21 February 2009

A Walk in His Gardens--Manitou Springs

I visited Manitou Springs twice during my time in this part of Colorado. None of it looked familiar to me so most likely we didn't go here in 1977 and this trip was my first to the town.
A quick note here: I DO remember going to Cripple Creek in 1977 - it was quite an interesting place back then, with donkeys running loose through the town, great historic buildings and bats flying overhead at the nearby campground we stayed at (if you know me then you know I really, really don't like bats and was thankful my sleeping bags was long--so I could bury myself totally in it that night!). We did consider going to Cripple Creek this time, but I decided against it because I wasn't sure how I'd react to the road there (even though from the description we were given it probably would have been OK).
As for Pike's Peak and the drive UP there--you already know I was "quite content" to view Pike's Peak from locales, like Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods this time.
Well back to Manitou Springs and my visit there...

I had first heard about the town (and seen some photos) on another website. It looked like a place I'd really like, and the friend I was visiting had never been so my first time there was with her and we had a lot of fun:)
Our first stop was at the local Visitor Center where I can report that they were very knowledgeable about the town and other nearby locales--including Cripple Creek and Pike's Peak. With maps and pamphlets in hand, we set out to eat and explore the town and it's springs! There are LOTS of springs in town!!

One of our first stops was to eat and we had amazing food at the place we chose for lunch (it was busy, busy though---Manitou Springs seems to be very popular even on late spring/early summer weekdays)
Afterwards we walked around--shopped, drove up to (but didn't visit) the Miramont Castle Museum and explored many other areas of the town. Of course, I took a lot of photos--just because it was so nice there and green!! Us Pacific NW'ers LOVE green!! And forests! And mountains! Manitou Springs had all three:)
The next time we went to Manitou Springs was after the trip to the Garden of the Gods. I was with a couple then and he took us up to the home of the Pike's Peak Cog Railroad which one can take to --- I know you already guessed this --- Pike's Peak! (for those who may not want to drive to the summit) Even though it was early, early in the morning there were a lot of hikers in this area so be very careful if you're driving here. Three hikes I know of are: the Manitou Incline, the trail up Pike's Peak and the Barr trail. I believe all the hikers we saw were going up the Barr Trail. Hiking, biking and other outside activities are BIG in Colorado and it's no wonder with the unbeatable scenery, weather (for those who love it like me!!) and areas that are just made for outdoor enthusiasts!!

So, Manitou Springs is very beautiful, very popular and easily accessible if you are anywhere in the Colorado Springs area. Everyone we met there seemed friendly, the food was really great, but still I have some mixed feelings about going there. Would I go again? Probably but not definitely.
Next post: more Colorado and then--maybe--Wyoming and Utah:) Did you know the deepest (as in most intense color) blue water I've ever seen was in the NW at Crater Lake and also in Wyoming? Did you know that the Red Desert is actually green in late spring/early summer? Did you know that Utah also has seagull 'conventions' or so it seems? Did you know that the Wasatch Mts are also green at that time of year and they glow a beautiful gold if the lighting is just perfect? So many facts, so little time...
Blessings, Aimee
Photos: as listed on pictures.

20 February 2009

A Walk in His Gardens--Garden of the Gods

"For purple mountain majesties -- Above the fruited plain!"
Early one morning we traveled northwards as the first glimmer of the new day's light began to show above the eastern plains to our right. As we drove along in the twilight, we passed the main section of Colorado Springs to our left and could see the mountains and THAT mountain which helps attract so many visitors each year to Colorado Springs and nearby locales. No, this visit I would not be going up Pike's Peak, like in 1977 when some friends and I drove the many switchbacks to its 14,000+ foot elevation and panoramic views. In 2008, I was quite content viewing its peak from the lower elevations to be found around Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods. Besides, it I ever got really nostalgic and wanted to see the summit again --- I could do so by viewing it through the web cams available online. I would leave that drive to those younger or more adventuresome then I:)

So even though the road we turned on--to the west--would eventually get closer to the mountain, we would be turning off at our destination this AM-the Garden of the Gods.

It had been more then 30 years since I'd last visited this area and seen Pike's Peak, the Garden of the Gods and Glenn Eyrie. Then I was an unmarried, young woman traveling with college friends; now I was a middle aged grandmother. Much time and many life events had passed between these two trips; once vivid memories of my time in the Garden had grown more vague over the years--but they were still sufficient in scope to remind me that I had loved it-and nearby Glenn Eyrie and I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to see it again.

We found the Garden Drive entrance into the park, turned right and then the mood of the morning changed for me as I stepped outside the car. Everything about the atmosphere here seemed different from elsewhere -- I felt that I had entered a magical, ancient world! It was (and still is) hard to describe the effect it had on me.

The sky was typical for a late spring/early summer morning here, with the moon clearly discernible above us still. The first rays of the rising sun reflected off the rock formations causing them to seem alive-glowing with a reddish intensity that was stunning against the deep blueness of the heavens. The ambiance was one of great peace and antiquity. I had only felt this way once before--on part of a trail near Longmire on Mt Rainier, the Trail of Shadows. It was silent outside the car we traveled in--as if the few visitors there felt an inner urge to respect the serenity of all that were there.

