Saturday, October 3, 2009
This region of Colorado is known for it's tall rock walls rising above the landscape. These were actually molten lava that had pressed up from deep down when the earth here was shattered in a huge radial formation. These ridges can go on for a hundred miles out from a center point.
JIM BISHOP, AGE 65, STANDS IN HIS BUCKET LOADING ROCKS FOR HIS NEW ENTRANCE GATE AND BRIDGE/OVER MOAT!
ONE HARD WORKING MAN!
A wonderful surprise was awaiting us a few hours later at Jim Bishop's Castle. We were happy enough to be photographing the magnificent natural rock formations along our path and it cannot be overstated that this part of America contains extraordinary beauty.
Jim Bishop's Castle was not known to us although later, we found it to be an item within a book about Colorado's treasures. Jim and his bride decided back in the 60's to create a whimsical Castle of stone up here in the mountains. He has never stopped. Virtually a one man show and over 30 years of sweat has brought him fame and trials.
The government has fought him numerous times, bringing him to trial for felonies, but he states he was found not guilty on all counts...
Dorothy found her throne.
He persists and has created a whimsical dream architecture worthy of applause. We toured his monument on our own, "he asks you to sign a release". Passages to passages and stairs to cubby holes or rooms. Staircases to spriralled turrets a hundred feet up with still more unfinished steel weldments topping them.
He operates off donations mostly and it's evident that this project is never ending. He starts somewhere and often does not finish before moving on to a new inspiration, but it is amazing what he has accomplished and without a doubt, his engineering skills matches his visions.
I donated twice.........it was a pleasure to behold. "Good Luck Jim!"
A hundred feet up atop one of his creations, I grinned ear to ear with the beauty of this place and the magic it suggests..............not to be left out the white knuckled grip I continued to have onto something close!
Later on that afternoon, we settled into Cement Creek for the night; a quite, very small Federal campground 4 miles off the beaten path on a gravel road. Down in a valley, right next to a stream, deer roaming freely. A beautiful place.
We had left early on Sept. 14th from Lake Isabel National Park's campground, heading north. Some of the Federal Parks with campgrounds were within days of closing for the winter. This one was near vacant and we had a section of this campground virtually all to ourselves. Snow up here makes it impossible to keep parks open year round especially those far off the beaten path or major towns as we were.
The lake was serene and I could not help but take a picture of the sole, early morning sportsman fly fishingwith and his trusty dog standing in the water near him.