As Bryan said, our second cabin was not as impressive as we’d hoped. I much preferred the first cabin, but we didn’t plan to stay in our lodging that much, so it would do. Even before our alarms went off to wake us up, we were awoken by the light coming in from the sky lights in our bedroom. I could have slept longer, but the sunshine was just too inviting, so up we got!
Right away, it was into the car to head down to Cripple Creek and Manitou Springs for the day! I just love the mountain air, that’s for sure! Even if we weren’t seeing as many mountains as before, they were still there in the distance (and we went over some pretty high hills, so that counts!).
We passed the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, which we were planning to tour later in the morning, to head down to Cripple Creek for some breakfast. You know those towns that you stumble upon and expect to be really neat because of their vintage appeal? Well, this one was neat and fun to drive around, but there wasn’t a single place to get a decent breakfast! We finally stumbled upon a small restaurant inside of a hotel in the middle of the main strip (thank you Google search!). We wandered in and had to search a bit…oh, there it is! Way in the back of the main lobby were two tables next to a bar. So, we walked on back and sat down. There were probably 3 options. So, coffee and breakfast burritos it was!
Alright, fueled up and ready to start the day! We drove back up the mountain (ok, really high hill) to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. Bryan was super excited to take this tour because it dropped us down 1,000 feet into a mine. This would put us at the exact same level as the valley below us where we had just eaten breakfast. Sounds awesome, right? Not if you’re an anxiety-ridden woman scared of heights! And if you had seen the rust and felt the sways and heard the creaks, you would have been right there with me!
But we survived the scariest elevator ride of my life and got to walk through this AWESOME mine! We got a sample of rock from the tour guide who was so excited that he had discovered this new rock (I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was just a combination of differing crystal structures of calcite, a known mineral). We also had the chance to see some of the equipment that was used in the mine during its hay day! Super interesting!
After the mine tour, it was back up that elevator of death and then out onto solid ground again. After a quick tour of the museum, it was time to head to our next stop... and I was so excited!!!
CAVE OF THE WINDS! This is an absolutely gorgeous cave that I have been DYING to see and it was absolutely spectacular! Of course, it was very touristy, so the first step into the cave, they take your photo and at the end they ask if you want to buy it. My lovely husband bought it for me, even though I told him we didn’t have to (he knows me well). This cave was absolutely wonderful! They had walkways for you to stay on, but everything was still natural. The guide was surprised when I guessed that the staining of the rocks was from iron deposits and that the ribbons were called bacon formation. She found out I was a geologist at the end and said it was always interesting to have a geologist on the tour and hoped he didn’t say anything wrong. Nope, you were all good, dude... this time... :)
After the Cave of Winds, it was time for some sightseeing on our way to Manitou Springs. Just another lovely drive through the mountains, of course!
Once we got to Manitou, we did a bit of walking around before heading to meet our food tour dinner. It was a tour around Manitou that lasted 3 hours! Loved it! We tried so many things! Pancetta wrapped cantaloupe, nachos, fudge, lamb sliders and kettle chips, and a whole Mediterranean platter! To put it lightly, we were stuffed! Good thing it was accompanied by walking in between locations. Plus, as a bonus, we tried all the springs positioned around the town. Each one has a different taste because of the minerals that are found in them. They are each from underground springs flowing through the town. Each is known for its healing properties dating back to the Native Americans that used to live in the area. Such a quirky little town, I love it!
I could have stayed there all night, but it was time to head back to the cabin to get some rest. I’m pretty sure I fell into bed the minute I got back. But, man, it was worth it! Until next time!