Cherry Creek State Park; Aurora, Colorado

Good morning, my friends. It was a short drive to Aurora yesterday, and that meant we had a leisurely morning in Colorado Springs. We stayed until just before noon, and then headed north. While we waited, Mike and Smitty took their shadow selves out for a final walk.

Smitty was not at all sure this was a good idea. He convinced his shadow self to go back inside after just a few minutes.

While they were walking, I was busy working on my slow-stitching. There's still a long way to go on this, but I'm making progress.

Eventually, the kitties settled in for some tandem napping.

Sadie is especially skilled at this.

Eventually, it was time to move along. We caught a final glimpse of Garden of the Gods as we left Colorado Springs.

Just a little ways north, we passed by this formation. Inquiring of The Google, I learned that this is known as "Pulpit Rock." 

Pulpit Rock is a popular natural rock feature and namesake for the 500-acre Pulpit Rock Park located within the Austin Bluffs Open Space. Found within city limits, it is very easy to visit Pulpit Rock and ascend to the summit on a moderately difficult 4.2-mile loop hike. It is 6,621 feet in elevation above El Paso County, and can be seen while driving on Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Denver. 

Farther north, we could see Cathedral Rock. Cathedral Rock is a rock formation located on the U.S. Air Force Academy grounds. The formation was part of the namesake Cathedral Rock Ranch, owned by Lawrence Lehman. Lehman sold the 4650 acre ranch, including Cathedral Rock, to the U.S. Air Force, and it became the first component of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Moving on, we saw Castle Rock. It is the namesake of the town of Castle Rock, Colorado.

So it was a slow day for barns, but there was still plenty to see geology-wise. 

We ended up entering the state park through the back entrance.

As we entered, I snapped this picture of the lake and the dam. I'm assuming they're damming Cherry Creek here.

As I got out of the truck to purchase our day use passes, I caught just the tail end of this prairie dog.

This one posed for his picture more cooperatively.

The vending machines that sell day use passes were both out of order. Signage in the park was not particularly helpful and we ended up driving the entire length of the park without ever finding the campground. A sign directed us to "Visitor Center/Campground" with an arrow to the right, but we drove back out of the park and into a busy traffic area of downtown Aurora, Colorado. This never makes us happy. 

We were able to find a place to turn around, and then drove back to the park, stopping at the visitor center and asking...essentially...WTF? A very nice young man accepted our payment for two day use passes (Colorado camping fees to not include day use fees), and directed us to the campground. We found it just about five minutes later. On our way, I snapped this picture. I believe those would be the Rocky Mountains.

This seemed like another good place for Smitty to get out for a walk. While Mike was getting us hooked up outside, I got him out for a short stroll. He nibbled at the grass for just a minute, but then he wanted to go back inside. He's a little shy about a new place until he has a chance to assess the lay of the land and the placement of any nearby woofies.

We had a very  nice evening with my friend, Carol. It was my first time meeting her husband, David. He is an electrical engineer, like Mike, and so those two had plenty to talk about. Carol and I spent the evening gabbing and catching up on the 52+ years since we've seen one another. Here's a picture of the two of us.

Carol and David are going to keep us busy today. We have a plan to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Our only other trip to Rocky Mountain National Park ended when we had to run for our lives to escape rain and flooding "of biblical proportions" (the weatherman's words, not mine). It'll be good to spend a little more time there.

Carol is a fabulous wildlife photographer, and she knows the good places to go to find wildlife. As an example, she took us to a nearby trail where she'd discovered a nesting Eastern Screech Owl. I had only my cell phone with me, and this is the image I captured.

Carol had a long lens (weighing 5 lbs.) on her camera. These are the images she captured.

You might remember that I made a quilt from one of her fox images...this one:

This is the quilt I made from Carol's photo.

It was nice to see it hanging in a place of prominence above her fireplace. 

So I've charged the battery on my DSLR camera, and I'll take my longest lens. I'm hoping to get some good photos of moose and their offspring, and whatever else we might find there.

I'm planning to take a day or two off from blogging. We're going to be gone all day today, and then Mike and I are going to celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary with a nice breakfast tomorrow morning. Our next destination will be the small town of Kremmling, Colorado, and there don't seem to be any nice restaurants there. A celebratory breakfast seemed like a good alternative to dinner.

Look for me again down the road in a few days. We'll do some time-traveling, and I know I'll have plenty to tell you by then.


Barbara said...

An owl is traditionally a symbol of wisdom, so we are neither doves nor hawks but owls, and we are vigilant when others are resting. ~ Urjit Patel

Kate said...

Sounds like you have a fun day with friends planned. Hope you are able to get some great photos. Those long, long lens are really nice for wild life, but I can't handle the weight to be able to shoot without a tripod. Enjoy your anniversary breakfast.

MissPat said...

Happy Anniversary. Be careful taking pictures of the wildlife. A 70 something man was just killed by a Moose while trying to photograph her babies. I'm glad you got to visit your friend.

dgs said...

I hope you and Carol find some awesome things to photograph. I'm looking forward to seeing ANY photos and hearing any insights you can share. I've only seen prairie dogs at the San Diego Zoo and on TV. Definitely on my bucket list to see them in nature. Lastly, I want to say I hope you and Mike have a very Happy 49th Anniversary. Very special.

Sara said...

Your friend's photography skills are awesome! I'm sure you'll really enjoy your day exploring the park.

Jenny said...

How nice to meet up with your friends, and see your wall hanging in pride of place. I'm enjoying following you o your trip.

Karen said...

Kremmling used to have a very good Mexican Restaurant. We lived in Steamboat Springs 35 years and used to stop there. However I have been gone 10 years...so things change.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you and your husband a very Happy Anniversary!

piecefulwendy said...

I was just at Cherry Creek a couple of weeks ago - it's a pretty park. We had hoped to catch the sunset, but our timing got thrown off, and we got there just as the sun was sinking below the mountains. Happy 49th to you two! And so fun to see you and Carol in a photo. Bet it was fun to catch up after all those years.

Anonymous said...

I tried to send anniversary wishes to you and Mike via email, but I don‘t think it went through…so here we go again….
Happy 49th Anniversary to you and Mike!! We will celebrate our 52nd in late September…. Cannot believe all those years have gone by… just doesn‘t seem possible!
Hope you two have a great day!

Sandra B

By the way, I remember the fox project you mentioned. It is amazing!!
Take care….

Magpie's Mumblings said...

So glad you enjoyed your time with your friend, but it's even more special that you're still friends after all that time apart.
Happy Anniversary wishes to you and your sweetheart. We're coming up on 43 years in September and I'm sure you feel, like us, that it's gone by so fast.