Wednesday, September 4, 2019

DESTINATION: Bailey, Colorado

On the last day of our 2019 Colorado trip we made our way to Bailey, Colorado, to visit the Sasquatch Outpost.....I know, we're weird!

To get to Bailey from Colorado Springs we headed through Manitou Springs and then onto Highway 24 to Woodland Park.  In Woodland Park we connected onto Highway 67 and passed the Painted Rock Campground where we saw the most amazing rock formation jetting out of the ground right in the middle of pine forests. 

Painted Rocks Campground

One of many rock formations in Painted Rocks Campground

From Painted Rock Campground we headed to the small town of Deckers.  The South Platte River flowing below Cheesman Canyon through Deckers is a world-class fishing area.  We saw several anglers wading in the river fly fishing on the South Platte River below the Cheesman Canyon.

Evidence of the Hayman Fire of 2002 in Pike National Forest

Granite rock formations near Deckers
A few old buildings near Pine, Colorado

A few old buildings near Pine, Colorado

Old school house, now a home, in Pine, Colorado

From Deckers, we turned onto Decker's Road 126 and followed the Platte River to the community of Pine.  Just outside of Pine we stopped at the Pine Valley Ranch Park to get a closer view of, and dip our toes in, the North Fork of the Platte River. Pine Valley Ranch Park is an amazing little park offering several hikes, a beautiful lake, a lot of history, a small island with a gazebo, and the best picnic area on the Front Range of Colorado. 

North Fork Platte River

Gazebo at Pine Valley Ranch Park

Bridge crossing the Platte River at Pine Valley Ranch Park

Platte River going around an island at the Pine Valley Ranch Park

Our little pup, Remi, is an explorer also!

After exploring the Pine Valley Ranch Park we made our way to Bailey and to the Sasquatch Outpost. Bailey is a small town located about 45 minutes southwest of Denver. This Platte Canyon town lies at 7,739 feet with the main part of town residing at the bottom of a steep winding section of Highway 285.

The outside of the Sasquatch Outpost

Remi's parents make him do the dumbest things!

Remi posing with the big guy

The Sasquatch Outpost has to be the most unique store in all of Colorado and is strictly dedicated to the famous legendary Bigfoot.  Not only does the Outpost offer souvenirs of the Bigfoot kind but they also have a museum on site.  After picking up a few souvenirs we decided to get back on the road again because the skies had darkened and looked as if storms were developing.

Before reaching Pine, again, we made a quick stop at the Cruz-In Drive-Through and ordered the most amazing green chili cheese fries to snack on we headed back to Cheyenne Mountain.

DESTINATION: Manitou Springs, Colorado

Just west of Colorado Springs lies the eclectic town of Manitou Springs, Colorado. The main road through the center of town is a direct path to the base of Pikes Peak. The town was founded for its natural mineral springs which you can sample during a self-guided, walking tour. Just stop off at the visitors center and get yourself a map and a paper cup!
Downtown Manitou Springs is a unique place for travelers as the area consists of many one-story, adjoining, small shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as a creekside city park with a children's playground made from unusual materials. Among other services, shops cater to tourist interests such as clothing, candy, souvenirs, and outdoor recreation.
One such Manitou Springs attraction is the Famous Penny Arcade! As photographers we've been dreaming of coming back to Manitou to do one thing.....photograph the nostalgic arcade! This blog post is just dedicated to the photographs we took at the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade. If you'd like to see more about Manitou you can visit our blog post at

In the arcade you will be able to find some of the first arcade games (many still cost a penny) and walk through arcade game history playing over 20 different pinball machines to 30 different racing games.

The games can date back to the 1930's if not earlier where a lot of the games cost the same price they did back then. The Arcade is located just off Main Street and consists of several little buildings, every building has it own different style and feel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

DESTINATION: Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs

One of the stops we made near Colorado Springs was Helen Hunt Falls.  This waterfall is located on Cheyenne Creek in the North Cheyenne CaƱon Park of Colorado Springs, Colorado

View of falls from ground level

The falls are named in honor of Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (October 15, 1830 – August 12, 1885), a United States poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government. She died in San Francisco, California in 1885 and was later buried in Colorado Springs.  We believed she was buried at near the top of the falls but we could not find any grave site. 

Poor Remi was feeling the effects of the altitude so daddy carried him!

The falls are located on North Cheyenne Creek immediately off North Cheyenne Canyon Road in the North Cheyenne Canyon Park. There is parking for about 30 vehicles at the falls which we understand becomes crowded early during the summer months however we had no trouble finding a parking spot in the lot.

The Columbine Trail, which starts at the entrance of the Park by the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center, terminates at Helen Hunt Falls. The hike is a short distance of about 2/3 of a mile up a moderately steep trail above Helen Hunt Falls to reach Silver Cascade Falls.

