This Week’s Stops:
- Manitou Springs
- Colorado Wines
- Hiking Opportunities Galore
- Cripple Creek
- Royal Gorge Railway
As week 4 of my LONG LONG RV trip began, I was still waiting for one credit card to catch up with me after the losing-my-wallet debacle. Likewise, I decided to spend another week in the Colorado Springs area.
Luckily the snow from Week 3 had melted. My friend did not mind if I continued “moochdocking” in her yard. There was still plenty to see and do.
The extra time in one place also allowed me to get some much-needed computer repairs done and even get a doctor’s appointment in.
Colorado hiking and “Forest Bathing”
Aside from work, I took advantage of the copious hiking opportunities in the immediate area.
For several days Budley and I hiked the Ring the Peak trail, near my friend’s house in Woodland Park. This forested trail provides breathtaking views of Pike’s Peak, which was still blanketed in snow.
I learned a new phrase in Colorado. “Forest bathing.” This trail is a great place to experience it.
No actual disrobing or bathing is required, just soaking in the powerful and peaceful energy of the forest. We definitely did that on the Ring the Peak trail.
On several other days, we went to nearby Colorado Springs.
My friend owns an assisted living facility there and directly outside the door were some of the hiking trails of Palmer Park.
This park is ENORMOUS and unlike any other city park I have ever seen in both its scope and varied geography.
In the afternoons we hit the hiking trails and were well-rewarded with panoramic views below in all directions.
The hills and mountains of Palmer Park provided a good workout without being overly challenging. Of course, since everything in this area is at altitude, even regular hikers can expect some fitness level adjustments.
Memories of Manitou Springs
Another evening I wandered the streets of Manitou Springs.
Small Colorado towns tend to be picturesque in an Old West sort of way, but this one takes it to new levels. That’s because it is a tourist center with lots of nearby attractions including the scenic Manitou Springs Cog Railway and the famous Cliff Dwellings.
I remembered visiting all these attractions with my parents when I was a young child. So the stroll down the quaint tourist-shop-lined streets of Manitou Springs was indeed Memory Lane for me.
When it came time for dinner, I chose to pass on the vacation hotspot area and opted instead to go to the nearby town of Cascade.
I had earlier spotted a restaurant called “Wines of Colorado” and since I like wine but knew little about Colorado wines, decided to check it out. It was a good decision.
You can’t see it from the road, but the restaurant is situated alongside a gorgeous running creek that would be at home in a Coor’s ad.
The menu was simple, mostly burgers, but good ones. However, my introduction to Colorado wines was amazing.
Wines of Colorado offers an ENORMOUS selection from all over the state. Many are available by the glass, some are by the bottle, and there are tasting flights, too.
I got recommendations from my charming waiter and loved every one of his choices. He based those choices on what I told him about my general taste in wines and he did an excellent job picking wines that I would like.
Yes, this California girl was impressed with the Colorado wines.
Up on Cripple Creek
Another cute small town that merits a visit, especially if you are a fan of casinos, is Cripple Creek.
Gambling is the attraction here and the Western-style main street offers lots of options. However, the area is small enough to easily cover it all on foot.
This is a tourist area, so you will also find the typical array of T-shirt and souvenir shops as well as restaurants and hotels (most attached to casinos).
As we walked the streets, the sounds of The Band’s “Cripple Creek” starting playing in my head, and I had an earworm for about a week! “Up on a Cripple Creek, … a drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
We ended the week with a family and friends outing for dinner on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, a 2-hour train trip through some of Colorado’s most spectacular scenery.
Visitors can choose from breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner excursions, and there are options from casual to fine dining. Beer, wine and cocktails are also on the menu.
While enjoying the food and drink, you’ll take in the same scenes that greeted passengers on this historic railroad for decades.
You’ll meander through the Rockies while paralleling the Arkansas River (a popular rafting destination) into the spectacular Royal Gorge before returning back to yet another charming small Colorado town, Cañon City.
Extra kudos go to the staff who played John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” at just the right moment as we were entering the steep stone-walled gorge. It made the magical moment even more magical.
We went home with full eyes and hearts (not to mention stomachs) after the relaxing evening on the slow moving train.
The Long Long RV Trip: Time to move on
The snow of my second week had melted and the mountains, hills, and meadows were sporting vibrant green coats.
Much as I was enjoying my time in Colorado, I knew it was soon time to hit the road. My last credit card finally caught up with me and I made plans to head east the next day. But that’s a story for next week.
NEXT WEEK: Historic Carousel plus We ARE in Kansas: Oz and Eisenhower Museums and Amazing Low-Cost Lakeside RVing with Hookups!
Did you find the Donkeys in Cripple Creek? Descendants of the old mining days turned loose when the lines died out. We always look for them, they like to open gates to back yards and gardens!!
I did not see the donkeys, no. But on our drive that day we did see deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.