Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Colorado Springs



Sunrise view of Valley of the Gods is a public park in Colorado Springs which features sandstone, conglomerates and limestone, laid down in ancient sea beds but later tipped on their sides by the uplifting of the mountains.  Scouring of glaciers then left these  rugged peaks behind

Chris had the opportunity to attend a workshop in Colorado Springs in mid-April.  Since all expenses were paid for him and his guest, we both attended.  We flew into Denver where we were met by a car to transport us the hour and a half to the hotel in Colorado Springs.  This was all a first class operation with drivers, great hotel, side trips, meals, and the workshop sessions.

The sponsor, a major manufacturer of building materials, devoted this conference to Chris' area; roofing and waterproofing materials.  It was a discussion of what is available, what is in the pipeline, and a chance for roofing and waterproofing consultants to provide feedback. Besides representative of he firm, the guest speaker is a well known authority in the field.

 Since the company is an important contributor to the Paralympics and Olympics, part of the conference was held at the Olympic Training Center.  Our first evening was highlighted by motivational  speaker,  Melissa Stockwell, who was the first female armed services member to lose a limb in Iraq.  She has gone on to become a triathlon winner in the international paralympics and a career fitting prosthetic devices to others who have lost limbs, as well as pubic speaking.   She also led an option walk one morning through the Garden of the Gods, a superb open space area of rock formations.   Since the walk coincided with sunrise, I didn't do the fast paced walk, but met them back at the bus after delighting in ideal photographic lighting.  The red rocks lit up, the orange colors appearing to glow from within.










Wednesday morning as the consultants and staff met for informational sessions, I wandered about downtown Colorado Springs.  Some of the spouses had signed up earlier for a spa session. While I was too late to sign up for a massage, I did enjoy my time wandering.
We re-enacted the passing of the torch to light the Olympic flame at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.


The woman in the dark glasses is Melissa Stockwell, a member of the Paralympic Decathalon team, a former US Army Lt., who lost her left leg above the knee in a explosion while riding in the lead vehicle in a convoy.




View during my walk around town

another view of downtown Colorado Springs.  The Olympic Training facility is on an approximately 50 acre facility.  This building on the right is the office building for the Olympics but is not at the same location

Olympians Horanyi and Moody demonstrate fencing for us.  We later practiced forward and backward exercises designed to help develop skills for this support.

Some members of our group volunteered to try some judo with the Olympic team members.  I DID NOT

One of the Paralympic competitions is sit-down volleyball, something that can be played by people who cannot stand and jump.  It is a whole lot harder than you might think.  Some portion of your seat must remain on the floor, no kneeling allowed.   Here some of our group play the game.


The conference ended at noon, allowing Chris and me just enough time to grab a cab to the Cog Railway Station for a ride to the top of Pike's Peak.   After sunny weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday presented us with a heavy spring snow storm.   On the lower end of the ride, everything was flocked with new fresh snow and was beautiful. At the top it was almost a white out.  Views from there are said to be spectacular.  A 14,115 feet, the peak rises from the plains to the east, giving an almost unlimited view, or rather an unlimited view when the weather cooperates.
   Maybe it was just as well we could not wander about the top to photograph the views.  The elevation hit me harder than I expected, and sitting in the heated gift shop, drinking fluids, was about all I could handle with a headache and lightheaded feeling.



This, and next few, are taken from inside the car as we traveled .




In 8.9 miles the railroad climbs from 6570 feet in elevation to 14,115.  It is a steep climb and it takes a cog railway, not a standard track, to handle the ascent.


At the top.  Not much view on our trip.  But this view, achieved by riding a mule, on a sunnier day, inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the words to America the Beautiful.

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