Sunday, August 6, 2017

Colorado Springs - First Days

 View from Tunnel Drive Trail 

Roger here...  So far our stay south of Colorado Springs has been nearly perfect.  I cannot believe that I am writing this post outside wearing a long-sleeved shirt and sweat pants in August.  What a difference a little elevation makes!

Mountaindale Cabins & RV Resort is our home for the next five weeks.  This is our fourth stay at this full-service RV resort in the foothills south of Colorado Springs.  We love it here.

Our elevated site is gigantic.  We put a screen house over the picnic table to keep the bugs away, but there do not seem to be any.  

We seldom use the screen attachment on our awning, but there is plenty of room to do so here.  It filters any direct sunlight while providing a little privacy.

We have uninvited, but welcome visitors in our site most evenings and mornings.  Dianne's motion sensitive night camera lets us know who came to see us.

Mr. Fox was a bit camera shy.  We were only able to see his bushy tail.

Dianne here:  at 2:00 a.m. on our second night here, Bandido growled and woke me up.   I heard some loud growly noises and looked out the window.   In front of the RV park office lights, I saw the silhouette of mama bear and her two cubs strolling through the park.   I heard them trying to get into the dumpster (it's bear proof, so it just made noise).  I hoped they'd stroll in front of my wildlife camera, but I knew they didn't, because Bandido stopped alerting to their presence. 

 When the dogs and I accompanied Roger to the top of the hill hike Roger describes later (where the bears probably live), I wore bear bells and took bear spray just in case.  The bears are frequent visitors in the park, so we are careful not to leave our grill out at night.   I'm still hopeful they'll wander through our site in front of my camera sometime before we leave in September!

Difficult as it is to drag ourselves off of our hammock and lounge chairs, we find it difficult to stay still for too long.  Our Retama Village friends, Mike and Marian, are also staying in the park.  They greeted us when we arrived and invited us to a happy hour the next evening. 

The climate here is so different from either of our former homes (Texas/Indiana).  Mornings and early afternoons have been sunny with temperatures in the 70s, aaah.  Most days, that ends in the late afternoon/early evening when the sky over the mountains rumbles and turns dark gray.  The storms seem to pass quickly.  We did, however, have one gully washer which gave our campsite a new amenity --- a waterfall next to the hammock.

Oh, and about five minutes of hail.  Fortunately, there was no damage.

We have been taking long walks and/or interesting hikes every day.

A recurring (two mile?) walk takes us out the back of the campground onto local roads that swing around to the front entrance of the campground.  We often see wild turkeys on these walks.  We carefully listen for stone quarry trucks so we can hop off the roadway.  The views are so nice.

Another recurring walk (no this is a hike, definitely a hike) rises up from the RV park to the top of the adjacent foothill (or mini mountain from my perspective).  The grade is steep.  It is all uphill.  The views are panoramic.

We pass by the blue barn below on our frequent walks.  

So far, I have done this hike twice.  Dianne and the dogs have done it once.  It is only about a mile, but it is quite a workout for 67 year-olds.  Dianne here:   Hey, speak for yourself; I'm still 66 for three more weeks....

Going downhill requires careful foot placement.  Look what I found in a muddy patch!  We have deer, fox, wild turkeys, and bears.  

Our most interesting hike so far was the four-mile Tunnel Drive hike located near Canon City (20 miles south).  After a rise of about 500+ feet, the trail levels out for a fascinating trek along the Arkansas River.

There was quite a bit to see at the outset, including these rafters at the end of their wet adventure on the river.  Further down the trail we encountered another group paddling through the current.

The trail was named after the abandoned railroad tunnels near the beginning of the hike.  

It was so much fun to see the first one....

... and then the second.....

.... and then the dark, long and creepy third.

Soon after exiting the third tunnel, Tequila spotted an excursion train on its way to the Royal Gorge.  The passengers waved to us and we waved back.

There were several rest/water stops along the way, complete with benches, but they were all in the bright sun.

The scenery changed around every bend.

Dianne loves cairns.  The one below was kind of cool.

As we neared the end of the "in" portion of the hike, we spied an old railway bridge in the distance.

The orange spot is Roger waving

Oh, we're half way there....

Oh, oh livin' on a prayer...

Time to walk back the way we came.

The walk back was enjoyable.  We did stop more often to give the dogs water (and us).  

Dianne took the requisite flower picture.

And then, in the long, dark tunnel, something terrible happened.  An alien who must have followed us from Roswell abducted Tequila!

More to come later.

Dianne again:  No real pet photo this time, but here's another night cam of the deer, taken just after the earlier photo.   If you look in the foreground, you can see that the first deer is right in front of the camera eating grass (all you can see is its ears).  


JunieLou said...

I have lived in CO all my life and currently live in Denver and I am really enjoying your blog with all the pictures and your stories. Thanks for sharing.
BTW, I have been reading your blog for a very long time...back in whippet times. :)


Bill and Nancy said...

Seems you have an Alien Theme running through this trip...first Roswell, now poor Jasper;o(( Sure hope these are friendly aliens!!!

Your weather appears to be quite similar to ours here in is AMAZING!!! If Diane loves cairns, she would love Acadia National Park:o)) However, you have much more Wildlife!!!