We continued to drive through the park-stopping here and there for me to take photos of the rock formations, the mountains and of the areas below the Garden.
Then, too soon, the magic would be over and it was time to move on to our next stop--Manitou Springs, which had a magic of its own and a LOT of water. And speaking of Manitou Springs, that's where my next post will take us:)

Blessings, Aimee
Photos: as identified above. Taken spring/summer 2008.
See links for additional information, photos, etc on Pike's Peak, Manitou Springs & the Garden of the Gods..
Note: I could not link it from here, but there is a map available of the Garden of the Gods on another site. Just google it--I believe it was the official site for Colorado Springs. There were several maps there including some that gave the names of the rock formations and the trails there.
Note on quote above: words taken from 'America the Beautiful', inspired in part from the view atop Pike's Peak. Written by Katharine Lee Bates.

19 February 2009

A Walk in His Gardens-The Rockies

Photos of my walk amidst emerging spring bulbs, fruit tree buds, Pieris blossoms and pussy willow catkins will have to wait. So, too, will photos planned to honor Oregon's 150th birthday celebration this past weekend -- so no pictures of the Astor Column, Young's Bay, Saddle Mountain and forests of the Astoria area either till later. Sorry Oregonians, I really do share your excitement, as a fellow Pac Northwesterner, for the 150 years of statehood...and I hold a very special spot in my heart for your awesome coastlines, mountain peaks and forests, your high deserts and beautiful river gorges...but...well blame it on an errand I took recently and my car radio being tuned to my hubby's favorite radio station instead of mine.

You see during that drive, I heard THAT song...and my heart was immediately transported away--to "better days", to a "sweet escape", to my hideaway--Colorado (not that these days are bad, or ugly or that I am in need of an escape; and not that the lyrics all apply to me--because they don't. It's just that I was in Colorado when that song was playing a lot on the radio and since then hearing it immediately sends me back--in spirit if not body-- to those times in the beaufiful SW!)
So since I've already had my sweet escape for the week, here for your enjoyment is a Walk in His Gardens of Colorado.

Coming in from a very, very long drive in Wyoming, heading towards Denver, you catch your first view of the lofty, snow capped Rocky Mountains. To the west would be the Rocky Mt National Park and Estes Park (map link here). Many good memories of Estes Park where the sun can shine, thunder can roll, hail can fall--all in a few minutes time--and the wonderful mountain scenery there!! And then there is the Stanley Hotel, the town, the drive UP from Loveland, the ....well a lot of good memories about Estes Park.

NW of Denver would be Boulder--home to Celestial Seasonings Teas (yes I know all about the 'red' door room!LOL), Leanin' Tree (beautiful western oriented museum and shop there), the most majestic Flatirons & Chautauqua, and the Dushanbe Teahouse (home of well---food!) Then there are the areas UP and via a whole bunch of switchbacks from Boulder, like Gold Hill. But we'll stay in Boulder on flatter ground for right now---you know oldies like me -- Mork & Mindy's house is in Boulder. I've seen it and even have a photo of it somewhere! I've spent many good times in Boulder, in snow, sunshine and during a t-storm. Have I told you that Colorado knows how to put on a GOOD thunderstorm?? We saw a LOT there but filming it is another matter. I finally got a video or two of one, but I 'think' someone I know real well has forbidden me to post it here. And I am a good girl:) Maybe!

At the Teahouse. I won't torture you with all the photos of the Gingerbread Cake made with tea or the shish-ka-bob. No I am a GOOD girl so none of that (unless you ask of course!) The decor was unbelievable and I loved my food! (link above has more photos of the building)

More Boulder photos later...
But now we move southward, hopefully NOT through Denver's rush hour traffic (imagine the worst traffic jam you have ever been in and then double that), to Colorado Springs--home of the Cheyenne Mt Zoo, the Air Force Academy (awe inspiring chapel), Glenn Eyrie and so much more!
Apology going out to any Denverites here--it's just we got caught in the world's worst jam there due to rush hour traffic and road work. Not a good time for me:(

Above Colorado Springs' Broadmoor Hotel, on Cheyenne Mt, is the zoo and a really great view of the city below. Have I said yet that the Rocky Mt states have the most awesome light? It is just so totally different there--I especially loved the sunrises as the sun rose over the east plateau and hit the mountains and rock formations in the Garden of the Gods.

Speaking of the Garden: a Walk in the 'Garden of my God', AKA Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs and more Colorado photos coming soon.

Blessings from Colorado on my mind, Aimee
THAT Song: A Pocketful of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield (one of my friend's SPECIAL songs)
Photos: as identified on photo. Taken spring/summer 2008 during a really, really long trip to the Rockies and other places.

17 February 2009

I Will Trust in Thee

A heart filled with fear is like a pond in the winter---frozen over and unable to reflect the beauty around it to those who pass by its borders.

I humbly ask You to melt the fear in my heart which would keep me from fully reflecting Your love to those around me--or--from experiencing the fullness of joy that You meant for me, Your child, to have.

Surround me with the light of Your perfect love, so that wherever I am and whatever I see or hear, I’ll trust You are with me and not be afraid.


"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Psalms 56:3 KJV

Photo: NW pond and statue in winter.

16 February 2009

An Interesting Post on Spiritual Gifts

Today, book & blog author Dorcas (of 'Life in the Shoe') posted a link (a pdf file) to a spiritual gift survey she found helpful.
Spiritual gifts are an area that really interests me and I think others may find this information interesting and helpful too. I will definitely be taking this survey and see if it agrees with what I think my spiritual gifts are.
By the way, if you have never visited the above blog before, you are in for quite a treat. This post here on the value of life touched me deeply as have others she has written.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...