I have always loved water – whether it’s being mesmerized watching a barge sail down the Mississippi, listening to the sound of river water bubbling over the rocks or … canoeing on the lake.
I mentioned that I wanted to take a picture of the sunset so Jeff said he’d go out on the canoe with me. I could take pictures. He could fish. (Last year I got my fishing license, but didn’t take the time to do it this year.)
No sooner had we gotten in the canoe, then the clouds rolled in. But we stayed … and sometimes clouds make for a more interesting sunset than no clouds.
Here are just a few of the pictures I took on the lake.
We didn’t see any rattlesnakes as we were wandering through the park, but we did see a mule deer, and a mountain bluebird and a spotted towhee and a family of pigeons that lived inside one of the formations. We all laughed as we watched them crawl (wait, I don’t think pigeons crawl) out of the split in the rock – they just kept coming.
Anyhow, I think my favorite was the spotted towhee because as I was standing on the path taking pictures, a tiny little girl walked up and stood next to me. Quietly she watched me take pictures for awhile and then she turned to her father, “What’s she looking at, Dad?”
I told her there was a spotted towhee in the tree and her father lifted her up so she could see it. She reacted with quiet reverence. The dad then repeated the name to her and she giggled. Later the father asked me what another bird was – a pigeon/rock dove. (I didn’t even have to ask my brother to identify that one.) I don’t think the man was from the U.S. or maybe he just hadn’t been around a lot of birds, but he was friendly and inquisitive and his daughter was cute as she hopped along next to me waiting to see what other pictures I would take.
Most people who visit Colorado Springs visit Garden of the Gods. Surprisingly, this is a public city park and is free to all who visit. GOTG is also a National Natural Landmark.
We first headed for the visitor’s center. The center has several exhibits which we quickly walked through, a gift shop and a balcony overlooking the park. A highlight is the dinosaur picture painted on the floor/wall with a 3D perspective – although it is painted on flat surfaces. My brother pulled out his famous red chair and we got our pictures on top of the picture.
Something I didn’t know, but maybe should’ve known is that Katherine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful after visiting the area – Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. (You can read about it all outside the ladies restroom.)
Last time I was at Garden of the Gods was on a hot day in 2006.
This time we went early in the morning (right when the center opened) when the weather was still fairly cool. We were early enough to get a parking lot outside the center – but already the place was filling up and getting crowded.
Another fun small Kansas town (where we did actually see other people) was Goodland. Although there are other things to see in town including a couple charming restaurants – we focused on the sunflower painting
Actually the picture idea started a long way from Kansas – in Canada where a Canadian artist decided to replicate seven Van Gogh paintings. He asked Goodland if they would accept Van Gogh’s sunflower picture since they are the Sunflower Capitol of the Sunflower State.
Unfortunately we didn’t actually see any REAL sunflowers – probably a little early in the year.
But the Van-Gogh-Canadian-artist sunflowers on the easel were cool –
The picture is 24×32 feet and the easel is 80 feet tall. Altogether, the painting/easel weighs 45,000 pounds so it’s good the picture didn’t topple over and hit us on the head or something.