Friday, July 21, 2006

Colorado Part 2

Hi…am back again. We were on a short vacation to Wisconsin Dells and just returned a couple of days back. I will be posting about that soon. But for now I’ll finish up on our Colorado adventure!

After our stay at Colorado Springs, we headed to the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is located in Canon City. It is situated about an hours drive away from Colorado Springs. The best way to visit this spectacular canyon is by the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. However, we could not do that and so we just drove to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. This is located just 25 minutes from the train depot and offers a panoramic view of the Gorge from the World’s highest suspension bridge. This bridge hangs about 1000 ft high and spans about a quarter of mile across the canyon. The view from atop the bridge is breathtaking with the Arkansas river flowing right through the Canyon. One can indulge here in white water rafting and other water adventures. We chose the Incline Railway to go to the Canyon floor. The Incline Railway was built in 1931 and is considered to be one of the most difficult structures to be built. It travels at an angle of 45 degrees and descends about 1500 ft deep into the canyon. Here we marveled at the timeless granite walls hovering all around us, and the suspension bridge looking like a mere rope above. We enjoyed the scene of some dare devil white water rafters maneuvering through the roaring rapids of the Arkansas River.

Our plan was to leave the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park at about 3.00 pm and drive down south to Durango to camp there for a couple of nights. However, as plans go, this one went a few hours off the mark too. We did not leave the Park until about 6.00 pm. This being so, we reached our campsite near the Mesa Verde National Park close to midnight. It was quite an adventure pitching our tents by the light of our car headlights! The kids were asleep in the car and it was stifling hot. We decided to pitch just one tent for the night and six of us huddled into that at about 2.00 am. Actually, it was a lot of fun!

The next day, we went rafting!! It was just so awesome. We drove down to the main office in downtown Durango, where we met up with other rafters. Here we were driven by bus to the main part of the Lower Animas river where we would be rafting. We were given life jackets and led to the river by our guide. She was a young girl who seemed very confident on the waters. We, on the other hand, were a little nervous. But it was just such an amazing experience. The lower Animas is just perfect for first time rafters and families with young children, with some peaceful stretches and a few class II and class III rapids for that little bit of excitement. The Upper Animas is for the more adventurous, with class IV and class V rapids.

We had a great time and the kids were excited and thrilled. After this we returned to camp and cooked ourselves a delicious dinner. Too exhausted, we just dropped off to sleep. The next day, we went exploring the Mesa Verde National Park.

The Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 to preserve sites built by the first settlers on mesa tops and in Canyon alcoves. The park spans about 50,000 acres. Mesa Verde or “Green Table” rises high above the surrounding country. The park consists of several cliff dwellings. Some of the dwellings can only be viewed with a park ranger. But there are others that can be explored from a distance on our own. We visited many such cliff dwellings and pit houses, and got a glimpse of the indigenous people who lived then. We marveled at the construction and wondered how they got in and out of the cliff dwellings. They are located so deep and steep into the canyon that one cannot fathom climbing in and out. These cliff dwellings have helped historians understand significant details of the life and times of prehistoric America.

We also visited the museum, which displays the artifacts of the early settlers. It was an educational and fun experience for the kids and adults. We were extremely tired after the long walks through the park and came back to our campsite, once again exhausted but very content. We left the campsite the next morning and started driving back home. We had to drive through mountain roads for a good number of hours. By the time we were done with the winding roads, my sons had had enough and claimed they had ‘mountain sickness.’

We were happy to be on our way home. As fun as vacations are, we also missed home. We drove continuously for the next 24 hours, changing drivers every couple of hours of course, and got home close to 6.00 pm on the 4th of July. And guess what? A tornado had just passed our area, fortunately not touching down. That was the big news we cam home to…..I told you…there has to be a storm in every story of mine…


At 11:24 AM, Blogger Britmum said...

Now I need to go back to Colorado.

Take care

At 11:58 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Britmum, You do that. I'm sure you'll love it even more now.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Dav said...

