Doug & Barbara Peterson

Doug & Barbara Peterson
Barbara & I at a scenic overlook on the skyline drive in the Rocky Mountain National Park, 8-13-2016

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Storrie Lake State Park, Las Vegas, NM

Located just north of Las Vegas, NM, Storrie Lake is a popular park where locals enjoy the waters of Storrie Lake. New Mexico State Parks are very reasonably priced and well maintained. We enjoyed are stay visiting historic Las Vegas, NM that is well known for several movies that have been filmed here.

Storrie Lake with the foothills of the Rocky's in the background
Our Campsite at Storrie Lake
The Plaza Hotel in the historic district of Las Vegas, NM
Art work on the town plaza park
Building used as the sheriff's office in the Netflix series Longmire

The historic Santa Fe railroad depot in Las Vegas, NM
During our stay we visited the Montezuma Hot Springs in the foot hills not far from Storrie Lake. The hot springs were set back from the road and were quit nice with many pools of different temperatures.

We found the hot spring water to be quit therapeutic as we relaxed enjoying the surrounding scenery with a back drop of the Montezuma Castle which is home to the United World College.   

Montezuma Hot Spring Pools

Various Wildflowers were abundantly bluming in the area 
Montezuma Castle home to the United World Collage.
We enjoyed our stay at Storrie Lake State Park, our last stop in the lovely mountain states of New Mexico and Colorado before heading back home to Florida. As the sun set over Storrie Lake the last night of our stay I felt blessed to have had so many great experiences in the majestic Rocky Mountains. I always a little bit of my heart out here when we leave for home.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Mueller State Park near Cripple Creek, CO

Mueller State Park is located high up in the Rocky Mountains at 9,600 feet just north of  Cripple Creek, CO. Mueller State Park is one of the nicest state parks in Colorado with electric, water, clean restrooms and beautiful views of the Pikes Peak range. 

Our Campsite at Mueller State Park
Our site was expansive with granite boulders framing our campsite
Visitors Center has extensive displays and an auditorium
Comfort Station with coin laundry and pay showers
Mueller State Park has great hiking trails. We took day hikes each of the three days we camped out here. Each one was unique with beautiful views of mountain valleys and Pikes Peak mountain range to the east of the park  

Views from the Wipita Nature Trail near the Visitors Center at Mueller State Park

The views from the Lost Still Trail, a 1.6 mile trail was a pleasant hike with views of the Lost Cabin, a abandoned structure that was used by ranchers many years ago.

The Lost Cabin 

View of the Pikes Peak mountain range from Lost Cabin

The Peak View Trail was a 2.1 mile trail that looped around through mountain meadows and groves of Ponderosa Pine. We ended up at Lost Pond not far from where we parked our car at the start of our hike.

View of the Pikes Peak from the Peak View Trail
Mountain Meadows common on the Peak View Trail
This wild flower was interesting glistening in the summer sun

Beautiful Mountain wild flowers were all around us in the meadows
Horse back rider we meet on the trail who enjoys riding in these beautiful mountians
Lost Pond
My final hike the last day of our stay at Mueller State Park was a one mile round trip up to Grouse Mountain. The views from up at the top of the 9,843 foot summit were spectacular.

Highest point in Mueller State Park

View of Pikes Peak from the Grouse Mountain Overlook
Close up with my zoom lens of the visitors center at the summit of Pikes Peak
You could see for miles from the summit of Grouse Mountain
We took a afternoon trip to Cripple Creek to explore this old gold mining town with casinos that line the town's main street. We enjoyed a ride on the narrow gauge railroad, The Cripple Creek and Victor RR, that runs along the ridges past old and current gold mining operations.

The Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge RR

One of the trains returning from the run through the mountain ridges

The gambling town of Cripple Creek as seen from the rails

Old abandoned mine

Large active strip mine near Victor, CO as seen from the rails.

During our visit at Cripple Creek we stopped at the Heritage Museum located on the outskirts of the town overlooking some of old abandoned gold mines and one active oned, the Mollie Kathleen gold mine. Visitors can tour the Mollie Kathleen gold mine which is a treat that I was not able to do as we were limited for time during our visit.  

The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
Hill side view of the Mollie Kathleen gold mine

We will come back to Mueller State Park in our future visits to this area. It is always nice to spend time here to cool off before returning to the hot and humid FL. The highs during our visit were in the mid 70's with lows in the 50's making for great sleeping weather and lovely hiking conditions.

Double Rainbow the last night at Mueller State Park

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Trip 2018, Diamond RV Park, Woodland Park, CO and surrounding area

Woodland Parks, CO. is just west of Colorado Springs, CO very near Pikes Peak and not far from the Garden of the Gods. Diamond RV Park is family owned and has full hookups in a nice wooded area. We were looking for a campground in a centrally located area not very far from the interesting places that we plan to visit. In this post I will be describing with images and narrative our experiences exploring the special scenery and local attractions that make this area dynamic. The campground was very clean with nice restrooms & showers.

Common area for special events

Tent camping area

Lots of wooded areas where deer and an occasional bear can be seen

Our Campsite 

The first day we explored the Garden of the Gods and walked along the historic district in nearby Manitou Springs, CO. 

Garden of the Gods

Rock climbers have special permits 

We saw many rock climbers during our visit

Manitou and Pikes Peak incline steam locomotive
There are several natural springs in Manitou Springs where visitors can fill up their containers
The historic Cliff House Hotel
Murals are common in Manitou Springs

The second day in Woodland Park we drove up the toll road to Pikes Peak. This was quit the experience with stunning vistas and dizzying heights. We paid 15 dollars apiece for the toll which was well worth it. The road is paved all the way to the top with crystal clear reservoirs in the foothills. 

The 14,115ft Summit at Pikes Peak
The plaque commemorating the explorer Zebulon Pike at the summit

The views from the summit are breathtaking

The famous Cog Railway was not running this year as the tracks are being restored and repaired. We had made this journey up to the peak on the Cog railway many years ago. It is a real treat and I highly recommend doing so once the project is completed in the next several years.

The Cog Railway station on the summit at Pikes Peak

The Tracks fall steeply leaving the station

The cogs in the track make it possible to climb this mountain
On the drive up we experienced great scenery.

Crystal Creek Reservoir 

The lakes in this area are man made for the most part

Pikes Peak for Crystal Creek Reservoir 

Wonderful Vista's all along the drive up to Pikes Peak

Parking area about 2 miles from the summit. Shuttles brought visitors up to the summit
from here. 
Mountain Goats near the summit 

Visitors often climb the rock formations to get better views

Just before the toll gate leading to Pikes Peak is the amusement park, The North Pole. Seniors over 60 can get in free here. We enjoyed a bit of Christmas in July. Many families bring their children here to enjoy the many rides.

We had a wonderful time visiting the sites near Woodland Park, CO. The best part is we camped out high in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains at 8,500 feet with majestic mountains all around and cool temperatures that are a pleasant change from the heat and humidity of Florida, where we live.