Bishop's Castle. For forty years, Jim Bishop has been building a castle on a mountainside in Wetmore, Colorado. We figured it was something interesting to go see, and was a beautiful drive through ranch country near Westcliffe, a scenic area east of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. A scenic byway, Frontier Pathways, also runs through the area.
We arrived first at our furthest point of the day, Bishop's Castle.
As the sign says, it has been built by hand, using more than 1,000 tons of rock hauled to the building site by Jim Bishop from the nearby San Isabel National Forest.
This was the sign that greeted us as we walked up the driveway!
Another sign. I have to warn you, Jim Smith has very definite views of the government, and politicians...he doesn't like any of them! Can't say as I blame him nowadays....:-).
Walking up to the entrance
Inside the castle...an interesting mix of ironwork, stained glass and sculpture. Casey and Chelsea didn't care for walking on the open metal grates on the stairs, so they went back down
They're way down there by the "gift shop"
I went outside on the "balcony" and took this picture of the tower...you can go up there, but can't say as I was too comfortable on those open walkways either! You can go up into the top of the tower and ring the bell, but I admit I was feeling a bit of vertigo and decided to come back down myself
The outside stairs!
The castle as seem from a trail across the street. It was definitely an interesting "off the beaten path" site to investigate.
We turned around on the ByWay at this point, and slowly headed back towards Chalk Creek, geocaching along the way. We stopped at this neat little spot for one, down a dirt road in the San Isabel National Forest
The Mingus Family Homestead, an early 20th century ranch that has been renovated by the Forest Service, the Frontier Pathways Scenic ByWay, and the Colorado State Historical Society.
Ranch land scenery near Silver Cliff with the Sange de Cristo mountains in the background. It was in the town of Silver Cliff that we made one of those discoveries we so treasure being on the road. We were really hungry, and stopped at the first place we saw that had food...let me tell you, few and far between :-). It turned out to be a pizza and Italian food restaurant, with THE best pizza and sausage hero we've had since leaving New York. It was a riot. The owner stopped by our table to talk with us, and turns out she is from New York...I knew it as soon as I heard her say "forgetaboutit"! The restaurant is for sale, long story short, she wants to "get back to Boca" :-). But I am still licking my lips over that pizza!
A few more caches and we were back in Westcliffe, with one of them at the "All Aboard Westcliffe Interpretive Center"
Trains are a very big part of Colorado history, and the town of Westcliffe was actually founded by the Denver and Rio Grande railroad to service the silver and gold mining camps of the Wet Mountain Valley.
It was an interesting and beautiful drive in an area we hadn't explored, well worth spending a day on! And we collected 14 geocaches that day as well! Later in the week, the geocachers all got together on a morning we had off, and went out caching together on the Narrow Gauge Trail, our favorite hiking trail in Chalk Creek canyon.
It was a beautiful morning, and 5 people and 4 dogs set out for some fun and exercise...this is Al, Joe, Tamara hiding in the back, and Sandi with Osaka and Kyoto. Casey and Chelsea are up front with me!
Found one! See the big thumbs up?
I'm very proud of Chelsea with the little dogs...she really behaved herself!
Is this not the most beautiful morning on a most beautiful trail? I never get tired of it!
Geocaching is serious business! Must check those co-ordinates!
Pups all patiently wait for the silly humans to find whatever it is they're looking for.
One of the caches were hidden very well...some rock-climbing was needed to get to this one!
We finally reached what Chelsea was looking for...the creek! Time to get a drink and cool off.
Chalk Lake and the Chalk Cliffs of Mount Princeton...another site I never tire of...our summer backyard this year!
Alas, it's time to head back and get to work...so for today, here's