August 22, 2013 – Red Rocks Park, Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine and Buffalo Bill Museum

Our first destination was Red Rocks, a mountain park which is known for its very large sandstone outcroppings which were formed about 290-296 million years ago when the ancestral Rocky Mountains were eroded during the Pennsylvanian Epoch.  A subsequent uplift tilted the rocks to their current angle.

At one of our many stops, we hiked a short way up a trail to take some pictures of the rock strata.

One of those pictures required me take a few steps off the trail.  As I turned to retrace my steps, I glanced down and noticed something just under where I was about to plant my foot.

Fortunately, I was able to push off on my still planted foot and somehow launched myself over the not-so-friendly looking reptile … which had begun to “rattle” its tail.  PHEW!

A drive through the park provided some spectacular views of these beautiful rock formations

as well as a close-up -and-personal meeting with a young mule deer.

Within the park boundaries is the Red Rocks Amphitheater, a world-famous venue,

created by the CCC,

used since 1941 and hosted some of the best known rock, jazz, folk, classical performers and named by “Pollstar Magazine” as the Best Small Outdoor Venue eleven times before renaming the award after the Amphitheater.  The Beatles; Aretha Franklin; U2; Peter, Paul & Mary; Ray Charles; Jethro Tull; the Kingston Trio are among the hundreds of other acts who have performed there!

During the daytime when there are no events, the Amphitheater has become a mecca for those seeking improved fitness.

If you didn’t spot us int eh above pictures there’s a good reason!

After trying to drive Dinosaur Ridge, which we quickly discovered, was closed, we went to the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine. 

The shrine is sited at the top of a ridge overlooking the Denver area to the east

and I-70 as it heads up into the Rocky Mountain foothills west of Denver.  Its centerpiece is a 22’ statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus … 374 steps up a hill from the parking lot …

the grotto chapel and adjacent meditation gardens

and a covenant, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred heart, founded by Mother Cabrini (who was also the first American designated as a saint by the Vatican).

Beneath the large statue of Jesus are a number of marble and granite benches,

given in memory of loved ones who have passed away.  These included several to children who died all too soon and one who passed away on 9/11/2001, but apparently not listed as one of the terrorist casualties.

Our last stop of the day was at the Buffalo Bill Museum.

It turns out he was a much more interesting and accomplished individual than we realized.  William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846 – 1917) earned his name as a hunter for the railroad, gained fame as an Army scout and became arguably one of the most popular showmen of his day.  He was also a winner of the Medal of Honor.  A man of vision, he was an ardent advocate for equal rights for women

Annie Oakley

and for his former Indian foes (including Sitting Bull who led the Indians against George Armstrong Custer at the Little Big Horn )

who he treated as equal with equal pay with his white showmen.  Despite the frequent depictions of him,

He supported the preservation of the buffalo and originated the modern rodeo.

The museum was filled with memorabilia of his life, particularly during his Wild West Show days … where he traveled across the US and Europe.

 He was truly a product, a promoter and a shaper of the American West.

A short walk up to the top of Lookout Mountain took us the grave site of Bill Cody (Buffalo Bill) and his wife Louisa.

Tonight we enjoyed what started out as another movie (Die Hard) and popcorn night … but eventually moved into Debi and Dave’s coach when it started to rain.

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