Tag Archives: swimming

Mission Inn (Riverside, CA)

Historic Mission Inn
~ Riverside, California ~

Along Highway 395 and the Riverside Downtown/Street Mall is the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa one of Riverside’s most notable Historic Landmarks. It boasts numerous architectural styles but is considered the largest Mission Revival Style Building in the United States. It is currently owned by Duane and Kelly Roberts. Originally it began as a Adobe style boarding house called the “Glenwood Cottage” built by engineer Christopher Columbus Miller on November 22, 1876. The Hotel was purchased by their son in February 1880 and created a full-service hotel by the early 1900’s taking advantage of the Citrus boom, warm weather, and wealthy travelers coming to the area from the East Coast and Europe. In 1902 it was re-named “Glenwood Mission Inn” and that was when various architectural styles were incorporated into its style based on Miller’s vision for eclectic structure drawn from various revivals, influences, and styles including Spanish Gothic, Mission Revival Style, Moorish Revival, Spanish Colonial Style, Spanish Colonial Revival, Renaissance Revival, and Mediterranean Revival Style. The hotel is complicated and intricately built with narrow passageways, exterior arcades, a medieval style clock, a five story rotunda, patios, windows, castle towers, minareets, a Cloister Wing with catacombs, flying buttresses, Mediterranean domes, and a pedestrian sky bridge. Miller was also a world explorer and over thirty years of ownership brought back treasures from around the world to add into the hotel.

The St. Francis Chapel has four large stained glass windows and two original mosaics created by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1906 that were salvaged from the Madison Square Presbyterian Church. The “Rayas Altar” is in Mexican Baroque style sitting 25 feet tall x 16 feet width made of cedar and covered in gold leaf. There is a Garden of Bells with over 800 bells from all over the world including one dating to 1247. In 1932 he opened the St. Francis Atrio hosting the “Famous Fliers Walls” commemorating notable aviators including Amelia Earheart. Today it has 151 fliers honored on the wall.

After Frank died in 1935 the Inn was run by his daughter and her husband Allis and Dewitt Hutchings. They died in 1956 and from thence forward saw various ownership changes including some of the rooms converted to apartments and used for dorms at UC Riverside. It was almost purchased from St. John’s College for a western campus but lost the bid when John Gaw Meem donated them land in Santa Fe. It was then acquired by the Carley Capital Group and saw massive renovations in 1985. In December 1992 it was sold to Duane Roberts who completed the renovations and reopened it to the public. Today it offers a hotel, spa, outdoor pool, museum, and fine dining. They now host annually a Festival of lights, Pumpkin stroll, and Ghost walks.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Prospect Lake, Colorado Springs

Prospect Lake
~ 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado ~

A beautiful water-sports popular swimming lake in the heart of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Popularized by the many offerings of Memorial Park and the YMCA Aquatic Center, this location is very popular with the locals for swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing, jet skiing, and water sports. The parks and amenities along its shores are very popular, including playgrounds, bath house, beaches, recreational trails, and picnic spots. There is also one wheelchair accessible fishing dock. Some boating requires licenses or permits, but both motorized and non-motorized boats may operate on the lake, including sail boats, canoes, row boats, and paddle boats some of which can be rented in the park. There is a 1.25 mile long fitness trail around the lake. At the official beach, which is roped in to protect swimmers from boating, offers a once a week opportunity to swim 6-8 pm saturdays beyond the ropes to the rest of the lake.

The lake is historic and man-made being originally built in 1890 as a reservoir for overflow irrigation water. It became a swimming lake in 1932. It was donated with land by General William Jackson Palmer along with other Colorado Springs parks upwards of 1270 acres to the City of Colorado Springs. Prospect Lake is part of Memorial Park. There is some dark history to the lake, including the fact that it has leaked massive amounts of water for over 50 years causing environmental issues for the city. This has raised much controversy as the lake has been drained in the past and contemplations of emptying it for good has been considered. The commission put together a $50,000 study to determine why it is leaking water. It is believed that the bentonite clay lining that was installed in 1953 on its bottom cracked when it was exposed and dried out in 2002 when it was purposely allow to dry up during the 2002 drought. Prior to that the lake had been annually pumped with potable water by Colorado Springs Utilities. The lake was refilled in 2003 with non-potable water and banned swimming that year. It is hypothesized that the water leaked through the cracks into an underground aquifer. leaking through the porous ground soil at the same pace throughout the years. Evaporation is also believed to be a major issue annually. The Parks office claims “it’s a birdbath with a crack in it”. The lake loses 392 acre feet or 128 million gallons of water every year, 54% through leakage and 46% by evaporation. 400 acre-feet of water costs the city $389,000. Theories state the city could drain the lake and install a bentonite liner over the other half of the bottom but that would cost several hundred thousands of dollars and would not solve the evaporation problem. Other solution would be the city building a well north of the lake in the aquifer that takes much of the seepage and pump the water back into the lake. They say “its just a major recreation area. We’ll put hundreds of thousands of dollars into ball fields … and when you think about Prospect Lake, it has that same kind of benefit” Richard Skorman, the Vice Mayor stated.

