Colorado Springs - September 2021

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On a mid-September Saturday I flew to Colorado Springs, Co., staying for three nights, in order to enjoy a partial family reunion.    

Doris & Mary, two of my three sisters, live in the Springs. Doris & Paul recently moved into a new custom home, with a great back-porch view of the Garden of the Gods scenic area, and, Pike's Peak, at elev. 14,115 ft. 

In the last few years, Mary & Roger razed an old home in a classy mid-town neighborhood, expanded the building pad, and created a comfortable modern home, with a spacious back yard.    

Brother Don drove up from Las Cruces, NM on Sunday. Our other sister, Theresa, who lives in Scottsdale, AZ made concert reservations at Las Vegas months before and did not attend.

However, our cousin Tom & his wife Mary Sue from Richmond, Va., did attend, arriving on Monday night for a two-night stay at Doris and Paul's.

I arrived late afternoon and checked in at a hotel I've stayed in before. It was a five-minute drive to Doris & Paul's, for Saturday dinner, and Mary was there, too. Roger was at home recovering from minor surgery.  

note - you can zoom into any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

back porch look at Pike's Peak see note simplified southwest style

note - in the first two photos look for prominent sandstone formations (in shadow) which formations are in the Garden of the Gods scenic area.

On Sunday morning four of us met at the nearby Ute Valley trailhead. The walk was technical at first but became easier. We saw many hikers & mountain bikers out on this four mile loop walk. 

Ute Valley Mary, Doris & Paul a prolific late-season bloomer western sunflower
  deep blue skies are normal here, see note Pike's Peak in the background easy terrain  

note - Colorado Springs is at elevation 6,500 ft. and has excellent air quality, so sunlight is intense & sunscreen is advised.   

Afterwards D & P and I enjoyed lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Then I returned to the hotel for one or two hours. Mid-afternoon Paul & I had an enjoyable drive through local terrain which I had never seen before, including Palmer Park, an impressive old estate, and Kissing Camels, an upscale neighborhood, sometimes with dramatic terrain & views.     

better look at the sandstone formations modern style in  the Kissing Camels neighborhood Garden of the Gods adjacent Palmer Park
  Palmer Castle, see note   Pike's Peak

note - see the Epilogue page below for historical info about Palmer.

On Sunday night at Mary & Roger's all of us (plus Alex & Crystal) enjoyed Mary's extensive salad materials and grilled salmon. I liked their new house and the back yard is shady on fall afternoons & evenings, a great orientation. 

giant Elm tree Kokopele refurbished Maytag washing machine 
repurposed, too Roger's Adirondack chairs, made with antique skis

On a somewhat chilly Monday morning Mary and I walked four sides of a one square mile property, the Black Forest nature area, a great chance to talk. The start of fall seemed to be in the air. 

While the words Black Forest may conjure up a sense of old world romance (or maybe, ham), this woods is simply a mile-high Pine barren. It comes close to supporting no under-story at all. 

Mary's black bear-like dog Mackenzie is a slobbery emotionalist. He amuses us by pacing around restlessly when riding in a car, becoming very vocal, introducing a doggie-operatic element.  

Black Forest Mackenzie a walk in the woods White sagebrush

Afterwards, back in mid-town, Mary & I had lunch at Stir, a former gas station & now a restaurant, with a modern vibe, strong coffee & an innovative menu. The view is of cars parked at a modest shopping center.  

Stir is doggie-friendly and serves giant bones to chew on, so Mackenzie is a happy dog here.     

On Monday night, Mary & Don & I were at Doris and Paul's again, having dinner with visitors Tom & Mary Sue once they arrived & settled in.

They stayed at D&P's downstairs guest quarters for two nights, prior to an extended driving excursion to mountain towns like Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte, finally to Moab, Utah. A few hikes were in there, although these are steep terrain areas.

Those of us who live out west had at least five minutes' worth of positive comments to make about the charming old-town part of Crested Butte. 

This group photo, taken with my camera, came out so-so. On the auto setting, bright light in the background prevented the flash from activating & I should have set it to mandate flash usage. I'm hoping to get a better group picture version from cousin Tom, who was using a flash.   

Tom is 2nd from left  

Summary - My trip to the Springs was enjoyable. It felt good to be flying again and to interact with a mob of strangers, like intersecting vectors, at four different airports. 

Every passenger had to wear a face mask and I saw no malcontents, nor was anyone wearing any political stuff on hats or shirts, a totally unexpected & refreshing surprise.   

Photo dept. - I mainly took scenery shots and few family photos. It was, after all, on vacation & enjoyed having conversations with no camera intrusion.

Besides, there are plenty of family photos to be seen on older web pages, like the two wedding-related visits in 2018/19 to Colorado Springs & Las Cruces, NM (see the index). 

All photos were taken with a Canon G16.

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Epilogue - Wm. Jackson Palmer (1836- 1909) from Delaware became a brevet brigadier general during the Civil War. Later he was an industrialist and eventually (once wealthy) a philanthropist. When he first moved out west (in 1871) he founded the Kansas Pacific RR and then the Denver-Rio Grande RR companies, later bought by Union Pacific RR.

Palmer was a Quaker and believed in Temperance and he founded the city of Colorado Springs in 1871 as a "dry" town. Later he funded local schools and Colorado College, plus TB hospitals and a school for the deaf & blind. Besides the Springs, he also founded Salida, Alamosa, and Durango, Co., initially just train re-fueling & watering stops on his rail lines.  

When he died in 1909, at age 72, a local journalist wrote that he was "an ardent pacifist, humanitarian, and champion of preserving wild lands at a time when conservation was almost unheard of."   

All info about Wm. Palmer is from Wikipedia.