Saturday, May 9, 2015

Colorado Springs: Wet and Wild and Beautiful!

We drove from Trinidad, CO to Colorado Springs in the rain and the rain has hardly let up in the four days we've been here...and we're expecting more! We'd hoped to spend our 10 day stay here hitting the many trails around this city but the muddy conditions have put a damper on that.

We're staying at Cheyenne Mountain State Park and, despite the weather, this park is gorgeous! The camping loops are terraced on the lower portion of Cheyenne Mountain. Our site has a view on one side that looks East towards the plains for at least 50 miles, and our view to the West is of Cheyenne Mountain looming above us. The park is exceptionally green and deer and turkey are abundant.

During a lull in the rain we walked the campground and stared longingly at the muddy trails.

These two seemed to be posing for the camera.

This young bunny lives under the stairs leading to our sitting area.

We had a doozy of a lighting storm early in our stay. From our site we could watch the plains East of Colorado Springs as they endured a deluge and dozens of lighting strikes for several hours.

Hans stood outside under very dark skies and actually caught a lighting flash in the distance....
while I watched from the safety of the RV with my heart in my throat!

Much later that evening the sky put on an unusual show at sunset.

One morning when the ground had had several hours to absorb the rain we ventured out on some of the 20 miles of trails at the State Park. The lower level trails were still pretty muddy in spots, but the higher we went, the better it got. The shoe clean up afterwards was worth the effort!



We saw a flock of at least a dozen turkeys.
We could hear their gobbles often as the trails meandered over the hills.


We managed to get in almost four miles before the skies darkened once again
and we hurried back to the RV as thunder crackled a few miles away.

There are lots of spotted towhees in the park.

One afternoon we stopped by the downtown visitor center and, leaving our truck in their free parking lot, walked to the free Pioneers Museum. The museum is located in the lovely old courthouse building and has displays about local history including a sobering tribute to the Waldo Canyon fire in 2013.

Former Colorado Springs courthouse, now the Pioneers Museum.

Colorado Springs was once a popular place to "take the cure" for consumption, or tuberculosis,
due to its clean air and average 300 days of sunshine per year.
These rules for tuberculosis recovery certainly apply to every day life!

We were impressed with all the art scattered around and how clean downtown Colorado Springs was.
Here, the bronze pig and Porsche caught my eye.

Following our downtown stroll we met up with fellow full timers Rick and Lenore. Lenore writes the wonderful Dancing Cross the Country blog and lately they have their hands full with their adorable golden retriever puppy, Honey.

There are quite a few breweries in Colorado Springs and Bristol Brewing happens to be fairly close to our State Park making it a perfect place for a meetup. On the day we visited they were releasing Cheyenne Canon Pinon Nut Brown Ale, a tasty brew whose proceeds were going to support new trails at Cheyenne Canon...Colorado Springs loves their outdoor recreation and so do we! Bristol Brewing has a neat venue, it's located in an old elementary school, kind of reminded us of the McMennamin's brew pubs in the Pacific Northwest.

Rick, Lenore, Lisa and Hans after tasty brews and eats, along with gypsy music at Bristol Brewing.

Family photo! Lenore and Rick with sweet five month old Honey.

Yesterday the weather got REALLY exciting! After raining all morning, we suddenly had 3 inches of hail in about 10 minutes. Inside the RV the sound was deafening, we were on the phone with my parents when it started and had to hang up because we could not hear anything other than the pounding on the roof! Fortunately the hail never got larger than pea-sized and we did not suffer any damage.

View from our doorway after the hailstorm!




Soon after it stopped the campground snow plow was hard at work,
this was about 3pm, the time of day when RV's are streaming in for the night.

The crazy weather isn't over yet. As I write this we are holed up in the RV, it is pouring rain and some hail, lightning is striking quite nearby, and snow is in the overnight forecast. It's scary exciting!

28 comments:

  1. I can't believe the weather you two are experiencing! We have had snow in the mountains which has been a damper on the hikes we were planning at higher elevation. That looks like a lovely campground. I will be bookmarking it for our next visit to CO. So glad to hear that you did not experience any hail damage to your rig. It must have been scary to sit through a hailstorm wondering what you might find after the storm moved through.

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    1. LuAnn, this is by far the nicest state park we have ever stayed at! So far, Colorado does state parks very well!

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  2. Lisa - live the excellent lightning and sunset photos. We are west of you near Villa Grove, Colorado. Beautiful valley. We wondered how you were doing when we heard severe weather was heading your way. We spent much of yesterday and today inside our van listening to the rain, hail, snow and thunder. Too warm for it to stick. This is May right?

