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Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545)

Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545
Originally first published May 9, 2009 by Thomas Baurley

Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.

History and Mythology

Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.

This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.

The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.

Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.

The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “

If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.

The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 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. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes
* http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm *

One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. 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) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Sedona, Arizona

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Sedona, Arizona

* www.visitsedona.com *

The infamous Red Rock Country and New Age capital of Arizona, Sedona is a hotspot for vortexes, hiking, camping, rock climbing, and sightseeing. It is a four seasons playground with venues for tourists, sightseers, new agers, outdoor sports, archaeology, history, art, culture, and high-end shopping. Got some money to blow? its a notorious place for the triple-fold price tag. The amazing pictorial backdrop makes up for that though as you’ll never run out of things to do in this magical wonderland. Red rock monoliths surround the city with picturesque monuments at Coffeepot, Thunder Mountain, and Cathedral, and Oak Creek Canyon. Hiking, Biking, atvs, jeep/hummer excursions, rock climbing, and outdoor sports abound here. First fridays host Sedona’s prominent art galleries with receptions, openings, and demonstrations. Sedona is a very small tourist town with a population of about 10,000 (ca. 2010 census). It is a geological playground with its array of red sandstone formations that draw in photographers from near and far. These red rocks bring in the new-agers, spiritualists, hikers, bikers, and mountain climbers as well. The town was named after Theodore Carlton Schnebly’s wife “Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly” all of the first postmaster family of the area. The first humans to come to the area date from between 11,500 and 9,000 B.C.E. determined by discoveries of Clovis points in Honanki were hunting big game in the area. Pre-historic Archaic people were inhabiting the Verde Valley by 9,000 B.C.E. until 300 C.E. (Common Era) for not fully determined reasons (could have been warfare, droughts, viruses, etc.) They left behind some rock art at Palatki and Honanki to add to the mysterious tale left up to interpretation. The Sinagua entered the Verde Vally about 650 C.E. bringing to the area pottery, basketry, masonry, and architecture. The pueblos, cliff dwellings, and rock art are a major attraction to Archaeologists visiting the area. Honanki, Palatki, Montezuma Well, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma Castle are hot spots for the historian/archaeology tourist. The Sinagua left the area around 1400 C.E. most likely moving to the Hopi mesas in Arizona and the Zuni Pueblos in New Mexico. The Yavapai (arrive 1300 CE) and Apache (1450 CE) moved in from 1300 C.E. to 1450 C.E. (most likely driving out the Sinagua). These tribes were forcibly removed by 1876 C.E. from Euro-American homesteaders and settlers to the San Carlos Indian Reservation 180 miles southeast. The whites marched 1,500 of them during mid-winter losing many along the trail. Survivors were interned, the children sent to Euro-American schools, or orphanages. The populations were intentionally inter-bred out. The first White settler was John J. Thompson who moved to Oak Valley Canyon in 1876 C.E. as ranchers as farmers. They grew alot of peaches and apples in the area. The first post office was established in 1902 C.E. and the area’s population was about 55. By the 1950’s the population reached 155. Vacation homes and retirement centers were set up by the 1950’s. By 1956 the Chapel of the Holy Cross was built rising 250 feet out of a 1,000 foot red rock cliff attracting many spiritualists and New Agers to the area. Hollywood film productions came into the area by the 1970’s attracting more with productions such as Zane Gray’s Call of the Canyon, Kit Carson, Joseph P. Kennedy’s Doomed movie superstar Fred Thomson, many B movie westerns, Hopalong Cassidy, Johnny Guitar, Desert Fury, Blood on the Moon, Angel and the Badman, 3:10 to Yuma, Der Kaiser von Kalifornien (Nazi Western with Adolf Hitler), Stagecoach, Leave Her to Heaven, Broken Arrow, Hollywood Ten, and many other films depicting the area as either Utah, California, Texas, and Canadian border regions. So much film production took place here that it was called “Arizona’s Little Hollywood”. Sedona is home to many festivals including Sedona Bluegrass Festival, Sedona International Film Fest, Sedona Jazz on the Rocks, Sedona Marathon, Chamber Music Sedona, GumptionFest, NORAZ poets,and the Sedona Miracle Annual Charity Fundraiser. A signature stamp New Age tourist industry broke out in Sedona in 1987 during the Harmonic Convergence event put on by Jose Arguelles. Since then, New Agers have been converging on the area in increasing droves each year. Urban myths and spiritualist theory claim spiritual vortexes are centered in the Red Rock paradise most notably at Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, and Boynton Canyon. Lots of new age shops, businesses, and healing setups are established in the area since.

