Category Archives: History

Cripple Creek and Manitou Springs with Hikes in Between

May 2-3, 2015

Garden of the Gods
Location: 5 miles northwest of Colorado Springs
Fees: None

Cripple Creek
Location: 45 miles west of Colorado Springs

Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rock Trailhead
9.4 miles north of Cripple Creek
Elevation: 9,760-11,000
Roundtrip: 7.6 miles
Fees: None

Manitou Springs
Location: 6.5 miles west of Colorado Springs

Just sixty miles south of Denver a national natural landmark, Garden of the Gods is a unique, free park to visit. David and I stopped in the visitor center to find out the best trails to follow for cool views of the rock formations, but also to get in at least a four mile hike.

Upon the instruction of the ranger, we walked from the visitor center under the road to Gateway Trail which we connected to all or portions of three more trails; Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail, Siamese Twins Trail, and Perkins Central Garden Trail. The trails led us along the dusty path past twisted trees and small shrubs, between a variety of rock formations, and beneath many climbers enjoying a sunny day.

After completing the four mile loop, we drove to Cripple Creek, an old gold mining town. In its heyday, over 10,000 prospectors lived in the now sleepy town of 1,100. Now the main street is lined with casinos. The casino just on the outskirts of town has the cheapest craps table in the state (only $1), and from what I understand, good odds. We spent a few hours learning how to play. It only cost us $20 each. It was a fun time filler while we waited to watch the Kentucky Derby.

Cripple Creek is also home to a few museums and a theatre. I wouldn’t mind coming back for a theatre production, as I’m told actors come in from all over. Only a movie was showing, Three Amigos, while we were there. For a small $5 contribution, we visited the Cripple Creek District Museum operated by an enthusiastic married couple. We mostly wanted to take our picture in the cut-out board, but then enjoyed seeing all the old pictures and maps of the town and gold mines. It was worth a visit!

The weather put a bit of a damper on walking around the town, but we got a glimpse before we left the next morning to hike Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks. The trailhead is located at the closed Little Ike Tunnel. If hiking to both Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks, the overall distance is 7.6 miles. It is also possible to just hike one or the other for a shorter distance, 2.2 miles or 6.6 miles respectively. The trail also offers a detour to the left on Ring the Peak Trail that goes into the nearby meadow and towards Pikes Peak (this is actually the first trail junction).

While the weather was rather crappy the last few weeks of April, we were surprised to see how much snow was still on the trail. I expected some, but much of the path was snowpacked. Micro-spikes would have been a nice addition for the hike that began at 9,700 feet of elevation and gained another 1,200 along the way to Pancake Rocks.

The hike to Horsethief Falls was relatively simple though most of the falls were covered in snow, so I was a little bummed to only see a trickle of water. The hike to Pancake Rocks was a bit more challenging. Our poles helped us climb up the icy switchbacks to some neat rock formations. I’m uncertain if we made it all the way as the path somewhat ended into a mass of snow shortly after we stopped to admire some of the rocks. As the day warmed up, we alternated between post holing and sliding down the path on our return.

On our way back to Denver, we stopped for lunch in Manitou Springs and to wander around the town. I would have liked to wander around the town a bit longer, but we made a poor lunch choice by visiting BooDad’s. We saw our waiter twice over 1.5 hours…to bring us a beer and to bring us the bill. We had to order our meal from the young girl cleaning tables, our beer from the waitress handling the table next to us, and then ask for our bill from the person seating people as our waiter was no-where to be found on the balcony or inside the restaurant! I would not recommend, though Manitou Springs is worth a visit. ETB

Visit History Colorado Center

March 25, 2015

History Colorado Center
1200 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-447-8679

Fees: Adults-$12, Seniors and Students-$10, Child (6-12)-$8, Child (5 and under)-Free
Hours: Open daily from 10am-5pm

Today Tanya, Diana and I visited the History Colorado Center. It was a bit different than I expected, but fun none-the-less. We arrived around 11:30 and there were several school field trip groups congregated on the floor map at the first floor entry. The map included brass discs in different parts of Colorado. Visitors may roll a time machine over each disc, pull a lever to select a year, and find out what happened at that time in history in a particular place in Colorado.

We decided to wait on the time machine activity just because the lobby area was busy. Instead we climbed to the fourth floor to see the traveling exhibits. One room featured the Chicano Movement in Colorado. Chicano lettuce workers protested for more pay.

The other room featured events that took place in 1968. There sure was a lot going on in 1968…Martin Luther King, Vietnam, Chicano Protests, 911 started, Women’s rights movement…just to name a few. It was fun to see old clothes, tv’s, and lunch boxes similar to what we once owned. I think our favorite thing was the voting machine. How archaic it appeared!

After lunch at the cafe which was reasonably good for a museum, we visited the second floor. The third floor was meeting rooms. I really enjoyed the mining exhibit. The staples of the museum were extremely interactive for children, so in the mining section, kids could place plastic dynamite sticks in the wall, press a pump, and see if they blew themselves up or found a silver vein!


