Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cripple Creek, Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine and Air Force Academy

On Thursday, October 2nd, we drove through the mountains and around them to get to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Craig had researched gold mines to visit in the Colorado Springs area and the Mollie Kathleen gold mine was what we had his heart set on visiting. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but in the end, I was pleasantly surprised by the tour.

The tour was $18 each and totally worth every penny. We put our hard hats on and crammed in a tiny mine shaft with three other people, with our destination being 1,000 feet underground into a real former gold mine.

Mining gold is no longer profitable (there is no way to process the ore) so the gold mine hasn't been in operation since the 1960's.

While the temperatures above ground were in the 30's, we found the temps to be much warmer underground, at around 50 degrees. 

There were many gold specimens on display in the mine and we also got our own piece of rock containing gold!

Our tour guide was a third generation female miner who explained the mining process really well, because she had lived it her whole life and currently works in another mine. She even showed us how some of the (very loud) mining tools worked.
Craig was fascinated by the mine, as was I. The tour was money well spent!
After our hour tour was over, we headed down the hill into Cripple Creek. 

Needless to say, but finding shirts like this one hanging outside of a gift shop made me think that Cripple Creek wasn't the type of town someone like me should settle in. It says, "If God wanted us to be vegetarians, he would have made broccoli more fun to shoot at."

Nonetheless, it was enjoyable to walk around and look at the architecture around a city created for the gold mine boom. It is now full of casinos. 

Later that afternoon, we headed over to the Air Force Academy, 10 minutes north of our hotel. Craig's cousin Crystal is in her senior year there and it was so much fun to get a tour of the campus with her!

One of the highlights of our tour was seeing the magnificent Air Force Academy chapel. 

The chapel's gorgeous upper area is the Protestant place of worship.

Below that, at the ground level, is the Catholic chapel. Just north of there are the Jewish Synagogue, Buddhist temple and the Muslim mosque.

These two images are of the Catholic chapel.

On the way out of the academy, we stopped to check out the massive B52 bomber plane. 

We went back to our hotel area and I stopped in Whole Foods to buy a few groceries and pick up dinner from their salad bar. I was really craving greens at this point in the trip, so the salad bar dinner really hit the spot. I also got a few Chia Squeezes for our hikes and a delicious RealBeanz iced coffee for the following morning. Coffee at the hotel breakfasts wasn't always strong enough for me.

It was a jam-packed, adventurous day! Can we please go back now?

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