As for cleanliness, the lake has potable water pumped into it annually and they have drained and refilled the lake a few years back. In former years, it has been “sketchy” due to patrons, general neighborhood concerns, and cleanliness but many of those issues have been tackled in current years. City Health officials state that even though swimming pools are rigorously chlorinated and tested daily, outdoor swimming lakes and beaches are not. There is no way to chlorinate, check chemical quality, use a filtration system or check turbidity. Even with swimming pools, a 2010 national study states that 1 in 8 pool inspections led to an immediate closure due to code violations. Pools can be closed in minutes with on the hour testing. Some pool operators go above and beyond, such as the YMCA at Monument Park including emergency response plans to deal with any unexpected issues involving recreational water illnesses (RWI) that can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal, ear, respiratory, eye and would infections often caused by cryptosporidium, giardia, shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. The YMCA operates several city-owned pools and water features including Monument Valley Pool, Portal Pool, Wilson Ranch Pool, and Prospect Lake Beach in Memorial Park. The YMCA follos state Department of Public Health and Environment’s guidelines for natural swimming areas and testing. The beach is tested 17 times during the summer, collecting bacteriological water quality samples at least once every seven days and no fewer than 5 times a month, collecting water-quality samples at least 24 hours prior to the beginning of a peak-use period and within 24 hours after the end of the same peak use period such as before and after Memorial Day weekend.

Note: The safety of the lake is questionable even though it has a city operated bath house, swimming beach, and is a popular recreation spot in Colorado Springs. According to the local hospital, the water is questionable. My son, on Sunday June 10th, 2018 cut his toe on something sharp in the water while swimming, resulting in 4 stitches. Please be careful swimming in these waters.

There was an article about Sunken Treasure that was revealed in the lake when it was drained showing finds such as a metal skeleton of a 1960’s Volkswagon Bug, shot guns, rifles, knives, class rings, ice cube trays, a 45 rpm record, empty pull-tab cans, and jewelry. A local prospector with his Bounty Hunter metal detector has found 14 shotguns, handguns, and rifles since 2002 many with their serial numbers filed off. The Bug is believed to have been driven onto the lake when frozen one winter that fell through the ice.


Rated: 3 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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Maryhill State Park (Maryhill, Washington)


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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Bottomless Lakes State Park (Roswell, NM)


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

The memories of Bottomless Lakes State Park … it was my family and friend’s swimming hole and playground while growing up 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 founded in New Mexico. There are Eleven 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.


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.

The lakes were originally visited frequently by Prehistoric Indians of the region, and in the 1500’s were said to have been visited by Spanish Conquistadors searching for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. While the Conquistadors did not record their visitation, it is said that the Native Americans drew a petroglyph at the Lakes depicting a Spanish Conquistador riding a horse according to John LeMay’s book “Legends and Lore of Bottomless Lakes” having also appeared in the Roswell New Mexico Centennial Magazine as well.

According to legend, the lakes got their name as “Bottomless” because the outlaw Billy the Kid and his gang who once hid out in the bluffs supposedly dipped their ropes in one lake to see how deep it was and they didn’t hit bottom so called it “Bottomless”. The deepest lake is Leah Lake at 90 feet.

There are numerous legends surrounding the lakes from a Octopus Man, giant turtles, giant catfish, a White Ghost Horse, and a Dragon. There are many legends of people drowning in the muddy depths and being transported by an Underground Artesian river and cave system to Carlsbad Caverns, giant turtles eating people who went missing there, sheep and horses reportedly been swallowed by the lakes, and numerous cars. The only evidence of such legends are remnants of cars at the bottom. Some say atop the lakes cliffs and bluffs, teens had drag-raced and lost their cars over the edges into the lakes. A local boater claimed to have seen a giant turtle surface in the 1980’s large enough to claim Nessie was in the lake and that it came to eat him.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley and Leaf McGowan.