In June of 2006 a wildfire broke in the area devastating over 4,300 acres on Brins Mesa, Wilson Mountain, and Oak Creek Canyon with over 6 million in damages to Sedona.

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Roswell Spring Hill Zoo

photos 09/11/12 125-145


Spring Hill Zoo, Roswell, New Mexico

Spring Hill Zoo
* 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203 *505-624-6760 *

Spending elementary, middle, and high school in Roswell, this was our local “Disneyland” outside of Carlsbad Caverns. A nice sized park for picnicking and outdoor activities, a free zoo, a petting zoo, duck ponds, cycling/jogging/walking trails, and green space. A five mile hard surface recreational trail that runs along the Spring River from west to east. The zoo is the only one of its kind and the only free zoo available in New Mexico. It also has its own youth fishing lake (age 15 and younger only can fish). There is an antique carousel and miniature train that runs through the park. The zoo features a prairie dog town, longhorn ranch, and children’s petting zoo. There are also exhibits of native and exotic animals, birds, and critters including bobcats, foxes, bison, owls, raccoons, antelope, deer, mountain lions, and black bear. Fun filled for children, its quite dusty and hot to visit. On more than once when I’ve visited, I’ve found it a bit unsanitary which is sad as I don’t remember it being that way. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Congaree National Park (Columbia, South Carolina)

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Congaree National Park
100 National Park Road, Hopkins, SC 29061 * Phone: (803) 783-4241 * (outside of Columbia, South Carolina) * http://www.nps.gov/cong/ *

One of the natural attractions to Columbia, South Carolina is the infamous Congaree National Park which preserves the largest tract of old growth bottom land hardwood forest that remains left in the United States. The Park is nicknamed the “Home of Champions” for its age-old hardwood trees. The park offers views of an astonishing bio-diversity along the waters from the Congaree river and the Wateree rivers throughout their flood plains. The park consists of just over 26,500 acres of national park designated as such since 2003 for some of the tallest trees leftin the Eastern United States. The Congaree river flows through the park which is dotted with wooden walkways for hikers, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts to come enjoy the woodlands and not get mucked up in the swamps and to protect the environment which is 57 percent designated wilderness area. The Park declares itself a National Designated Wilderness Area, an International Biosphere Reserve, National Natural Landmark, and a Globally Important Bird area. The park offers primitive campsites (for free), hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching activities. The park is inhabited by numerous wildlife ranging from a variety of fish such as bowfin, largemouth bass, panfish, and catfish onwards to alligators, snakes, feral dogs, coyotes, armadillos, turkeys, bobcat, deer, feral pigs, turtles, opossum, raccoon, and a plethera of different bird species. The Park is notable for its Bald Cypress, the tallest/largest Loblolly Pines alive today, and hardwood tree spectrum. Some of its more famous hiking trails are the Weston Lake Loop Trail (4.6 miles), Oakridge Trail (7.5 miles), King Snake Trail (11.1 miles), and the Bluff Trail (.7 miles). The Park is home to the Harry Hampton Visitor’s Center, elevated 2.4 miles of boarded walkways, and a 20 mile long marked canoe trail.

Home of a variety of plants and animals. Some researched/photographed by us as follows:

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Bittangabee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest

Bittangee Bay/Ben Boyd National Forest
New South Wales, Australia

A refreshing break from the metropolis of Melbourne, me and my travel mate Sir Bluey, headed off for some camping along the infamous “Bittangee Bay” in the Ben Boyd National Forest. A unpaved dirt road led us to this amazing campground overlooking Australia’s rugged South Coast. In fact, we had quite an adventure with it that you can read about here. This small picturesque bay is located on a remote rugged coastline just south of Eden in New South Wales of Australia and is one of the few safe harbours in the area between Twofold Bay, Mallacoota Inlet, and Eden making it a popular night stopover for boaters travelling inbetween for the night. The campground is rugged as well to match the Bay in its entirety. The campground is serviced by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Bay is also home to the “Bittangabee Bay Ruins” which the campground is above. The Bay and the camping area was once used by the Yuin Nation and the Thaua people as a important camping and teaching grounds for indigenous “secret business” and was seen as a “men’s area”. On the other side of Green Cape to Bittangabee Bay was believed to be the resting place of the Rainbow Serpent. They utilized the area for over 6,000 years until the Europeans started taking over the bay for construction of the lighthouse, fishing, and industry. At this time, the Bay was known as “Pertangerbee” and by European occupation with constructions of the the storehouse in 1844, was later called “Bittangee Bay”. The Campground also has a nice hiking trail to the Green Cape lighthouse as well as down along the beach of the Bay. Lots of wildlife in the area – our 24 hour visit blessed us with seeing kangaroo, wallabee, wombats, and oppossums. Highly recommended place to camp. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Merritt’s Nature Track, Thredbo, Australia

