Photo Contest Prize

Charles Rockey, otherwise known as Rockey in the Colorado Springs area is our most well known and loved artist.  His paintings have a fairy tale quality about them and many are of scenes in Manitou Springs.  In the past, Rockey held a gallery about every 10 years to give people a chance to see and purchase his original paintings.  The final one was in 2001 and he will have no more.  Now at the age of about 81, he no longer sells his paintings, instead his children will inherit them.


Here is Rockey seated outside the day after one of the floods.  Many of the townspeople helped move his belongings outside that were in danger of getting wet.  I heard, but don’t know if it’s true, that he lost some of his art.

You can see a lot of his paintings mounted on the walls in the Cliff  House Inn and Restaurant just a few doors up from his studio.  The Cliff House has a comfy verandah in front for dining or just to enjoy a drink.


That brings me to the prize I received for the photo contest.  Not a painting but the next best thing: One of Rockey’s signed prints:


This is Laurie at the Chamber of Commerce holding up the print.  The scene is: The Meeting of Ruxton and Fountain Creek as viewed from the bridge right next to he Mate Factor Café.  And coincidentally, on Sunday (before I found out I won the contest or knew what the prize would be) Steve, Molly Dog, and I were walking downtown and I happened to take a picture of the creek from the same bridge:


And just as I finished taking the picture a nice couple walked up to us because of Molly and handed us a sample package of Sticky Sheets.  These are large 23”x35” sheets to be used for pet hair and lint removal from large areas.


The Sticky Sheet company is located in wonderful Colorado and if you have a pet that sheds you might want to check out  I formerly used masking tape to remove lint but now having such a large sheet is so much easier.  Even Whoopi Goldberg said these sheets were a “must have.”

I Won

Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce hosted a photo contest on their Visit Manitou Facebook page that ran from May 1st to the 16th. The photos with the most likes, comments, and shares would win first place, and so on through 3rd place. All of my family and friends were on notice NOT to vote for me and for the most part they obliged. Not to be bragging but three of my photos had the most likes for first, second, and third place so the Chamber combined them. I’m glad the Chamber did that because that way other contestants would receive 2nd and 3rd place recognition and the same prize as 1st place.

We were encouraged to enter as many photos as we could and I think I entered about 10. The funny thing was that this photo

Manitou Springs Chair Project

took off into first place right off and stayed there for a week.  I entered a few more.  Then I entered the one below of the Crystal Wizard just for the heck of it and because I know many of the young locals like this shop:


To my mind anyone could snap this picture but it zoomed past the first picture in just a matter of hours.  I really did not want this one to get the most votes but it did.

My favorite two pictures below barely got any votes but we all can’t have the same taste can we?




This yoga group picture is another one of my favorites but it was way down in the voting too.

I originally entered this contest for the very special prize which I will receive tomorrow or the next day and that deserves a post all to itself.  More to come……

Around Town

Manitou Springs is a beehive of activity getting ready for the tourist season.  Many shops are in the process of moving across the avenue to get away from the creek that flooded last year but new ones will move in and take their chances.  And we are finally getting some businesses that will be attractive to the residents as well as tourists. Up until now there have been mostly tourist shops, restaurants, and hotels.

Our town has not had a grocery store and now one opened last week.  It’s actually a member owned co-op but anyone can shop there.  It’s just that we members receive a 10% discount and a share of the profits.  Eventually a 5% discount will be offered for those not driving to the store.  That is easy for us since it’s just down the street and around the corner.  Every business in the flood prone area has sandbags out in front and back.



Their produce is all organic and the eggs are sourced from a farm where the chickens roam free and live in old school busses.   Each household with a membership is required to work 2 1/2 hours a month in the store and my first shift is coming up.  It should be fun.  The people who started the store are on a mission to reclaim our food system and to make Manitou Springs more self sustaining.  We are all being encouraged to have gardens and can then sell our excess to the store plus we will be able to gather every Saturday across the street to sell garden produce.