    The Eleven lakes are:

  1. Lazy Lagoon – one of the two deepest at 90 feet with a 26.1 acre surface area.
  2. Cottonwood Lake – 27.5 feet deep with .52 acres of surface area and having natural shade over it.
  3. Mirror Lake North – 32.8 feete deep with 3 acres of surface area.
  4. Mirror Lake south – 43.3 feet deep, .44 acre surface area.
  5. Devil’s Inkwell – 28.2 feet deep, .36 acre surface area, has dark algae in it that makes it appear darker than others.
  6. Figure 8 Lake North – 37 feet deep, 1.46 acre surface area. Forms a figure 8 with Figure 8 Lake South, but is an independent lake.
  7. Figure 8 Lake South – 22 feet deep, .76 acre surface area. Forms a figure 8 with Figure 8 Lake North, but is an independent lake.
  8. Pasture Lake – 18 feet deep, the shallowest of the lakes, having a .76 surface area.
  9. Lost Lake – The depth is unknown, and has a surface area of .1 acre.
  10. Lea Lake: the deepest of the lakes with a maximum depth of 90 feet, 2nd largest in acreage at 15 acres surface area. Only lake where swimming is currently allowed and hosts a daily spring flow of 2.5 million gallons.
  11. Dimmit Lake – unknown depth, made up of two basins covering 10 acres, is privately owned.

More Information:

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Kealakekua Bay Historical Park and Beach

Kealakekua Bay Historical Park across from Captain Cook, Kona

Kealakekua Bay Historical Park and Beach
Kona, Big Island, Hawaii
A great little cove across from the ever-so-famous Captain Cook Cove and diving hotspot on the Kona coast, Big Island, Hawaii. It is located roughly 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona. The area was settled over a thousand years ago so is dotted with ancient temples, archaeological and historical sites serving as a historical district and marine life conservation district. This little park is a great set-in for doing kayaking, scuba diving, and some deeper water reef snorkeling as well as swimming with dolphins. While the dolphins weren’t out when we were snorkeling on this 8th of August in 2009, I’ve heard that it is a popular place to chance the encounters. The parking lot is small and parking is not so easily obtained, but its secluded. There is a small park with picnic tables, restrooms, and a place to relax, with a decent beach and the reefs to explore. Spinner Dolphins are the most common swimmers in the area as they come to the area to rest, feed, and nurse. About 180 acres around the bay is designated as a State Historic Park (1967) and is part of the National Register. The area has a very intriguing history, focusing on the Hikiau Heiau Luakini Temple at the south end of the bay with its burial grounds, the Pali Kapu O Keoua (forbidden cliffs of Keoua) and its associated burials, the village of Ka’awaloa (north end of the bay) where Puhina O Lono Heiau was built with royal residences, and the Kava plant. The name of the Bay comes from “Ke ala ke kua” meaning “The God’s Pathway”. The first European visitors in the area was in 1779 via Captain James Cook and his ships the Resolution and Discovery in January. Later that month he performed the first Christian service on the islands for a crew member that had passed. He was welcomed during January, but his return in February saw conflict. A skirmish took place where Cook was struck in the head and stabbed – leading to his death. Many battles ensued in the area through the years. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Coral reef pictures
Kealakekua Bay Historical Park across from Captain Cook, Kona

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08.07.09: STL Cronicles/Hearth Quest: Chapter 29: ‘Big Island, Volcanoes’

Coming back from the Kehena Nude Beach, Big Island

From the journal of Sir Thomas “Rymour Oisin” Leaf: Friday, The 7th of Sextilis (Julius Caesar’s “August”) in the good year 2009 of the Common Era

Volcano-Papao, Big Island, Hawaii
“We arose pretty early. Paula, David, and I had a bountiful breakfast of eggs, meats, and lots of tropical fruits. Delicious! In the mistly heart of the Volcano rainforest. Onwards we drove into Papao and hit a coffee shop where David (Kawika) had an interview with a local touring company. Caught up on some blogging while Paula perused used books and David did his interview. They seemed impressed by him and after he left I eavesdropped that they were interested. We dropped Paula off for her errands while me and Kawika headed off to the beach and to see the lava flows. Pitstopped at Walmart to pick up a mask and snorkel before hitting the beaches. Our first stop was an infamous black sand nude beach where we partook of some full body tanning. I made the mistake of trying to go in for a swim – sharp lava rocks + thrashing waves + stupid naked boy = lots of abrasions, scratches, and wounds. Swim didn’t exactly work as the thrashing waves smashed me into the rocks. Couldn’t find a good place to get into the water well, even though other naked swimmers had the luck. After the beach and toying around with trying to open some coconuts, we headed off to anothe black sand beach – the newest addition to Big Island where the island is growing daily, where this new peninsula made of lava beds took over the housing development thirty years ago. Oddly, I was standing on land that I was older than. How’s that for planet growth? I’m actually older than the beach on which I stand. Now I feel ancient, especially watching young teenagers partying on the beach. Age. Never before did it dawn on me how much older I’m getting every year – until now, I felt really young. After wandering around the lava beds, we stopped at the cafe for lunch – fish n’ chips. Then onwards, Kawika took me to the ‘Warm pool’ where I took a dip in the hot volcanic water springs that were meeting the ocean. Then onwards to a snorkeling spot that Kawika knew of … beautiful and enchanting underseas explorations … multicolored fish, red coral anemone, tropical fish, cucumbers, corals of many varieties … I knew now I need to get back into Scuba and work on getting certified again. Problem is as an asthmatic, it takes the right instructors willing to risk training an asthmatic. My brother long ago was working on certifying and training me, but then he moved off to do undersea welding across the sea and when he came back, his instructor license had expired. :: sigh :: someday. After swimming, we went to pick up Paula – her nail appointment was still taking place, so we went next door for a sushi/sashimi dinner with lots of sake. From there we drove out to the lava flows to see the island in formation and growth in the dark to watch the lava flow into the ocean. Of course, we were under-equipped again with flashlights, and stumbled across the treacherous lava beds with thousands of other folks trying to hop into their flashlights and not fall into crevices. A 1/2 mile walk across the lava fields shouldn’t of taken as long as it did, but without the flashlight and primarily navigating by moon light, it was a bit tricky. Because of safety, they kept the viewing area a distance away from the flows so you could only see it in the distance. Photos didn’t work out, but the video got better shots than the camera did. Afterwards we went back to cold and rainy Volcano for a nightcap back in the 4,000 ft elevation zone. Hawaii is an amazing set of islands. I wouldn’t mind living here, not at all.”