Merritt’s Nature Track
* Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia * http://www.wildwalks.com/bushwalking-and-hiking-in-nsw/kosciuszko-np-south/merrits-nature-track.html *

Just from the heart of Thredbo lies a splendid little hiking trail called “Merritts Nature Track” which works its way up the skiing and bobsledding trails of Mt. Kosciuszko. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to hike the trail from Thredbo Village and runs about 3.7 km through the Kosciuszko National Park. It consists of a 64 meter climb exploring the native bushland around the ski resort and slopes. You can hike it from the village up along the Kosciuszko Express chairlift line up the hill, near the Eagles Nest restaurant, winding through a snow gum forest, following ski runs and bush tracks back down the hill. It also walks alongside parts of the popular Thredbo Bobsled tubes and goes up around the back of the village’s tennis courts. Nice hike. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.

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Sandymount Strand

Sandymount Strand Beach
* Sandymount D4, Ireland * 01 6617297 * County Dublin, Dublin, Ireland *

Sandymount Strand a.k.a. “Dumhach Thr” is just a short 3 km walk from downtown Dublin. It is a large strand on the east coast of Ireland adjacent to the village and suburb of Sandymount in Dublin. This is a premiere location of the south side of Dublin Bay and is great for walking but not good for swimming. It’s gradual slopes make the water too shallow to swim near the shoreline. In fact the tide is so tricky that cars and people sometimes get trapped by the incoming tide as it sneaks up on you and has gotten the nickname of “Cockle Lake”. In 1883 swimming baths were built measuring 40×40 meters with a 75 meter pier added in 1884 hosting a bandstand halfway along it and was a commonplace for summer concerts. Unfortunately by 1920 the pier had deteriorated and had to be demolished and now lay in ruins. An old defense structure called Martello tower remains that was built to warn of an invasion by Napoleon. This was once converted to a popular cafe in the 60’s, then attempted into a restaurant that never opened and leaving a modified window in its seaward side. This strand is also the location for James Joyce in Ulysses referring to Cock lake making it one of the most famous beaches in Irish fiction where young Gertie lifts her skirt as Bloom pleasures himself and was the section that caused the book to be banned in the USA for alleged obscenity. The Strand stretches from Irishtown through Sandymount and Merrion and on to Booterstown. It is a shallow tidal mudflat that attracts thousands of birds especially during winter and becomes a prime location for birdwatching. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

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Talon & Talon North Trails @ Cheyenne Mountain State Park (Colorado Springs, Colorado)


Early May on the Talon Trail – Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Early May on the Talon & Talon North Trails @ Cheyenne Mountain State Park
* http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ * Highway 115 across from Fort Carson Gate 1 * Colorado Springs, Colorado * [ Review of Cheyenne Mountain State Park ] * [ Talon & Sundance Trail ] * [ Turkey Trot / Sundance / Talon ] *
One of the more popular trails at Colorados newest State Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, is a rugged foothills up through the alpine slopes trail starting the ascent of Cheyenne Mountain. These trails are known as “Talon”, “Talon North”, and “Talon South”. You can take Talon from the parking lot by itself, or weave around a different loop journey with Sundance and re-connect with Talon before it slopes steeply up to connect with Talon North and Talon South. These trails have spectacular views of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain as well as a foot journey along some rugged rock outbreaks and spines of the Cheyenne Mountain foothills and are amongst the highest and most western-accessible (at this time) trails in the Park. Talon is a 2.64 mile long (one way) [5.3 miles round trip] 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. Talon North begins close to the end of Talon Trail for a loop around to Talon’s end before one hikes back another 2.64 miles. Talon North is a 1.6 mile moderate trail with much elevation gain with rocky outbreaks and historic remains along the spire of the break. Talon South takes a different loop, also ending at the end of Talon looping around as a .98 mile moderate trail with a gentle slope and lush vegetation as it weaves through the alpine cool forest.

An early May hike along Talon and Talon North provided many wildlife encounters of prairie dogs, first sightings of rattlesnakes (saw three different ones along the trail along different parts of lower Talon), and budding foliage as Spring takes hold. Granted this hike was just days before Colorado Springs’ additional Spring snowfall – but the wildlife is awake and thriving.


Early May on the Talon Trail – Cheyenne Mountain State Park

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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.

