British Open golf championship (outside of Britain and Scotland)) called “Dunluce links” is said to be frequented by fairway fanatics involving the battles between the Vikings and local Irish tribes during the 12th century. The sandhills on the East Strand Portrush were called the “War Hollow” because it was the location where ambushes of Norsemen returning with plunder after capturing Dunluce Castle took place, and Magus, the King of Norway, was beheaded there and the treasures supposedly still buried down below. (myths as told by http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com/portals/2/itineraries/ccritinerary-myths.pdf)

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Snowshoeing at Mueller State Park (Colorado)


Mueller State Park, Colorado

Snow-Shoeing at Mueller State Park, Colorado
Mueller State Park, Colorado
http://parks.state.co.us/parks/mueller/

Just down the road from the infamous mining and gambling town of Cripple Creek as well as ‘Divide’ Colorado is a 5,112 acre tract Colorado State Park called “Mueller State Park”. This wonderful Park boasts over 55 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and snoe showing. THe Park is also notorious for horseback riding, camping year-round, hunting, snow-shoeing, sledding, snowtubing, and cross country skiing. Mueller is home to the black bear, eagles, hawks, Bighorn Sheep, and Elk amongst many other critters. The park has over 132 campsites, 16 of which are open for winter camping. There are also 3 cabins for rent year-round. Pets are welcomed in the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along the park’s roads, but not on the hiking trails. Average park elevation is 9,600 feet above sea level. All trails are for hiking and snow shoeing, while there are 27 miles available for horseback riding and 19 miles for mountain biking. Stunning views.

I visited this park on March 28th (2010) for my 2nd day of my virgin snow shoeing experience and found this Park and its trails, even in March, to be most excellent for snow sports especially snow shoeing. I took a nice 3 mile jaunt down Elk Meadow and very pleased with the scenery, trail, and terrain. The snow and trail was perfect. I will definitely be back. Snow shoeing is a type of footwear for walking over snow by distributing equally a person’s weight so one doesn’t sink into the snow. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


Mueller State Park, Colorado

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Mueller State Park (Colorado)


Mueller State Park, Colorado

Mueller State Park, Colorado
http://parks.state.co.us/parks/mueller/

Just down the road from the infamous mining and gambling town of Cripple Creek as well as ‘Divide’ Colorado is a 5,112 acre tract Colorado State Park called “Mueller State Park”. This wonderful Park boasts over 55 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and snoe showing. THe Park is also notorious for horseback riding, camping year-round, hunting, snow-shoeing, sledding, snowtubing, and cross country skiing. Mueller is home to the black bear, eagles, hawks, Bighorn Sheep, and Elk amongst many other critters. The park has over 132 campsites, 16 of which are open for winter camping. There are also 3 cabins for rent year-round. Pets are welcomed in the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along the park’s roads, but not on the hiking trails. Average park elevation is 9,600 feet above sea level. All trails are for hiking and snow shoeing, while there are 27 miles available for horseback riding and 19 miles for mountain biking. Stunning views. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.


Mueller State Park, Colorado


Mueller State Park, Colorado

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Snowshoeing at Cheyenne Mountain State Park


Snow-Shoeing Cheyenne Mountain

Snowshoeing at Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Cheyenne Mountain State Park * Highway 115 across from Fort Carson Gate 1 * Colorado Springs, Colorado *
With the late March snowfall we had in our area this last weekend, I decided to try snowshoeing for the first time at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. It was a pleasant time, even though the Colorado warmth vaporized into mud the snow pack I had greeting me for the first 3 miles of the 4-mile Blackmere and Cougar’s Shadow trails I decided upon. Snowfall in the Colorado Springs region is unpredictable and doesn’t usually stick around very long – however, the higher trails of Cheyenne Mountain State Park are definitely workable for snow pack and frequency. Mud is much more a common visitor during the snow months at the park from my experience. Nonetheless, I had a great time. It was my first snow shoe experience and a pleasant time – though I had no idea what a toll my untrained legs would tackle for my virgin experience.

Colorado’s newest State Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park took over the lands of the old JL Ranch that is nestled in the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain right in front of NORAD. It is roughly 1,680 acres large. It was acquired in June of 2000 by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado State parks, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Colorado Lottery, El Paso County, and other local private organizations. It represents protection of one of the last significant open spaces along the southern section of the Colorado Front Range. The environments consist of open space of the eastern flank of Cheyenne Mountain and the borders of Colorado’s plains covering the wide variety of landscape, wildlife, botany, and geology the transitional panorama offers. Wildlife consists of deer, elk, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, foxes, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, red-tailed hawks, and golden eagles. The park first opened in October of 2006 and is currently El Paso county’s only State Park. The Park hosts over 20 miles of trails open to hikers and bikers. Dogs and horses are not permitted since many ground-nesting birds are in the area. The Park has a large information center, gift shop, educational displays, interpretive programs, campgrounds, picnic areas, playgrounds, evening programs, nature hikes, restrooms, and a camp office/store. Overall Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. (Snowshoeing: 3.25 stars out of 5) Snowshoeing on 3/27/2010.


