Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Birds in KS

Besides a huge flock of Starlings, we saw some grackles. I was happy to look this bird up and be able to identify it now! It has a dark body, bluish head, and yellow eyes.

I was also trying to get a shot of a fat robin in my in-law's yard. Well, Alexandra wanted to give it a try. It was cold out and I loved watching her patiently take photo after photo of this robin. She was even in a skirt, short sleeves, and I think I finally made her put some shoes on! She got this pretty good shot by the fence. I'm so happy she's enjoying "birding" like I am!

Snow in Kansas!!!

In Kansas, we had about 4 inches of snow! Alexandra's only played in snow a couple of times before, so this was wonderful. (Even though it melted by the end of the day.)

Unfortunately, it was a very dry snow and didn't make a snowman very well, but we tried! Here's a photo of our "snow ghost" being examined by our dog, Pandy.

Colorado Vacation: Wednesday

On Wednesday of our vacation, we first went to Focus on the Family's Visitor Center. Alexandra really enjoys Adventures in Odyssey, so she enjoyed the elevator "disguised" as Imagination Station - the time machine. And, she went "through the wardrobe" into "Narnia."

Next we went up Pike's Peak on the Cog Railway. We enjoyed some wonderful homemade doughnuts at the top, but we were glad we were only up there for a short time. It was really cold and the high altitude made me a little wobbly. (Photo in front of America the Beautiful poem which was inspired by Pike's Peak.)

Our last trip for the day was into Cave of the Winds. This was Alexandra's first cave ever! (My camera didn't like the cave very much, but we did buy the "professional" photo they made - it was good.) Alexandra was worried as the told us there was a $25,000 fine if you touched the cave walls! Her hands went in her pockets and stayed there most of the time.

Friday, April 6, 2007


I saw several of these adorable black and white birds while we were in The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. I tried so hard to get a good photo, but they weren't very cooperative. We saw several more while at the gold mines. My mother-in-law was able to remember its name today - it's a Magpie! You can google for better photos, but I was so happy to see, hear, and now identify this bird!

Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine

Another tour we all loved was the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. I'd been on the tour about 11 years ago, but it has changed greatly.

Here's a photo of one of the old mine buildings. I think it's beautiful.

Here are Nana and Alexandra on an old rail. They did give us seats instead of having us ride in an old cart. This was like an incredible amusement ride! We went riding along the tracks - it was even dark part of the time.

This was our tour guide showing us the rope signals. He was a great guide. He'd actually worked in the mines for about 20 years in the 70's and 80's. I want to read more about these gold mines. The stories he told us about miners and the gold were fascinating. I did buy a book, so I'll share some more after I read it.

Royal Gorge

On Tuesday, we drove to Royal Gorge which is about an hour from Colorado Springs. This was our first chilly day. Alexandra REALLY wanted to ride the aerial tram. Nana and I weren't too sure about it, but we went with her and really enjoyed it. Above is a view from the tram - it's a LONG way down!

We walked across the bridge later. Here's a photo of it from the tram.

They had a few animals there, but my favorite was this rare white buffalo.

Here's a photo of the 3 of us on the bridge taken by another visitor to the Royal Gorge. The bridge was actually a little scarier than the tram. There are some pretty large gaps between the boards that you can see through. Also, when a car would cross the bridge, the whole thing would shake for a minute or two.

A view of the river through a crack in the bridge.

Signs on the bridge.

Photo of the tram from the bridge.

We also went down to the bottom of the gorge on a little train-type ride. Above is a photo of the bridge from the bottom of the gorge. I took about 100 photos most days, so it's been hard to narrow it to just a few per day to post! :-)

Garden of the Gods & Manitou Cliff Dwellings (Mon)

On Monday, we drove from Denver to Colorado Springs. Here is a view of Pike's Peak from the road.

After checking in to our hotel, we went to Garden of the Gods. This area has some beautiful, red rock formations.
We watched a mountain scrambler (I would have called him a mountain climber) get ready to scramble up the mountain. It was fascinating to watch! A lot like the rock walls you can climb at malls and fairs. It looked like there was no place to put his fingers or toes, but he kept climbing higher...

... and higher! (Can you see him above & a little to the left of the tree?)

Alexandra and I at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. We were amazed at how short the doors were. Does any one know... were the people that much shorter??? (I meant to ask at the museum, and plan on looking into it.)

More Mountain Photos (Friday)

a very small tree growing on the side of a mountaing

Alexandra and some very tilted rock layers

Beautifully colored rock layers

Alexandra in front of some red rock

Colorado Trip: Friday

I'm glad to be back on-line and able to post more about our trip to Colorado!

Last Friday, while in Denver, we went to the Museum of Science and History. I thought this infrared picture was neat. Basically, my skin showed red, or warm. But, Alexandra had a green nose, yellow cheeks, and blue (cold!) hands. We tried warming her hands up, but it didn't make much difference. She had just played in a cold water table, though.

A large part of the museum contained "stuffed" animals from different regions of the world. They were amazing displays!

Next, we went to Dinosaur Ridge. This was the first time I've ever seen dinosaur foot prints in their original location! Actually, it wasn't as amazing as I though they would be, but I'm still glad we saw them.

Next, we climbed our mountain. I think this was Alexandra's favorite part of the whole trip and wish we could have done more of it. The weather was an amazing 70+ degrees. (It did cool down the last 2 days of our trip.) This first photo is of Alexandra and Nana looking at the scenery from "almost" the top. (We climbed a little farther, but didn't make it all the way.)

This might be gross, but we felt like real nature explorers when we first found some deer scat on "our" mountain. Then, we saw it... everywhere. And, lots of it. :-) We saw deer at least 4 different times on our trip, and here is some more evidence!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mountain Climber

Alexandra's favorite part of the day - mountain climbing. Now, she wants to spend the rest of our trip hiking trails up in the mountains. It was fun, though we'll see how tired Nana & I are tomorrow. (BTW, the temperature was an amazing 70 degrees for a high today. Beautiful!!!)