Last year a businessman started a zip line on the west end of town.  Now he is going to add more lines plus an off road Segway trail AND he wants to put in a ski slope using synthetic snow.  The nearest ski area to Colorado Springs is over 100 miles so this could attract tourists in the winter.  He plans to start with a small slope and then expand later on.

Another new business that I’m excited about is the Sun Water Garden Spa that will be open in the fall and is designed to be world class.  I will take a picture when construction of the multi-million dollar structure is further along. The spa owners have received permission to use water from a mineral spring across the street.  There will be a large salted pool heated to 94 degrees, a cold water plunge, an indoor waterfall, and many other small pools for various types of water therapies, as well as a mud and steam room.  Manitou Springs used to be known as the Saratoga of the West and the owners are hopeful their spa will attract other healers to Manitou.


This is the other side of the church where I posted a picture of their red door a few weeks ago.  The new grocery store is directly across the street from the red door on the right side. This junction of Canon and Manitou Avenue is considered the absolute center of town.  See the big salmon colored house on the hill? We live next door to it on the right. It’s a great location from which to walk downtown and what is really nice is that it’s one of the few towns in the country where you can safely walk at night and where many other people are out for a stroll on the avenue.

DSC_5056 This is the Heavenly Squeeze Juice Bar that opened last year.   I went there last year with friends for their grand opening special of juice and some minutes at the bank of oxygen machines.  There are different aromas of oxygen that sure gave me an energy boost.  I think tourists who come to Manitou Springs from lower elevations and are not acclimated should consider this shop.  It’s just a few buildings up Ruxton Avenue which is the street that goes to the Pikes Peak Cog Railway station.


And Hell’s Kitchen is right across the street.

Oh These Mountains

A man named McGee bought 90 acres at the top of the mountain across from our house years ago.  He planned to subdivide it into lots.  But first he needed to have his property annexed into Manitou Springs so that he could get the taxpayers to foot the bill to put in roads and utilities in order that he could become wealthy.  Our very wise city officials refused.  So out of spite,  in 1991 McGee decided to build a house on the very top.  But first he had to pay $12,500 for a membership in the adjoining mountain’s (Crystal Park) homeowners association to have access to their private road so that he could get close enough to build his house of spite. 

According to a newspaper article “He even tried to bulldoze a road down the face of the mountain to reach city streets, further enraging townsfolk and resulting in a court-issued restraining order and demands for expensive engineering studies and design work that killed his plan.”

For years Manitou city officials had attempted to buy the property from him only to have him back out at the last minute.  But now McGee is 76 and has cancer so the city government was finally able to buy his property for $1.1 million dollars.  This week the big story was the bulldozing of the house and is no longer the eye sore that bothered so many. 

One of the benefits to the city now owning this property is that a trail system that runs all along these mountains can be completed.  Currently, the trail stops next to his mountain and then starts up again on the other side. 

Backyard View

The bump on top is the house


Another view of the house

Now as to Crystal Park, that is another story:

In 1975 a couple of Texans bought the next mountain over to create a private 2,000 acre retreat for residents of Texas. They felt mistreated in Colorado and wanted a haven for Texans.  And can you believe, they even tried to create a Texas State Park using 40 acres which they planned to deed back to the state of Texas?!   Lawmakers in the Colorado House of Representatives quickly passed a bill to outlaw ownership of Colorado land by other states. 

Then in October 1975, the property was “dedicated to God and his loving people” as the Crystal Park Christian Community.  Needless to say, you had to meet certain criteria to be approved to live there. I believe that has all since changed and heathens are not turned away.

Not many people in Colorado Springs have been on that mountain or actually even know about the community as there is a gate at the bottom and it is a 6 mile drive to the top.  One of my childhood friends was employed by the community to maintain the road. He was provided a house to live in as he had to be constantly ready in the winter to plow the road if it snowed.  I was up there several times to visit and it is a very beautiful pristine area with a nice lake.


Crystal Park is the middle mountain.