Saturday, September 24, 2016

An Unforgetable Day!

We got several messages early this morning from Dane, our son-in-law.  Our daughter, Jamie, had surgery at 7 today and came through it well and the Dr. felt it was totally successful.  It had to do with women's issues and she is looking forward to things improving.  She was back home by 10, so obviously she did well!

We were at a lookout for Garden of the Gods, about 3 miles from the CG, by 7:45 to get a great photo of the sun hitting the largest rock formations in the Garden.  What a way to start the day looking at God's amazing handiwork. 

Photo from the lookout before heading into the Garden of
the Gods!  Pikes Peak is in the background....

....but the cloud cover makes the Peak not totally visible!

Then we drove into the "Garden" and the Central Garden Trail where you walk around the front and back of the tallest rock formations.  It was an unbelievable walk.

A cement path went around the largest rock formations!
This is one we saw from the lookout!

This one is called the Kissing Camels!

So glad he would only give the land to the
City of Colorado Springs if it was a free
park to the public!

Can't imagine climbing these rocks!

Except for a rabbit and some birds, this is the only wildlife
we saw today.  I was happy to NOT see the rattlesnakes
that are prevalent in the area!

Isn't that a beautiful photo????  Almost looks like a

From there we did the Siamese Twins Hike to view Pike's Peak through the cut-out portion of this large rock formation. 

Through the hole we were sitting in front of you got a great
view of Pikes Peak.  Just when we were ready to head back down \
the trail, the cloud cover lifted and Ken got this photo
of  Pikes Peak!

We also stopped to checkout the Balanced Rock - amazing!

How many more 1,000's of years can it
stay balanced???

We stopped at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post that has welcomed visitors for over 100 years.  It is a huge gift shop plus an eatery.  It is an impressive place!

The Trading Post was established in 1900!

We left there and drove about 1 hour, mostly on Highway 67 which is considered a scenic highway and rightly so.  The colorful Aspen Trees and the mountainsides were positively gorgeous. 

We arrived at our destination, the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine which is an underground mine that is open to visitors where they take a 1000 foot vertical descend to tour the mine.  Ken wasn't too sure it was a good idea, but after talking to several people who had done the tour and thoroughly enjoyed it, we bought our tickets.  We had an hour till the tour, so we stopped by the Cripple Creek Heritage Center which was another very interesting place with such good exhibits and information.  I am always amazed at how the early settlers traveled so long under dangerous and horrible conditions to get to an area of the country where they hoped to be prosperous.  Once they arrived at their destination it seemed the towns developed quickly but their survival was so short lived.  Often they only flourished for less than 10 or 15 years.

The center is built like a mine entrance and the 2 outside
buildings are replicas of buildings in Cripple Creek!

The town (maybe city) of Cripple Creek was certainly prosperous in a
very short time!

This is looking down to Cripple Creek from the
Heritage Center!

We left there after enjoying our picnic lunch and went back to the mine.  They have 2 mine shaft cages that can take 6 people in each.  There were 5 in our cage including the lady tour guide.  She is a 3rd generation miner and had so much information to share with us.  The 1000 ft drop into the mine took 2 minutes and it was a dark, tight descend.  Once inside the mine shaft, we walked about 1/2 mile throughout the mine and really felt like you understood how mining was done in the early 1900's.  Gold mines are much safer than coal mines but the working conditions for these men and the hard and dangerous work they did on a daily basis is incomprehensible.  

These are the 2 cages that take visitors on
a 1,000 foot descend to the mine!

All Aboard! 
We made it down!

This is what we could see upon

And the tour begins!

Our guide explained how the blasting equipment has changed
over the years.  She ran each of them for us and they were
so loud!  This one used water power!

This drill was air driven!

This is looking up into a gold vein in the mine!
Miners would spend their entire shift sitting
or standing on a plank high into the vein.
They took a "bucket" with them since they
didn't have a chance to come down till
quitting time!

This was the supervisor's "bike" so he could ride through
the mine and check on the workers.  With metal wheels they
could always hear him coming!

We also took a ride on an air powered mine train for a short distance in the mine that has been used since 1932.  It was $20.00 each for the tour and worth every dollar!

We took a ride through Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor!  Victor was like a ghost town with so many deserted, crumpling cabins and abandoned mining shafts!

What an impressive town sign!

We couldn't drive the main street because of an upcoming
event tomorrow!

Donkeys used to be taken into the mines and used to move
carts, etc.  They never saw the light of day and became blind.
Pres. Roosevelt visited the area and because of cruelty to animals
ordered them removed from the mines.  When they were
brought out, they were released to roam freely.  These donkeys
are descendants of the mine donkeys!


Current day Gold Mining!

One of the many abandoned mine shafts!
Eventually we were back on scenic highway 67 for the return trip.  Going the opposite direction gave us many more phenomenal views!

Ken and I have a new appreciation of Aspen Trees!

After a stop at Costco we got back to Waldo around 6:30 after another long day away from the CG.  We made dinner, cleaned up, and because it was soooo windy, Ken put the grill and chairs away so they didn't end up in some other campsite.  

Obviously this was another amazing day!

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