Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cripple Creek

Yesterday I decided to take the family on a ride after Aubrey's nap. I have been trying to get to know the area really well for recreation activities like camping, biking, fishing, hunting and climbing. (By the way, in Colorado you can't get a hunting or fishing license until you've been a resident for 6 months. Booooooo! That means no hunting or fishing in Colorado for me this year.)
In some of the books I have been reading through, they mention a dirt road that goes from Colorado Springs around the south side of Pikes Peak to an old gold rush town called Cripple Creek. I was really excited to get out and in the mountains to see what the area had to offer.
After getting lost for an hour trying to find the road, we finally began our ascent into the mountains on the upper Gold Camp Road. The road is closed for a short section between the lower Gold Camp road and the upper and has a detour we didn't know about. But we still really enjoyed the roads we got lost on: The Lower Gold Camp road and High Drive.
We drove up and up for quite awhile and then we were rewarded with some amazing views of Colorado Springs and the plains.

The mountains were looking great yesterday and the aspens looked like such a bright green set against the dark pines and the red dirt.

These next two pictures are to serve as proof that I'm not a yuppie (maybe I'll do a post later on yuppies, ick). Many people now days buy SUV's simply for symbolic value. They have become such a status quo item that it's kind of annoying. Many of the owners of the Hummers, Jeep Rubicons and other SUV's never even take them off of pavement. They would rather drive around town in a vehicle that comes stock equipped to travel many of the 4-wheel trails in moab just to show off their wealth rather than use it for what it was engineered and designed to do. They drive along sipping their Starbucks coffee, never daring to let the tires of their expensive ride see dirt or rock. These are the people that annoy me and I hope to never be mistaken for them.
So, on the way up I found this side trail that looked like a fantastic place to break in our Pathfinder. After all, that's what it does, right? Find paths?

Lisa wasn't as excited about it as I was, but she went along for the ride anyway like a good sport. Although not as impressive as a jeep or old school landcruiser, I was quite pleased with our "family" car. Let's see a minivan do this!

We saw this younger buck off to the side of the road in his velvet glory. Although still young, you can see he has the potential to be a real bruiser.

The Gold Camp Road was originally used by miners to transport their gold from Cripple Creek down to Colorado Springs. It was one of the most productive gold rushes in the history of the United States. It's mind boggling how much gold they pulled out of there. They upgraded to trains eventually and had to carve out tunnels in the mountains. Here is a picture of one of the few that remains intact and has not collapsed. They were pretty cool to drive through.

After enjoying the amazing scenery along the road we finally came out into Cripple Creek. The main roads were all blocked off and we decided to see what the hub-bub was all about. As we strolled along main street with the kids we discovered that they were having their summer festival.

There were all sorts of activities going on and the kids loved the live folk music. I tried to get Lisa to dance to it, but alas she refused :(
All in all it was a great day for driving, sight seeing and enjoying the town of Cripple Creek. I plan on going back up next week when they have the Donkey Races. Anyone else want to come?


Lisa said...

Beautiful! I miss the mountains!

Karen, Mackay & Easton said...

looks like a fun ride! I need to come out there for looks like an awesome place... =)

AJ said...

Hey, stop knocking mini-vans! Honestly though, glad you are getting good use out of your car. I agree on the yuppie thing. Perhaps not as passionate about it as you are, but that was a reason we bought a Minivan instead of an SUV. It would live a sad "dirt pathless" existence.

Your second picture reminded me of those old "Like a Rock" Chevy commercials, where they would be going over rocks and stuff. Anyway, they did a commercial like that for their Astro van and I laughed SOOOO hard because it looked like a walrus doing ballet. I'm sure your car looks much more elegant than that, but I was just reminded of that memory when I saw the photos.

Jansen said...

Sweet ride! Don't think the Corolla could make it through that in one piece...We're hoping to make it into the ranks of the two car families this week with the purchase of a pseudo-SUV Honda Element. I'm willing to wager it can take on any mounta...err...hills that Oklahoma has to offer.

Susan said...

Well, this just made my day! I was blog jumping from friend links and I actually found someone I know! :) How are you?!! I only get little snippets of your family's news from your mom when I'm in town and go to the home ward. That's so exciting that you guys graduated from dental school - what an accomplishment! We still have quite a ways to go in med school - Ben's about to start his 4th year, but then we still have 3 years of residency after that. So fun! :) I have a blog too -
Hope to hear from you! It's so fun to find you in the blogosphere ;)

Susan said...

BTW - your kids are adorable! They seem to be close in age to my two little girls - Emma turned 3 in February and Becca turned 1 in April.

AJ said...

Sorry you didn't get the blog switch notification Lisa. I sent it to Cody's e-mail on May 18th so blame him! ;)

Susan said...

Hey! Me again... :) Thanks for your comment - it's fun that our kids are so close in age! You asked how I found you - well, that's kind of complicated. I was looking at the Thomas's blog (our good friends here at school) and was clicking around from her links - clicking on names that I recognize thinking that it might be someone I know - anyway, I went through like 3 blogs, jumping around like that before I found yours. My philosophy is that we are all connected through 4 blogs or less. ;) Anyway, you should try it sometime! It's a small world in the church and even smaller among lds bloggers. :)

Garrett & Jilayne said...

looks like you have been out exploring and enjoying your new area. how is your ward and the new people around you guys? Friendly???

Burnhams said...

looks like you guys are enjoying it out there! Cute pics. Looks like fun!

lucy said...

I like the pictures of your vehicle. Very cool. It reminds me of when Chris and I went to hike up Lone Peak and we parked as close as we could to the trailhead. He took my tercel (heehee) up the dirt road making sure he didn't fall into the ditches made by the run offs. It was like a tight rope. This is why we are on our 5th car.