Snow-Shoeing Cougar’s Shadow at Cheyenne Mountain

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Cheyenne Mountain State Park: Turkey Trot, Talon, Sundance Trails


Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Cheyenne Mountain State Park: Talon, Sundance Trail, Turkey Trot
* http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ * Highway 115 across from Fort Carson Gate 1 * Colorado Springs, Colorado *
One of the more popular trails at Colorado’s newest State Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, is a rugged foothills up through the alpine slopes trail starting the ascent of Cheyenne Mountain. These popular trails are known as “Talon” and “Sundance” which weave around each other as they climb upwards. You can take Talon from the parking lot by itself, or weave around a different loop journey with Sundance. Both of these trails have spectacular views of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain. Turkey Trot is a very easy 0.46 mile mostly flat trail that connects Sundance and Talon on the valley floor and is named as such because it’s so easy a turkey could do it. Talon is a 2.64 mile long moderate trail that increasingly gains elevation as it traverses the prairie and scrub oak and then climbs from the foothills and begins its ascent into the alpine slopes of Cheyenne Mountain. Sundance is a loop that weaves in and out of Talon, and is an easy 3.29 mile, mostly flat trail with minor elevation gain – beginning in the prairie dog colonies and prairies, scrub oak foothills, and variable terrain. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited 1/8/2010; 1/10/2010; 1/18/2010.


Sundance

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Talon and Sundance Trails @ Cheyenne Mountain State Park (Colorado)


Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Cheyenne Mountain State Park: Talon & Sundance Trails
* http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ * Highway 115 across from Fort Carson Gate 1 * Colorado Springs, Colorado *
One of the more popular trails at Colorado’s newest State Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, is a rugged foothills up through the alpine slopes trail starting the ascent of Cheyenne Mountain. These popular trail is known as “Talon” and “Sundance” which weave around each other as they climb upwards. You can take Talon from the parking lot by itself, or weave around a different loop journey with Sundance. Both of these trails have spectacular views of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain. Talon is a 2.64 mile long moderate trail that increasingly gains elevation as it traverses the prairie and scrub oak and then climbs from the foothills and begins its ascent into the alpine slopes of Cheyenne Mountain. Sundance is a loop that weaves in and out of Talon, and is an easy 3.29 mile, mostly flat trail with minor elevation gain – beginning in the prairie dog colonies and prairies, scrub oak foothills, and variable terrain. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited 1/8/2010; 1/10/2010; 1/18/2010.


Talon Trail

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Acorn Alley & Bobcat Way Trails @ Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Acorn Alley and Bobcat Way
Hiking / Biking Trails at Cheyenne Mountain State Park * Hwy 115 * Colorado Springs, Colorado * http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ *
( Read About Cheyenne Mountain State Park … Here )
Both of these brush to open range scrubland trails circle the new campgrounds at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Great for small hikes for easy footing and walking with some views of Cheyenne Mountain and the views of NORAD in the distance. Acorn Alley Trail is a small .53 mile hiking/biking trail along a gentle slope on a universally accessible pathway that circles the campground. Bobcat Way Trail is a .40 mile easy, gentle slope trail going through the beginning of the foothills. Both are not too scenic, but are easy walks with occasional sightings of deer and elk. Rating: 2 stars out of 5.

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Cheyenne Mountain State Park (Colorado Springs, Colorado)


Park Information Center

Cheyenne Mountain State Park
* http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ * Highway 115 across from Fort Carson Gate 1 * Colorado Springs, Colorado *
Colorado’s newest State Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park took over the lands of the old JL Ranch that is nestled in the foothills of Cheyenne Mountain right in front of NORAD. It is roughly 1,680 acres large. It was acquired in June of 2000 by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado State parks, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), the Colorado Lottery, El Paso County, and other local private organizations. It represents protection of one of the last significant open spaces along the southern section of the Colorado Front Range. The environments consist of open space of the eastern flank of Cheyenne Mountain and the borders of Colorado’s plains covering the wide variety of landscape, wildlife, botany, and geology the transitional panorama offers. Wildlife consists of deer, elk, mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, foxes, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, red-tailed hawks, and golden eagles. The park first opened in October of 2006 and is currently El Paso county’s only State Park. The Park hosts over 20 miles of trails open to hikers and bikers. Dogs and horses are not permitted since many ground-nesting birds are in the area. The Park has a large information center, gift shop, educational displays, interpretive programs, campgrounds, picnic areas, playgrounds, evening programs, nature hikes, restrooms, and a camp office/store. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited 1/8/2010; 1/10/2010; 1/18/2010.

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