Colorados 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 Colorados 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 countys 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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7.15.09: Cronicles of STL: Chapter 5: ‘Journey to Paonia’


[ Back to Chapter 4: Stranded? ]   [ Chapter 5: Paonia Bound ]   [ Chapter 6: Dreamtime, Day 1 ]

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: The 15th of Quintilis (Julius Caesar’s “July”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era


“It was a short day in the laboratory working on maps. I had overworked the last few days so was able to get away with doing a half day. Shortly after, I headed back to my mountain cottage strapping, binding, and packaging up my Matrix CUV vardo that would be taking me to the Western slopes of the Rockies … on some high desert mesa-tops just outside of Paonia, Colorado. Tina and her partner Heather arrived shortly after 3 pm. We packed into our cars and headed south on Highway 115 to 50 where we would slowly crawl across the Rocky Mountains through Canon City, Salida, and Durango. Many beautiful amazing lakes along the way welcomed us as well as panoramic mountain vistas …. it ot pretty problematic as we creeped through the canyons and had to ditch deer in the roadway in the pitch dark. We eventually got to Paonia late at night around 10 pm. Luckily we were able to reach David who guided us to find the staff/merchant/entertainment entrance and he blessed us with entry. There were a couple of people awaiting to get in as well, and I was pleased to find my amazing kindred spirit – the lovely Pacific Northwest mermaid Wendy. Was soooo wonderful to see her. I also quickly met her lovely road partner Dana. We slowly crawl down the bumpy gravel mountain road to where we were guided as the merchant area … behind the guideline, we parked and set up our sleeping tents in the dark. Exhausted. Turned in early as would need to set up the vending/bodypaint tent the next day. Clear skies above, I slept under the stars with the rain flap open – amazing views of the stars above and the dry arid high desert enchantment, I slept like a baby. Good and high energy all around. I was very happy to be there. ”

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Snoqualmie Falls (North Bend, Washington)



Snoqualmie Falls
* Post Office Box 1957 * Snoqualmie, WA 98065 * Phone 425-985-6906 * http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/ *
One of Washington’s most famous attractions is Snoqualmie Falls, an enormous 268 ft waterfall that falls between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington. Fed by the Snoqualmie River, the falls have been diverted into power plants powering the local area. The falls get over 1.5 million visitors each year where there is a two acre park, observation deck, gift shop, and lodge. To the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Falls is a traditional burial site where “the First Woman and First Man were created by Moon the Transformer and where prayers are carried up to the Creator by g reat mists that rise from the powerful flow”. The mists that rise from the base of the waterfall are said to serve to connect heaven and earth. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.




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6/28/09: Gypsy Nomads and Lunar Fire at Owsleys (Denver)

Lunar Fire and Gypsy Nomads @ Owsley’s on 6/29/09
* 2151 Lawrence Street, Denver, Colorado * 303-296-2844 *
Right in Five Points is a off-center warehouse bar that offers great entertainment. Plenty of parking and a back patio it’s a thriving little concert hall. At first I didn’t think the stage and dancefloor could be spacious enough for the likes of Lunar Fire, but it seemed to work very well. I like the space. First up was the amazing Gypsy Nomads from New York. Amazing rhythmn and drumming. Seeing this band was a wonderful treat. Followed by the stars of the Evening, Lunar Fire with their amazing lyrics, music, mesmerizing dances and theater, spinning cloth, acrobatics, spinning, and ritual. Lunar Fire is by far my favorite band in the state of Colorado. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

Review of the Gypsy Nomads 6/28/09

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Bridal Veil Falls (Telluride, Colorado)


Bridal Veil Falls
Telluride, Colorado

One of the spectacular beauties of Telluride are the stunning Bridal Veil Falls. A towering water fall dropping 365 feet at the end of the box canyon overlooking Telluride. Hiking and off road trails pass by the falls and there resides a power plant at its top. During the winter the frozen falls create a otherworldly art form. Atop the falls is a house owned by Eric Jacobson who restored the power plant. This plant provides for over 25 percent of Telluride’s need for energy. In the 1990s the falls were opened to ice climbers but since it regained private property status again that changed. The area around the falls is subject to avalanche and environmental conditions. Reaching the top can be challenging at times. The falls are awe inspiring and definitely a great viewpoint. On our 5/31/09 visit, we were unable to make it up to them and could only admire Bridal Veils from afar, but that was far worth the inspiration. Someday I hope to climb up to them and enjoy close-up.