Denver from A-Z was a fun exhibit too which helped visitors learn about different things special to Denver. It was a nice half-day inside while the weather switched between snow and rain. ETB

For notecards and key chains, visit or
snowy falls website copy

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century

December 13, 2014

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
Phone: 720-865-5000

Fees: Non-member weekend with audio: $27, Non-member weekday with audio: $25; for member pricing and other discounts check the website
Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sat-Sun 10-5; Friday 10-8

Cartier was founded in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier.  The company remained family owned until 1964.  Louis Francois Cartier’s grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, who were responsible for making the brand recognizable world wide.

Cartier sold its jewels to royalty and movie stars and produced several different styles of clocks, vanity cases, and jewelry influenced by a variety of cultures.  I was suprised to see the Asian Influence at the Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.

What a treat for Denverites as Denver is the only US city where this exhibit will travel.  It stays open until March 15th and is worth a visit.  Crown jewels displayed at the beginning reflected the light so brightly, I couldn’t even snap a good photo.

I found a few favorites.  One bracelet which I thought was ruby and diamond also included enamel and onyx.  I was surprised to read about the extra gems and stopped to take a closer look at all the intricacies.  So subtle and spectacular at the same time!


I also loved the Tutti Frutti line of jewels.  How colorful and so detailed!  One of the necklaces on display was worn by Daisy Fellowes, an American heiress to the Singer sewing machine, daughter of a French duke, and married to a French prince, known for her taste in fashion.

It was interesting to learn about the Mystery Clocks.  The hands look as it they are floating and no operating mechanisms can be seen.  It turns out each hand is enclosed into its own crystal disc.  Each of the crystal discs turn, not the hands.  Speaking of clocks, the first Cartier wristwatch was inspired by aviation as pocket watches were unreliable and impractical.


After the war, when metal and money was scarce, Cartier turned to using less expensive gem stones and gold. The designs were still amazing…sleek and bold!


Other items on display were Grace Kelly’s engagement ring along with a magnificent diamond necklace she used to wear as well as a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Liz Taylor.  I’m so glad I was able to join Tanya and her family to see this exhibit.  ETB

It’s not too late to order stocking stuffers or Christmas presents.  Use the coupon codes MAKEMYDAY20 or HOLIDAY5 at

Lighthouse website

Union Station Whistle-Stop

September 29, 2014

Union Station
1701 Wynkoop
Denver, CO 80202


The newly renovated Union Station in Downtown Denver deserves more than a whistle-stop, more like a weekend, but I thought “whistle-stop” was a catch title!

On a rainy Monday night, I was fortunate to visit Union Station with my friend Caro, who is a member of the Denver Art Museum’s Design Council. Through programs and events, the Design Council, which was established in 1990, provides a variety of unique opportunities to it’s members and a tour of Union Station and the Crawford Hotel was no exception. What a treat!

Having only been in Denver a few years, I was not familiar with the history of the station, but I understand that it was somewhat dilapidated, stinky, and threatened to be demolished at times. The station opened in 1881 to serve four different railways. During its heyday in the 1900’s it served 80 trains a day. Today it serves 2 trains a day though the service will be expanding with the new and improved station that has an “old-timey” feel, but looks lovely.

Our tour was led by Dana Crawford, for whom the Crawford Hotel is named. What a lady! Ms. Crawford has been involved in Urban Renewal for decades. She pioneered the redevelopment of Larimer Square in the 1960’s and was involved in saving Union Station from being demolished many years ago.

Now the station will house RTD’s front range bus route, light rail, and a full Amtrak schedule. The light rail from DIA is scheduled to arrive in 2016! The station is also home to a few shops and a variety of bars, fancy restaurants, and a 112 room hotel. The hotel rooms wrap around the wings that extend from the station’s lobby. The 22 foot ceilings allowed for an extra floor to be added to create three types of rooms: small, art deco pullman rooms; classic rooms, and loft rooms. Several people like the small, pullman rooms, that emulate sleeping in a train car. I personally loved the lofts decorated with rustic looking furniture and complete with the wooden beams that cut through the bathrooms.

I’m not sure if we saw the deluxe or premium or superior category of each room, but rooms are available for about $260/night and increasing, not counting taxes. After seeing the rooms, we enjoyed cocktails at the lounge that overlooked the lobby before we finally ventured down to the Mercantile for a fantastic dinner! Caro ordered the short ribs. I ordered the fish. Both were flavorful. My “snack” (as they call it) appetizer which included a variety of spreads for bread was enough for two and only priced at $6.

Despite the stormy weather, the restaurant was quite full, and from what I understand, Union Station is packed on the weekends, so plan your visit for a dinner, night or a weekend…it’s worth it! ETB

The holidays are just around the corner. Need a cute gift for a friend or a stocking stuffer? Visit or