Sounds like you had a great adventure! I can't wait to go on another road trip. Who knows where or when that'll be.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Dav, you got that was one great adventure..the kids were much younger than when we did the Arizona road trip:))
One thing's for sure, wherever and whenever your next road trip will be, it is sure to be great fun:))

At 12:00 AM, Blogger couch potato said...

Very interesting. White water rafting is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world and yet, in the hands of an experienced rafter, quite safe. I have several vicarious experiences of white water rafting and am currently looking for a particularly large coffee table book which details the adventures of experienced rafters in several rivers across the world. The only problem is I read this book some years ago and don't remember the title. :o)

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Gangadhar said...

Rafting wow..I like that...
And TP,
here in India,some of the ISPs 're allowing the readers to view blogspot blogs..Hope the ban will be lifted totally very soon..No need to worry about shifting to any other platform..
And my shift to wordpress was loooong back idea..But this ban urged me to do that at once...
And I'm glad you liked my new blog...
Could u pl edit my url on ur blog? thank you..

At 2:34 AM, Anonymous rk said...

Dear TP: Thanks for the concluding part. Some of the roads here are so good that they remind you of Colorado. ;) Courtesy:PWD.

"As fun as vacations are, we also missed home." Even I feel that way when I am out for too long.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Hope you find the book you're looking for soon:)Thanks for visiting:))
Thanks for the info. I will edit your URL on my blog right away.
There's no place like home,right?
I will edit your URL on my blog too:)

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Vj said...


You've been tagged .
I love reading your blog.
Colrado looks great . Iam coming to columbus,Indinapolis this winter.
so would be able to enjoy US firsthand

thanks for sharing

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

ur story sure has a storm of excitement.tht shd be a hell of enjoyement.when i make my travel list i really dont c beyond the cliched newyork-california-florida tht im reading urs, im sure i shd add a colorado to it.n wasnt it scary to walk on the hanging bridge, when i walked on the brooklyn bridge, i got scared when ever i saw the traffic beneath my legs thru the ridges at the joint of the wood logs :-)

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 6:42 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks. you have an awesome blog too. I'm sure you'll enjoy US.
BTW, never been tagged before. What do I do? Thanks.

Thanks so much. Actually, Ive never been to NYC yet or to Boston or California...Hope to visit all those places sometime too...
I'm sure you'll love Colorado..

Thnaks so much for visiting and for your kind comment.

At 1:29 AM, Blogger AJEYA RAO said...

Great...Reminds me of our trip to the gorge. The inclined train is really cool.

Did you try the Sky coaster on top of the gorge?

I missed Mesa Verde. Very much wanted to go there but could not.

At 2:24 AM, Blogger Pooja Aggarwal said...

Never been to Colorado but after reading your posts looks I will have to make way there soon. Your posts got me interested.

At 5:35 AM, Blogger Shruthi said...

Lovely snaps! Both this and the previous post!
Wowie, looks like you had a lovely time! :)

At 10:07 AM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks so much. We did not try the sky coaster. We were running behind schedule and had to get to our campsite..

Thanks for your kind words. Colorado is a great place to visit. You should definitely go if you get the chance:))

Thanks and welcome to my blog:))Hope you'll visit again:))

At 1:40 PM, Blogger bozette said...

I have a cottage in the Dells.
It is a very pretty area.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Lucky you!! Wish I had a cottage in the Dells area:))Maybe someday.
Thanks for stopping by..hope you'll come again.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

Hi, Awesome pictures. Not sure if you knew that in India, blogger and all other blogs were blocked for some time. Fortunately we are now connected with the world again. Glad you had a great trip.

At 10:03 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks Dusty! Yes, I did hear about the block on blogs in India. I'm glad that's over. Welcome back:))

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, am new to your place, and found your posts absolutely delightful, being an avid armchair traveller myself :D

Looking forward to reading more.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger travel plaza said...

Thanks Anon:))Welcome to my blog. Glad you like it:))

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Alidade_xy said...


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At 8:19 AM, Blogger Anil P said...

What kind of wildlife can one hope to see upclose in American wildlife sanctuaries?


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