Cheyenne Creek

DESTINATION: Catamount Reservoirs, Colorado

Making our way down Pikes Peak we decided to investigate an area we passed on our way up to the summit, the North Slope Recreation Area.
Signage in the area
This recreational area surrounds the Crystal Creek Reservoir, South Catamount and North Catamount Reservoirs. It is managed by the City of Colorado Springs and offers number of recreational opportunities including hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking. There are several trails in the area with great views of Pikes Peak to the south. It's a great place to escape from the heat of the city in summer.
Views of North Catamount Reservoir

Views of South Catamount Reservoir
We did not have our fishing gear with us on this trip but we understand that their are some lake rainbow trout which can be taken from the shore.  One thing we did catch, however, was some amazing views of Pikes Peak!

Remi posing on the damn for the South Catamount River

DESTINATION: Cave of the Winds, Colorado

One of the stops we made while traveling in and around Colorado Springs, Colorado, was Cave of the Winds.  This was the second time we had been to the cave park, however, we have never been inside.

View of Mount Manitou from Cave of the Winds Park

The first time we were there was last October 2018 and the area had a early snow storm.  Although the cave was open and offering tours, we were cold and didn't want to travel under ground to be in colder temperatures.

The Cave of the Winds park sells these awesome adorondack chairs made
from old skis.  I just love the saying on this one!

View of Manitou Springs from the Cave of the Winds

This time we had our little pup with us so we didn't get a chance to take a cave tour but the area around the cave is beautiful and the views are spectacular so we made our way up to the cave park again!

In this post we've included the images that we captured but also a little history lesson about the cave:

Local legends hold that both Apache and Ute Native Americans knew about the cave, but these stories have not been confirmed by historic or archaeological evidence. The cave is named for the legend involving the Apache, who were said to believe it was the home of a Great Spirit of the Wind. In 1869 a white settler, Arthur B. Love, found the entrance to the cave, but the first major exploration was conducted in June 1880. During a hike led by the Rev. Roselle T. Cross, pastor of the Congregational Church in Colorado Springs, the schoolboys John and George Pickett stumbled across the cave’s entrance and explored it by candlelight. Such is the traditional account of the first entry into the cave, accepted by the official website of the cave and in the majority of publications about it. There would seem to be little reason to question this simple and rather appealing story, which through a century of repetition has become entrenched among the many popular stories about the history of the Pikes Peak region.

DESTINATION: Pikes Peak, Colorado

The last time we were in Colorado Springs, which was early October 2018, we attempted to drive to the top of Pikes Peak.  Unfortunately, an early snow storm in the area kept us from traveling further than the half-way point.  

Pikes Peak, located in Pike National Forest and just 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs, is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.   With an elevation of 14,115 feet, Pike's Peak is one of Colorado's famous "fourteeners."  The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike who, ironically, never made it to the summit!

Unlike Zebulon, we DID reach the summit on our September 2019 trip to Colorado Springs!

Cog rails on the top of Pike's Peak

Dedication to Zebulon Pike at the top of the summit

Before driving up the mountain we checked into riding the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, the world's highest cog railroad operated from Manitou Springs to the summit.  Unfortunately, the railway is going through renovations and temporarily closed.  This would be the first of three areas on the mountain that we found under construction.

One of many switch backs along the road to the summit

Last of the tree line as we neared the summit.  A little snow/ice still left on the side of the mountain.

Can you find the rock climbers?

When we stopped at the gates to pay our entrance fee we were told that we could not drive all the way to the top because of the construction and that we would have to park at one of the stopping points and take a shuttle to reach the summit.  When we explained that we Remi with us, and didn't want to leave a young pup in a hot vehicle alone we were given a pass to drive to the top!

There are several visitor centers on Pike's Peak which have gift shops and/or restaurants.  We stopped at the visitor center at Crystal Reservoir and visited the gift shop.  This looked a lot different than when we were there in 2018 as there is construction on the dam of the reservoir and most of the water had been drained. After a quick break we headed on to the summit itself.

Someone volunteered to take our picture.  I'm glad we didn't break the camera!

The summit house REALLY needs an update.  Glad it is under construction!

We found the big fellow at the summit house!

At the top of the summit we found more construction as a new summit house is being built.  We were still able to take in the views and to visit the gift shop where we indulged in one of Summit House's special doughnuts which they fry up to 700 per hour.  We bought 3 doughnuts - 2 to try on the summit and 1 to see what would happen if we transported it to lower altitudes.  Supposedly, the doughnuts collapse or go mush when taken off the mountains but we didn't notice a change.

Pike Peak's famous doughnuts

Even though the view from the top was spectacular.....the air was thin and altitude sickness was creeping in.  It was time to get to lower altitudes!