Cliff Dwellings of Manitou Springs

Sigh-our last full day in Colorado Springs, a bit more than bittersweet, we didn’t want to leave at all. If it were possible to move all our belongings in a blink of an eye, I think we would have.

In the beginning of a trip, that first wake up means the whole adventure is in front of you, so when it ends, it feels like it came and went to quickly. As soon as you book a trip, it takes forever to get there, but when you’re on vacation, it flies by faster than the speed of light.

I’m just grateful I got to spend it with my guy and our two puppies.

After breakfast we headed into Manitou Springs to visit the cliff dwellings. These dwellings were homes to the Anasazi ( The Ancient Ones or The Ancestral Puebloans). The people of this culture lived from 1100 A.D. to 1300 A.D. in the four corners area ( Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico).

These apartment homes were carved into the side of the huge red rocks to protect themselves from invasions by intruders, so their backs were always covered, no sneak attacks from behind.

Cliff Dwellings at Manitou Springs 2015

Cliff Dwellings at Manitou Springs 2015

At the entrance of a home inside the Cliffs

At the entrance of a home inside the Cliffs

The tiny narrow hallways and low ceilings gave you the feel of what it might have been like to live in one of these homes. The stairs were just as narrow and with the sun behind us, it was very dark.

A view from the inside. It was cool on the inside and felt damp.

A view from the inside. It was cool on the inside and felt damp.

They are so cute, my three ruffs.

They are so cute, my three ruffs.

A better angle of what we were looking at and how each home connects

A better angle of what we were looking at and how each home connects

There was also a museum housed inside a Pueblo. A structure made from clay and hay, because of the cold winters Colorado has, the snow melts the clay and has to be replenished yearly. I hate mowing the grass, how spoiled are we, can you imagine?

We were also in for an unexpected treat that day, there were wolves walking around, real life BIG ones. The Hubs and I got to pet and feed them, totally insane!

I was walking up to the female when the male, Ghost, came galloping up to me, nuzzling me with this long thick snout. I’m not going to lie, for a quick second I thought this was it. “Here lies Shannon, eaten alive by a wolf.”

The handler explained people adopt these animals and try to mix them with dogs, because they think it’s “cool,” and when they become an adult, they’re too much to handle and get left in shelters, or in the present females case, tied up to a tree.

Because they end up in shelters, nobody wants to adopt them and they end up being put down, a sad fate for a wild animal. So, he takes them in and cares for them.

The wolves eat between 6 to 9 lbs of raw meat a day. So the handler brings them out to help raise money to feed and house them. They can’t be domesticated, meaning you can’t house train them. They live in a huge back yard with man-made dens, another female wolf is the pack leader. You Go Girl.

Just giving Ghost a treat, from my bare hand!

Just giving Ghost a treat, from my bare hand!

The hubby got to too!

The hubby got to too!

After the dwellings, we dropped the dogs off and went to downtown Colorado Springs and historic Colorado City. Downtown was nice, a small city with clean streets. The homes were Victorian style, where the floors probably creaked and the banisters were hand crafted wood.

Historic Colorado City is like any historic area, small trinket stores, hand dipped chocolate goodies and a grassy area for guests to sun bathe on. It’s cute, nice for tourists and people who eat lunch outside.

It was built by a few guys who had enough money to spend, pretty much the same song and dance for any town in those days.

We got back to the hotel early in the afternoon and were wiped out. All the hiking and exploring caught up with us and we were done-zo. I crawled under the sheets and dozed off for an hour, woke up to The Hunger Games on HBO and a very hungry husband.

The Hubs found a restaurant that was inside an old Boeing KC-97, him being an avid aviation junkie, especially during the WWII era, so we had to go. It didn’t dissapoint.

The building surrounding the plane offered additional seating and plenty of eye candy hanging on every inch of the walls. The menus were newspapers you could take home as souvenirs and the waiters were dressed in airline attendant fashion.

Matt checking out the cockpit

Matt checking out the cockpit

Me reading the local news, I mean looking over the menu

Me reading the local news, I mean looking over the menu

The view from outside

The view from outside

Let the record show, I Shannon, was in a plane willingly without any mild heart palpitations or panic attacks. Plus, the food was pretty good. I got an avocado burger, the Hubs got salmon pasta something or other and we split a brownie sundae.

A great way to end the day and trip, because in the morning, we had an 11 hour trek back home ahead of us.

Day One – Colorado Springs

The first wake up always feels so good, you have your whole trip ahead of you. The hotel bed feels amazing, you couldn’t get anymore comfortable and you don’t have to clean anything. Plus, free continental breakfast and if my husband was writing this he would tell you, it’s not a real free breakfast without a waffle iron. (For the record, ours did.)

When you walk into the lobby, a business center with way to many plush couches are set up around a faux fire. To the right of that, the indoor swimming pool is front and center, and the restaurant (where our breakfast was served) is up and to the left, additional seating on the ground level.

There were tables upon tables of good breakfast food, buffet style. They also had a ‘omelette guy’ who made to order omelets right in front of you. Let me tell you, this is the best breakfast I’ve ever had to not clean up after.

After we finished out breakfasts, we gathered up the pups and went to check out Garden of the Gods. It’s rated as one of the best parks in the country and as an added bonus, it’s free! On the drive down we noticed the abundance of dogs being walked, all over the place! Colorado Springs is shaping up to be just as good as I expected.

As we pulled up to the parking lot for the park, the Hubs and I were both awed by not only the size and shapes of these boulder rocks, but the color of them on the backdrop of the mountains behind them. This place is awesome AND beautiful.

The entrance gate to Garden of the Gods, pictures don't do it justice.

The entrance gate to Garden of the Gods, pictures don’t do it justice.

Again, how could you not be awed?

Again, how could you not be awed?

We briskly walked all over the park, making sure to check out each designated spot on the map. We saw climbers on the tops of the rocks and birds flying out of holes at the tippy top of those same boulders. These rocks were huge, I loved it!

The park also had a number of trails that varied in length, feeling frisky we went for the big one, in total it would be a little over 8 miles, but it promised a big rock balancing on a smaller one, who wouldn’t want to see that?

The Hubs and Da Puppies in front of the 'balancing rock.'

The Hubs and Da Puppies in front of the ‘balancing rock.’

As we hiked around the mountain, I was surprised how hard it was to breathe, that altitude is no joke! My heart didn’t race this much while I ran a 5k or did the StairMill at the gym for 30 minutes, as expected, the views were worth the gasps of air.

The view from the top.

The view from the top.

That coloring, it's gorgeous.

That coloring, it’s gorgeous.

"Through the Looking Glass"

“Through the Looking Glass”

I can't believe I climbed up to this thing, it was worth the knee shakes!

I can’t believe I climbed up to this thing, it was worth the knee shakes!

By the time we got back to the hotel, puppies and parents were pooped. Everybody took a nap, except me … I began my blog writing, took a bath and read some more of my book, relaxation at its finest.

Around 4:30 we perked up again, and decided to check out the downtown historic area of Manitou Springs, about a 15 minute drive from our hotel. The buildings were old, the floors creaked in each boutique and as it should be, there was a penny arcade. Hubs and I won 62 tickets, he got a Butterfingers and a popper.

As we ate dinner our eyelids grew heavier and we were all in bed by 10 p.m. I hadn’t been that tired in a long time, but I had a sneaky suspicion we would be, if not more, because we had three more fun-filled days before the drive back to Texas, whoop-ee.

Bella (right) Bailey (left) My two babies.

Bella (right) Bailey (left) My two babies.