We’ve taken a couple of day trips during this past week. The first was a drive on west to Buena Vista. Funny thing about Colorado. While Canon City is pronounced the Spanish way, can-yon, Buena Vista is not. It is Byu-na Vista, or just Bueny. However you pronounce it, it is a beautiful view. There is lots of ranch land between Woodland Park and there, but with the snowcapped Collegiate mountains on the western horizon.
We stopped into several galleries downtown and found a variety of Colorado art.
This particular painting was painted by Jerry Johnston, who is also a poet. The strange thing about that is, another Jerry Johnston was the farmer who rented our family farm in Kansas before we sold it. I knew he was a talented man, but I think this type of thing is not his baileywick! I couldn’t resist passing that information along to him via his wife.
One of the photographs in the gallery was of a series of rock tunnels lined up. Turns out they are along the old railroad bed just outside of town, so we went out to find them.
After being tourists, we enjoyed ice cream on that very warm day before we started home, driving right behind a rain storm all the way home. Unlike our friends in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, we’ve had some rain more days since we arrived here than not. We were glad that it wasn’t pouring rain on the mountain roads.
At least those mountain roads were paved. We’ve done our share of unpaved ones this week. Our friends Larry and Shannon Buller and their kids invited us to a cookout Sunday evening at their borrowed cabin between Florissant and Cripple Creek. It was several miles off of CR1, a bit dusty and rutted but not bad.
Then Monday we drove up to Devil’s Head fire lookout, the first of its kind anywhere. It requires a short hike, about 1 1/2 miles each way, with an altitude gain of about 1000 feet. It was pretty warm by the time we got started on the hike, so we went through lots of water. Fortunately, we’re rarely under any kind of time constraints so we took our time and stopped to “smell the flowers”…or look at the scenery or taste the wild strawberries.
Even though I had been trying to be determined to climb all the stairs (over 140) to the lookout, somewhere along the way I pulled something in my left calf and I thought I would be doing well just to just get back down the mountain, so I “let” LeRoy go to the top by himself. He even got a certificate making him a member of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels for his effort!
The view from the top was worth the hike, he says.
I made it down the mountain (and am 80% better now) and we decided to take Rampart Range Road all the way back to Woodland Park. It took about 20 miles off the trip, but it was ALL unpaved, very mountainous road. We dodged rocks, ruts and even a few springs and mudholes in the road. Gypsy, our GPS, thought we had lost our minds, I think. She kept recalculating, trying to make us go back across (on tiny little paths or sometimes even just drainage spots without even a trail) to the highway, determined that we finish the trip on pavement. Little did she know who she was up against! Old off-roaders never die, they just transfer to unpaved roads.