On Walkabout At: The World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame

Basic Information

  • What: World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Fee: Adults $5, Children 6-12 $3, Under 6 is free
  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm (Except for major holidays)
  • More Information: World Figure Skating Museum website

Picture from the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame

Narrative

My daughter liked watching the figure skating during the recent Sochi Winter Olympics so I decided to take her over to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame here in Colorado Springs.  The reaction I get from people that live here in the Springs that I went to the Figure Skating Hall of Fame is, where is that at?  Few people who live here know that this Hall of Fame is even located within the city.  I knew it was located in the Springs simply because I drive to North Cheyenne Canon so much that I would always see the sign near the Broadmoor Hotel pointing towards the Hall of Fame.  The easiest way to get to the Hall of Fame is to exit I-25 at Circle Drive and drive West until Circle turns into Lake Ave.  Just continue to follow Lake towards the Broadmoor and look for the sign that says to turn right on to 2nd St. right before the Broadmoor to access the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout At: The 2014 Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Basic Information

  • What: Ice Festival
  • Where: Cripple Creek, Colorado
  • When: February 14-23, 2014
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: VisitCrippleCreek.com

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Narrative

Back in February the historic gold mining town of Cripple Creek hosted its annual Ice Festival.  My wife and I were looking for something to do that weekend and figured the festival may be fun for our kids since the theme for this year was cartoon characters.  So we made the hour drive up to Cripple Creek from Colorado Springs and were lucky to have incredibly warm weather.  The temperatures were in the 30s which is down right tropical by February in Cripple Creek standards.  Below is the always spectacular view of Cripple Creek backdropped by the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the Highway 67 overlook just outside of town:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

We drove into Cripple Creek and were lucky to get a great parking spot at the train depot located near downtown.  At the parking lot there is a small visitor center that has a statue of Winfield Scott Stratton who made a fortune during the gold mining boom in Cripple Creek in the late 1800′s:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Stratton is well remembered in both Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek for his generosity.  For example in 1896 after Cripple Creek was burned down by a tragic fire Stratton sent a train filled with tents, supplies, and food to the struggling people of Cripple Creek to help them recover from the fire.  Much more about the history of Cripple Creek can be learned by stopping by the Cripple Creek District Museum that used to be the old railway station in Cripple Creek:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

From the parking area we walked over to downtown and passed by the below trading post which is one of the few wooden buildings in Cripple Creek to survive the 1896 fire:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

As we walked into downtown Cripple Creek the vast majority of the buildings are made of brick which was a direct result of the 1896 fire:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

This was seen as a common sense fire prevention measure which obviously has been a success since the buildings are still standing today.  The city had closed off the entire downtown area to traffic and hosted the festival right in the middle of town.  As we walked towards the Ice Festival we passed a number of vending booth that were set up by various merchants.  The vending booths actually sold some interesting items that my wife and I bought a few of.  The closer we got to the Ice Festival though the bigger the crowds became:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

The place was absolutely packed with the crowds made worse by the fact a large beer garden tent was set up in the middle of the festival which took up half the road and caused a bottleneck.  The tent and its accompanying bottleneck can be seen in the below picture:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

The bottleneck was difficult to walk through especially for someone like me pushing my one-year old in a baby stroller.  This tent also caused a large number of stumbling drunk people right in the middle of the festival.  Why the beer garden tent was not setup at the end of the road where it would not create a bottleneck is a mystery to me.  This bottleneck made it nearly impossible to see the ice sculptures near the tent because of the thick crowds.  So we just did not see those and instead walk over to the more easily accessed ones.  The sculptures we were able to see though were pretty cool.  The artists that carved them are obviously very talented.  Here is one of the genie from Aladdin:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

There were plenty of other Disney characters on display to include of course Mickey Mouse:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Definitely the most popular sculpture was of Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine that people could open the door of and take pictures of themselves inside of it:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Of course there were sculptures of Scooby Doo and Shaggy as well:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

There was even a sculpture of one of the ghosts that chases around Scooby Doo:

Picture from Cripple Creek Ice Festival

Conclusion

Overall my family and I found the Ice Festival to be okay, nothing great.  It seemed like the Ice Festival was used more or less to give people an excuse to come up to Cripple Creek to get drunk.  The drinking tent in the middle of the festival that hampered movement and the number of stumbling drunks did not make for the best family environment.  We won’t be back next year, but for those without kids looking for an excuse to have a good time in Cripple Creek next winter, the Ice Festival may be worth checking out.

