On Walkabout at: The Princeville Ranch on Kauai

Basic Information

  • What: Horseback and Hiking Ride
  • Where: Princeville Ranch, Kauai
  • Cost: $135 per person
  • Time: 3.5 hours
  • Difficulty: EasyMediumHardDifficult
  • More Information: Princeville Ranch website

Picture from the Princeville Ranch

Narrative

My wife and I both like riding horses so when we saw a brochure for a horseback riding tour on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai’s North Shore we decided to go and check it out.  It was about an hour’s drive from where we staying at the Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu to reach the North Shore location of the Princeville Ranch.  The ranch is real easy to find since it is located right off of the Kuhio Highway that accesses Kauai’s North Shore:

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How to Surf Kauai’s Waimea River

Since I have been posting about the Waimea area of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai these past few days I thought readers may find this YouTube video of people surfing the Waimea River of interest:

The Waimea River is largely a dammed up lake for most of the year until the winter rains break the sand barrier at the beach and the water flows into the ocean.  These surfers just sped up the process and took advantage of the resulting waves to surf on them.  Pretty cool idea!

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On Walkabout At: Fort Elizabeth on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from Ft. Elizabeth on Kauai

Narrative

Located right outside of the small town of Waimea on the west shore of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, is one of the more unusual sites in Hawaiian history.  This site is an old Russian military fortification known as Fort Elizabeth:

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On Walkabout At: The Menehune Ditch on Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from the Menehune Ditch

Narrative

For those with an interest in learning a little more about Hawaiian history while in the Waimea Canyon area on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, an interesting place to check out is the Menehune Ditch.  This ditch is located just a short drive from the village of Waimea up the appropriately named Menehune Road:

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On Walkabout At: Waimea, Kauai

Basic Information

Picture from Waimea, Kauai

Narrative

One of the major tourist attractions on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the stunning Waimea Canyon that is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific“.  You can read about my visit to Waimea Canyon at the below link:

Everyone that visits the canyon has to pass through the small town of Waimea tucked on the island’s West Coast:

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On Walkabout On: Kauai’s Pihea Trail

Basic Information

Narrative

One of the things my wife and I had on our itinerary while visiting the Hawaiian Island of Kauai was to drive to the end of Highway 550 and see the Kalalau Valley from the Pu’uo Kila Lookout.  The lookout is located in the expansive Koke’e State Park which encompasses much of Kauai’s thickly forested highlands:

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On Walkabout At: The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

Basic Information

  • Name: Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
  • Where: Woodland Park, Colorado
  • Price: Adult $11.50, Children $7.50 (more info)
  • Hours: Open 7 days a week except holidays (more info)
  • More Information: RMDRC.com

Picture from the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

Narrative

My kids like watching Dinosaur Train on PBS and like many kids this has developed a fascination with dinosaurs.  So a place we have been going to twice a year to give our kids their dinosaur fix locally has been the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (RMDRC) in Woodland Park.  The RMDRC cannot be missed when driving into Woodland Park from Colorado Springs since it is located right along Highway 24 and is easily visible:

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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:

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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.

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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:

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