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    1. You know we anticipated the chance of snow in May in CO...but according to locals this is unusual to have days and days and days of rain in May!

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  3. Good grief!! I'm happy for the precipitation that the west really needs but what weather you are having. Glad you can stay for a while to wait it out hopefully and that the hail did no damage. We hit some in Oklahoma one year and it pitted poor Ruby all over. Also glad you were able to get on on the trails at least a little. The park is really beautiful. Good thing if what I've heard about their prices is true.

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    1. It seems CO must actually invest the fees they charge into their state parks, because it really is a nice park!

      Fingers crossed we make out of this state without any weather damage!

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  4. OK! I am going to quit complaining about the weather here in Kanab. It was 36 degrees this morning, rain mixed with a little snow. I am very happy that the hail stayed small and didn't damage your roof. This has been a crazy month of May.

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    1. :-) Locals tell us this is unusual, all the rain, rain, rain.

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  5. What a beautiful and fun read Lisa. I love the wild iris, the snowplow right by your home is way cool, and man oh man how I have tried to photo a lightening strike...go Hans! I don't usually suggest things to do, but we really enjoyed The Crags hike when we were ther last summer. Hope your weather clears up next week!

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    1. Thanks for the tip. The weather is going to determine our access to the mountains unfortunately. We may have to come back through this area some other year in order to do all the things we wanted to do!

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  6. My finger crossed also for you two ! Fabulous pictures, but let's hope this crazy weather is over. Glad you get to walk a bit, the park looks great, put it on my list.

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    1. Hopefully we'll get a couple days reprieve from the wet before we have to leave!

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  7. We lived in Co. Springs for four years. To have days of rain like what you've been experiencing is unusual. That state park is pretty new (less than 10 years) and we haven't checked it out yet. We've heard nice things about it. Hope the weather clears so you can enjoy the beauty of the area.

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    1. This park is awesome! Oh, we are still enjoying the area...just not the wild parts yet!

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  8. Yikes, that is a lot of hail...

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    1. We'd never been in such a storm, it was freaky!

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  9. Great shots of the stormy skies - and congrats to Hans on catching the strike! I love the one of Hans on the trail (just a little mud)) The way that pig is looking at the flying car, there has to be some flying pig reference there........? I think the dog sign behind you four is accurate as well, in this case more than one character :-) That stretch of untouched white before the plow is really beautiful. Hope it clears up soon.

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    1. Characters! Ha! It's been a wild few days...but that's what life is all about! A little excitement in a beautiful town!

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  10. Despite the weather, Colorado Springs does look beautiful and it looks like you're having a great time. What a wild hailstorm! Glad nothing was damaged.

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    1. Colorado Springs IS a pretty darn nice city. We're really glad we came here despite the weather!

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  11. This certainly hasn't been hiker weather! These thunderstorms make hiking any canyon or wash so dangerous. Very short high hikes haven been the norm until the last couple days which were total washouts. Our weather turns finally on Monday!! Hope yours follows along:) At least you are in an area with other activities. The down side of Torrey is that EVERYTHING is outside. No museums or shops here and the neat drives are on dirt roads. Oh, well, we are enjoying ourselves:)

    That photo with the plow really shows the depth of the hail. So glad there wasn't any damage:) What an awesome and unique sunset. Great catch!

    Despite the weather you have had lots of wildlife sightings. Does Rosie realize the bunny lives under the steps?

    Let's hope we have better weather when we all get together:)

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    1. Good point about Torrey being so tiny, there's not much to do. I remember a really neat little coffee/book store where we hung out one yucky day.

      Rosie getting bored with all the rabbits! Our last half dozen stops have had bunnies galore!

      It's gotta be better by the end of May!

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  12. We really liked the Colorado Springs area. Too bad the weather is keeping your off all the trails.

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    1. This is a great town....sooooooo many trails, so little time! ;-)

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  13. That is CRAZY weather you're having! The park looks really beautiful and it seems as though you're making the best of the exciting storms. Hopefully it will clear up for you soon so that you can get out on the trails. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs looks like an interesting town. So glad to know that your rig wasn't damaged by the hail storm.

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    1. We were really lucky. I think you guys would enjoy this town too!

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  14. You did such a thorough job describing our experience of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain that I'm just going to refer readers to your post. Thanks again for the photos. I reused them. Heard St. Vrain was flooded. You might want to check it out before you head that way. See you down the track!

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    1. :-) I'm so glad we had an opportunity to get together. And your little girl is a sweetie!

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