so, the longer i live in colorado, the more i realize what a kick ass state it is there is so much to do here and so much can be done in a day trip. so here is what my wife and i did today....
in Manitou Springs (near colorado springs), there are 3 major points of interest; the cliff dwellings, cave of the winds, and garden of the gods. so we set out to do all 3...
we started at the cave dwellings.
these dwellings were built into the side of a mountain and they were built between 1100-1300 a.d. the tour is all self guided and you can walk inside everything.
several more pics from the outside.
at the top of this pic is artwork that has survived.
this was a small house that several people lived in. the bowl looking things are were they ground up corn.
looking into a room.
small passage way that leads into more living spaces.
these dwellings were multiple stories. many of which were about 4-5 feet tall.
there are placards all over the site that explain the history of each room/area. this area was for all their trash. they would also pen turkeys in here for them to feed on the trash. also, when someone died, they would briefly store them here.
same "trash" room, but without the flash. the rooms are pretty dark and are about 20 degrees cooler than outside.
looking through a window to the outside.
again, looking through a window.
this was a ceremonial chamber with a fire pit in the middle.
storage areas off to the side of the chamber.
these dwellings were a maze of corridors and obscure pathways and doors.
corridor leading into another chamber.
the cylindrical building was a guard/lookout tower. the interrior used to have a spiral staircase with a platform on the top.
this 2 story building housed 4 families. there is a ladder leading up to a platform for the entracne to the 2nd floor. that opening is actually a doorway. you have to fold yourself in half to get through it. the rooms were maybe 7x7 feet.
inside one of the rooms.
looking out of the turkey roost room.
ladder leading down to another room.
the people who lived here must have been really small
this pueblo was built in 1894 and was inhabited until 1984. it is now the gift shop (be sure to buy some fudge there. its really good ).
how the site looked in 1908.
here is a short video of some of the interrior areas.
so, our next stop was cave of the winds. i highly recommend that you do the tours here if you ever have a chance. it is totally worth it. they have several different tours with varying levels of difficulty and duration. we did the easy tour that last about 1 hour. some of the other tours require a 24-48 hour reservation/advanced purchase. one of the tours is led in total darkness and everyone gets a lantern to light the way. my wife and i will come back for that one.
the caves are always at 54 degrees and get very dark, very quickly. this is leading done into one of the passages. can you see the people at the bottom of the stairs?
there they are.
the caves have tons of features and formations. here is 1 of the many stalactites.
this is a medium width passage way.
there are some very tight spaces. many are under 4 feet tall and less than 2 feet wide.
this view is actually straight up. that is a ladder leading up to another chamber. we couldnt go there
the dude on the lower right is our tour guide, Nathan. this is the first time i blinded him with the flash the flash from cameras really is blinding because the caves are very dim with a small amount of ambient lighting.
there are many steep stairways.
hah... this was the first time (of many) that i blinded this dude with the flash.
there are many little side passages that lead off into the darkness.
we are getting to narrower and tighter areas.
these are stalactites on the ceiling. they are protected by this mesh because the ceiling is only 4 feet high and you are not allowed to touch anything.... oh ya... i forgot to mention. if you touch any feature in the cave, you are fined $2500 and your drivers license will be suspended for 1 year. they are serious about it.... hands off.
hehe...*click* blinded this guy again.... he was starting to get pissed
this was the narrowest passage we encountered. it was about a foot wide as i could barely stand with my feet across the path. notice how bright this is with the flash.
here is the same shot without the flash with a nearby ambient light source. it was very dark throughout the tour
very, very steep stairway up to the next chamber. ohhh... and i blinded him again
i blinded Nathan again here. also look at the lady on the lower left. i can almost hear her say, "oh boy, here goes Mr Clicky with the flash again."
so. with the flash you can see all of this chamber.
here is the same shot without the flash.
these used to meet, but the ground had shifted at one point and broke them apart.
there were tons of awesome formations in here.
more with the formations.
looking straight up at the ceiliing.
a very long stalactite.
these features formed into what looked like a miniature city.
this set of stairs leads to the "lantern tour" where its all pitch black and everyone gets a lantern to find their way.
descent into another chamber.
another very narrow and tight passage. we almost had to crouch down to get through. ohh.. and that dude fricken stunk like BO. we could barely breathe due to his odor seriously, how hard is it to put on deoderant?
another passage into who knows where...
again, passage into darkness.
finally, this was a climbing course outside. the far end hangs over the 1000 foot cliff. everyone has a harness and safety cable. its a cool way to pass the time since the wait to get onto the tour was about 45 minutes.
after the cave of the winds, we headed to garden of the gods. we had planned to look around longer than we did, but we were getting tired and it was starting to rain. here is the only pic that we took there.
again, you can do so much in colorado and my wife and i love it here.
thanks for looking