Lava Beds

Kehena Nude Beach / Dolphin Beach

Kalapana Lava Beds


Kalapana Village Cafe

The Coconut Palm

Pineapple Plant

Papaya Plant

Hot Ponds

Wai’opae (Kapaho) Tidepools

Kilauea Lava Flow

Big Island, Hawaii

Bruises from Kehena beach

Continue reading 08.07.09: STL Cronicles/Hearth Quest: Chapter 29: ‘Big Island, Volcanoes’


Firehole Canyon Campground, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area – Wyoming

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Wyoming

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area – “Firehole Canyon” campground
Wyoming * http://www.wyomingtourism.org/overview/Flaming-Gorge-Recreation-Area/32475
* Elevation: 6,300 ft. * Open Seasonally May 12 – September 18 * $14 per day – Single * $28 per day – double * Maximum Stay Permitted (days): 16 * 7 water spigots * hot showers * pay phone * 40 sites * Swimming * Boating * Fishing * Camping * Hiking *

We weren’t sure what we were in store for since we wandered off I-80 from Rock Springs forest road located from Highway 191 south at 1:00 am in search for a affordable camping location with showers. Morning demonstrated a most fabulous hidden and unpopulated camping spot that I’ll be sure to visit again, many times. I’m not even sure where I found this special little gem in my GIS/Topographic map collections, as its not highly advertised. This however is the closest National campground to I-80 south of Green River. Also the first of many outlets into the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Its a bit of a jaunt off the interstate trail, but not unbearable, even at 1:00 am. At 1:00 am, we rolled in, did the courtesy drop-payment pole, and quickly found a campsite. There were only about 2-4 other camps staying there out of the 40 spots they have available. Not bad for a thursday night in the heart of summer, with a lake. Campsites overlook the Green River and the chimney rock formations in the horizon. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area consists of 201,000+ acreas of land surrounding the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Reservoir which is fed by the Green River is 91 miles long with over 375 miles of shoreline ranging from low flats to cliffs more than 1,500 feet high. The River and Reservoir are a very popular fishing destination amongst Americans as it offers trout fishing year round. Plenty of boat ramps located close to all the campgrounds make fishing very easy. The area has alot of history as well as alot of petroglyphs can be found in the region from Native Americans who lived in or passed through the area hundreds of years before European contact. The Crow named the Green River “Seeds-ka-dee-a” which means “prairie hen”. Prior to 1848 this area belonged to Mexico but was annexed to the U.S. after the Mexican War. Other areas of the park were once posessed by France, Spain, Britain, Mexico, and the early state of California and the Mormon state of Deseret. The area was combed and explored by Major John Wesley Powell who mapped the area initially and gave it the name “Flaming Gorge” during his expeditions down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869 and 1871. The area is speckled with amazing geological formations from pinnacles to chimneys, various stratum layers, and formations accumulated from silt and mud as early as 40 million years ago. The area is also populated with many floral and faunal fossils from the prehistoric times. The campground is on the north end of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Firehole Canyon with a single loop on a sagebrush covered flat above the reservoir in the shadow of the North and South Chimney Rock landmarks. Each campsite is clustered next to another with a shared ramada and side-by-side parking, picnic tables, fire pits/grills, and some scattered Russian Olive trees. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/1/09-7/2/09.

    DIRECTIONS: In Rock Springs, WY, at intersection of Business Loop I80 (Dewar Dr.) and I80, take I80 west 2.8 miles to exit 99 (US Rt. 191 south). Turn left onto Rt. 191 and go 13.9 miles to Firehole Can. sign (County Rt. 33). Turn right at sign onto Rt. 33 and go 9.9 miles to Firehole sign. Turn right at sign and go 0.5 miles to campground.

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