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The Mt. Cutler Trail in Colorado Springs

Basic Information

  • What: Mt. Cutler Trail
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 738 feet
  • Difficulty:
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • More Information: City of Colorado Springs website

Mt. Cutler Topographic Map

Mt. Cutler Trail Map

Mt. Cutler Elevation Map

Mt. Cutler Elevation Graph

Narrative

I was recently looking to get a little exercise and decided to jog up Mt. Cutler which is located in Colorado Springs’ North Cheyenne Canon:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The Stanley to Monument Canyon Loop Hike

Basic Information:

  • What: Stanley to Monument Canyon Trail
  • Where: US Air Force Academy, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 9,236 feet
  • Distance: 13 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 2,906 feet
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • More Information: SummitPost.org

Topographic Map of the Trail

Picture from the Stanley to Monument Canyon Trail

Elevation Map of the Trail

Stanley Canyon Elevation Map

Narrative

A lot of people when they think of the US Air Force Academy they think of cadets, airplanes, and football.  What most people do not think about is the great hiking that the Academy has to offer.  The Academy to me seems to be one of these locations in Colorado Springs that locals know is a great outdoor destination that has yet to be well known outside the city.  Locals can be often be seen hiking, jogging, and mountain biking all over the various trails in and around the Air Force Academy:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The Lovell Gulch Trail, Colorado

Basic Information:

  • What: Lovell Gulch
  • Where: Woodland Park, Colorado
  • Elevation: 9,340 feet
  • Distance: 6 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,082 feet
  • Time: 3-4 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • More Information: SummitPost.org

Topographic Map for Lovell Gulch Trail

Lovell Gulch Trail Map

Elevation Map of Lovell Gulch

Lovell Gulch Elevation Map

Narrative

After a recent snowfall struck the Pikes Peak region I used it as an opportunity to go snowshoeing on a local trail that I had not tried yet.  Over the past two years I have been slowly completing all 20 hikes in the guide book, “The Best Colorado Springs Hikes (Colorado Mountain Club Pack Guides)” and the Lovell Gulch Trail outside Woodland Park was still one I needed to complete.  Due to the recent snowfall I decided to get out my snowshoes and try out this trail.  Getting to Woodland Park from Colorado Springs is very easy by taking Highway 24 North through Ute Pass to the city:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: Mt. Rosa, Colorado During the Winter

Basic Information:

  • What: Mt. Rosa
  • Where: Colorado Springs
  • Elevation: 11,499 feet
  • Distance: 14.5 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 4,337 feet
  • Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • More Information: SummitPost.org

Route Up Mt. Rosa

Mt. Rosa Trail

Topographic Map of the Mt. Rosa Trail

Mt. Rosa Trail Map

Elevation Map of the Mt. Rosa Trail

Mt. Rosa Elevation Graph

Narrative

One of the most prominent peaks in the Colorado Springs area is the pointy summit of the 11,499 foot Mt. Rosa that rises above the city to the Southwest. Here is a picture of Mt. Rosa taken from the Templeton Trail at Palmer Park which also shows the approximate route I took up the mountain:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The Seven Bridges Trail in Colorado Springs

Basic Information

  • What: Seven Bridges Trail
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 677 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • Time: 2-3 hours round-trip
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: City of Colorado Springs website

Topographic Map

Seven Bridges Trail Map

Narrative

My four-year old wanted to go hiking recently so I decided to take her over to North Cheyenne Canon outside of Colorado Springs to hike up the Seven Bridges Trail:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The St. Marys Falls Trail During the Winter

Basic Information

  • What: Saint Marys Falls Trail
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,511 feet
  • Difficulty: Difficulty: EasyMedium HardDifficult
  • Time: 3-5 hours round-trip
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: City of Colorado Springs website

Topographic Map of the Saint Marys Falls Trail

st marys falls map

Elevation Map of the Saint Marys Falls Trail

St. Marys Falls Elevation Graph

Narrative

This winter I have been spending a lot of time hiking in North Cheyenne Canon in Colorado Springs, Colorado because of how the heavy snow in the high country has made the avalanche conditions very dangerous to back country travelers.  In areas with smaller mountains such as around Colorado Springs there really is no avalanche danger and thus it is safe to hike the various trails in the area.  The latest trail I decided to hike was the St. Marys Falls Trail.  I have hiked up to the falls a number of times before, but I have never hiked up there during the winter.  So I drove over to North Cheyenne Canon in southeastern Colorado Springs to access the trail.

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout At: Palmer Park After a Ice Storm

Basic Information

Picture from Palmer Park in Colorado Springs After A Ice Storm

Narrative

This winter the Colorado Springs region has been hit with a number of ice storms that are caused when foggy weather rolls in and freezes everything in its path.  This causes temperatures, visibility, and driving conditions to be rather miserable while the fog lasts, but when it lifts the scenery becomes quite beautiful while the ice remains on the trees:

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

On Walkabout On: The Columbine Trail In Colorado Springs

Basic Information

  • What: The Columbine Trail
  • Where: North Cheyenne Canon, Colorado Springs
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,711 feet
  • Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: City of Colorado Springs website

Topographic Map of the Columbine Trail

Picture from the Columbine Trail in Colorado Springs

Narrative

After I made a visit to North Cheyenne Canon after a recent snowstorm I decided I needed to make a return visit to hike up the entire length of the Columbine Trail.  I have driven up into this canyon so many times to access the various trails from the parking area near Helen Hunt Falls called “The Hub”, however I have never hiked up this canyon from its entrance using the Columbine Trail.

read more

Posted in America - West | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment