Friday, July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013 Pictures from El Paso

These are pictures from El Paso last week when I was there.

The cloudy skies on Wednesday;  there was actual rain in the city!

The Franklin Mountains

more Franklin Mountains

Willow at Sue Young park on Diana and Kenworthy

I parked at this park, then walked from Diana all the way to TransMountain Rd and back for my daily 2 mile walk.  Unfortunately, I have to get back into the habit now that I'm home.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013 A visit to Garden of the Gods

The day before Sandy and Sam were planning on leaving, Sam, Willow, Gabe and I went to Garden of the Gods.

This is the signature park for Colorado Springs, as far as I am concerned.  But it doesn't have swings and picnic benches and large grassy spaces to play.  This park is/was sacred ground for the Indians.  You can drive around the perimeter, and there are places to pull off, park, and get out to expolore.  If you want to visit the center of the park, you have to walk.

This place is an attraction for rock climbers, but if you're not registered at the visitor center and do not have the technical equipment, then you are only able to do some bouldering, and not more than ten feet off the ground.

There are hiking trails, and horse trails through out the park.  On our way to balanced rock from where we finally found a parking place, we walked past blooming barrel cactus.  Very pretty, but very stickery!

We also walked past a couple of deer.  Here is one laying on the ground.  He didn't even get up as we came closer.  The deer are used to the humans that invade their home.

At Balanced Rock, Gabe decided to hold up the rock so it couldn't fall!  What a strong boy!

Willow and Sam climbed on the rocks also.  There was a lot of people there that day.  Pretty much bumper to bumper traffic the whole way thru the park.  It is better in the spring and fall, and even in winter when the tourists all go home.

You can rent horses and go on a trail ride, or you can bring your own horses and ride without a guide.  Colorado Springs has several parks where there are horse trails, and horse riding is allowed.

At the end of the drive, Willow took a load off her feet and sat under a tree at the visitor center.

And I went out on the balcony of the second floor of the visitor center and took the iconic shot of the garden.  The park is full of these upright rocks that were turned on their ends millions of years ago.

This shot is looking west, at the very right, you can see the 'kissing camels'.  In the very back of the photo, above and a little to the left of the left rock, you can see Pikes Peak under the storm clouds that are rolling in.

I feel a painting coming on.....too bad it's such a common view of the Garden.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013 What we did on the 3rd

When Sandy and Sam were here for vacation, Sam and I took Gabe and Willow to the zoo

First stop is always the giraffes.  I like that they have replaced the crackers with romaine lettuce as food to feed the giraffes.  We always get some, and early in the morning, the giraffes are always hungry.  You can really get up close with them, like they are right there by the railing.  They are funny creatures, and have long purple tongues.  And they don't mind being petted!

After the giraffes, we went by the new lion pen, but there was only one lion out, getting used to the new enclosure.  We were going to go back on opening night, but had truck problems so we didn't.  I do have to get back there for that.

Right after the lions, we came to the new elephant enclosure.  There is also a black rhino exhibit there that is new.

They had this life sized statue of an elephant that the kids could get close too, in case you were wondering if this was a real elephant!

This is the real elephant, and they are on eye level and not behind bars.  So you can get good pictures of them, and no fences.  This is a new exhibit that I hadn't seen before.

Then we went on to the wolves (napping out of sight), the mountain lions (napping where you could see them close up), the otters (napping out of sight) and the grizzly bears (also napping pretty much out of sight)....

Gabe was not napping out of sight!

We had fun, and I am impressed all over again at how great the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is.  They get a lot of support, as shown by all the brick walks and stone walls that have a sponsor (donor) inscribed on them.

This has to be my favorite zoo, and I've been to the San Diego, Denver, and Phoenix zoos.  A close second would have to be the Desert Museum in Tucson, but I don't know if it is still the same.  It's been 30 years since I was there.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, 2013 The north pole

Today's word is 'currently reading', but I think pictures of the North Pole are more interesting.

My sister, Sandy, and her son, Sam, had planned this trip for about 6 months.  Willow, Sam's daughter, was looking forward to coming to Colorado.  She really wanted to ride a horse, and to visit with all my horses.

The first thing we did, Sam and I, was to take Willow and Gabe to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole.

This is a kid's oriented amusement park located on the northern slope of Pikes Peak.  It is all Christmas oriented all year around.

The first good thing that happened, is that there was a sign that said if you were over 60, you could get in free.  Wow!  My lucky day!

First ride was a simple one in these old fashioned cars:

Somewhere shortly after we arrived, Gabe and Willow picked up a friend who tried to go with them on all the rides.  That is, until his family made him go with them.  He thought he had found someone fun to play with, but alas, his family had other ideas.  They did ride a couple of rides together though.

This picture was taken at the weird mirrors, that make you look long or fat or whatever.  It was fun to make faces into the mirrors.

Then we got to some of the better rides.  After the ferris wheel, yes I had to go with Gabe, each seat had to have someone over 16, and I was holding on too tight to take pictures on that.  Remember, we are on the side of the mountain, and the ferris wheel takes you even higher, kinda like hanging out in space.  But we did have a great view of the damage done across highway 24 by the Waldo Canyon fire last year. 

This ride was like a space ship, but it was a big swing...So they went pretty high, and they went on it twice, once in the front seat and once in the back seat.

This ride was the last of the big kids rides.  They went round and round, and had a rudder that they could move to make themselves go higher or lower.  Sam had to ride with Willow.  I guess you can see what he thought of it by the look on his face!

Gabe liked it so much that he rode it by himself, two times!

This last ride is like a ski lift, and you can see all over the park on it.  Sam was making faces again!

We had a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, my sister was not feeling well and didn't go on this trip.  Maybe she has already seen pictures from Sam, and maybe she'll read this.

Oh, yeah, the book I'm currently reading is "Genetics for dummies", since our family seems to have a major genetic problem.  You'll know something about that if you've been following me on facebook since the beginning of March.   Our drama wasn't over when we went on this excursion!