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Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado
Telluride is a great little mountainous ski-resort village that was once a mining town. Population of 2,221 in 2000. Telluride was a former silver mining camp on the san Miguel River in the San Juan Mountains nestled in a box canyon of the Four Corners region of Colorado with steep forested mountains and cliffs surrounding the town. Elevation 8,750 feet. At the head of the canyon is the amazing Bridal Veil Falls and speckled all along the valley are numerous weathered ruins of old mines and operations. Telluride offers a free gondola that you can take up to the mountain-tops for a great panoramic view of the valley. Telluride is notoriously known for its pop culture as it has been the backdrop for several tv commercials, home to an international film festival, and referred to in songs by Glenn Frey, Kate Wolf, Tim McGraw, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Josh Gracin, and in an essay by Edward Abbey. Hotspot of activity for skiiers and hikers, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Only one road reaches the town year round with two off-road routes for mid summer. Gold was first discovered in the region in 1858. The first claim was made by John Fallon in the Marshal Basin above Telluride. This sparked settling the area in 1878 with the formation of the town. Originally called “Columbia” but later changed to Telluride after one of the minerals found in the area called Tellurium. Telluride’s mines are rich in zinc, lead, copper, silver, and gold. Butch Cassidy hung out here in 1889 and robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank that year making history as his first major recorded crime. Local residents and common visitors have included John Denver, Bob Dylan, Daryl Hannah, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise. I found the town extremely charming and in some quarters rustic, even though it had its touristy yuppie overwhelming flair. Definitely one of my favorite towns in Colorado. A must visit.

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Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park

Dark Hollow Falls
Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls @ Shenandoah National Park * http://www.nps.gov/shen/ * Shenandoah National Park, 3655 US Hwy 211 East, Luray, Virginia 22835 * 540.999.3500
Just outside of Big Meadows and a couple miles down from the road lies Dark Hollow Falls. These falls can get crowded because they are located just across Skyline Drive from Big Meadows Campgrounds which is a very popular attraction. The main falls are a set of four cascades that drop roughly 71 feet. Distance of hike: 5.5 miles round trip, Elevation gain: 1400 ft, average hike time : 3 hours, difficulty: moderate. Hiking loop. Rating 3 stars out of 5. Visited 5/23/08. (Lat:38.5306 Lon:-78.4404)

Dark Hollow Falls

spider web by Dark Hollow Falls
spider web by Dark Hollow Falls

ferns by Dark Hollow Falls

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Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park* http://www.nps.gov/shen/ * Shenandoah National Park, 3655 US Hwy 211 East, Luray, Virginia 22835 * 540.999.3500

What a beautiful day for a beautiful drive through Shenandoah National Park. Having roughly 1/2 a day to explore, I decided to drive from the Front Ryal (North) Entrance Station down to Big Meadows (Dark Hollow Falls) and then make my way down hwy 33 at Swift Run Gap back towards civilization. I figured a nice day hike and absorbing the panoramic overlooks would be a nice afternoon in the park, and I was right. Much natural beauty, scenic overlooks, abundant wildlife, and fabulous hiking trails. There are Park service gift shops and information centers all along the route as well as places where you can get food. The scenic roadway, also known as “Skyline Drive” follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 miles. The National Park empties out on its southern entrance into the Blue Ridge Parkways which stretches 469 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Skyline Drive is a narrow mountain road with beautiful vistas and wildflowers along the shoulders and hosts over 75 scenic overlooks with each of their own unique panoramas. Shenandoah hosts over 500 miles of trails for the hiker – detailed maps can be obtained at the visitor centers and www.snpbooks.org or downloaded from the above Park Service link. The park like all parks are a sanctuary and home to numerous plants, animals, and historic objects. Excellent park, will definitely be back. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 5/23/08.

view from Skyline Drive
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George Washington Memorial Parkway

side park off GW

George Washington Memorial Parkway* http://www.nps.gov/gwmp/ * Washington, D.C.

Often nicknamed “The Road to Adventure” which was suitable as it gave me my route out of D.C. to the famous Shenandoah National Park. Locals call it “GW Parkway”. This memorial parkway is managed by the National Park Service and was designed as a gateway and greenway for the Nation’s capital. Most of the natural areas on the Parkway have no admission fee, though Great Falls Park does. The CIA’s headquarters are also in the Parks. The parkway is located mostly in Northern Virginia though a small section passes over Columbia Island which is within the District of Columbia. Its joined by Washington Street (SR 400) in Alexandria, Virginia; then runs with Clara Barton Parkway that runs on the opposite side of the Potomac River in DC and Motgomery County, Maryland. There was a fourth section planned but it was never built.

overlooking the Potomac
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