Yesteryear’s Blogs – Wet Mountains and Bishop’s Castle

I’ve had two previous blogs, both running under the flag of the Skepticality Forum. Registered members had the option to have a blog be a part of the site.  That site went down twice, each time losing all the posts.  The second instance is what prompted me to start this blog.  

Also before this blog, I would both post these write-ups on Facebook (as notes), and mail them out to a large distribution of people who never read my stuff (about 140 people, mostly ex-employees, ex-colleagues, and friends who gradually became no more than memories).  In later years that got pared down as it became evident no one was responding or even reading the e-mails.  Eventually I stopped e-mails and told anyone who was interested to read my blog . . . to my knowledge, no more than a handful did.

Now I have a much larger audience that seldom reads my stuff, but I got to thinking . . . they missed out on not reading my earlier brilliance.  So, when I have time, and am too lazy to create new stuff, I will recreate old blog posts.  This is the first one, complete with associated photos and my then-brilliant writing.

The first offering is from a drive we went on back in 2009.  March 19, 2009, to be precise.


I had the day off on Thursday, and since it was a nice day it seemed a perfect opportunity to go for a drive.  Wet Mountains Scenic Drive did not sound overly taxing.  (Colorado Springs, south on CO 115, through Penrose, onto CO 67 through Florence and Wetmore, pick up CO96 to CO 165, and follow it through the San Isabel National Forest to Rye, Colorado City, and back home.)

Colorado Springs to Penrose is a relaxing drive, especially after one engages a powerful V8 to go around people who consider the speed limit a mere suggestion for an unobtainable goal.  Yes, these are the same people who have no idea how to use cruise control, preferring instead to constantly vary their speed so as to keep those behind them on their toes.  Once on my rear view mirror, I was able to think more clearly and guiltily retracted my usual wish for them to be afflicted by exploding hemorrhoids. 

Sipping coffee, munching on some snacks, we settled into a comfortable pace as we enjoyed the scenery.  I have become rather partial to the scarce vegetation, mini canyons, and interesting rock formations of Western scenery.  To some it may appear a barren land where life struggles to keep a tenacious hold while waiting for some moisture to chance by.  Perhaps that is exactly what I like about it; unsullied by the trappings of humans, the landscape seems timeless and detached from the things of man.

Unconcerned with my musings, the road eventually makes its way into the San Isabel National Forest.  It is flanked by vegetation clinging to impressive rock formations, and the hillside are dotted with aspen groves holding a silent vigil for the coming Spring; this will be a good drive to take in the fall; a mini-color tour, and one easily done in one day.  Continuing to meander through the forest, the road took us south, and eventually leads us to arguably the most famous attraction of the area . . . Bishop’s Castle.


Rising above the trees, the castle is the ongoing work of one Jim Bishop who, without blueprints, continues to add to what is now a 160ft tall structure. 


The site is open to the public . . . provided they agree to take life into their own hands and absolve Bishop of any liability in exchange for the privilege of climbing the narrow circular stairways leading to turrets and iron walkways high above the surrounding forest. 


Approaching the site on foot, the trees give way to glimpses of the structure, and one begins to see the full scope of what one determined man can do. 


Mind you, a man many claim to be a strong candidate for commitment, but a man who provides us the opportunity to climb onto solid proof it takes all kinds.


I did want to climb the various spires and gantries, and made it up a ways, but most places are “one way” only, so if someone is already up there, you have to wait for them to come down.  Regardless, I did snap some pictures, and plan to visit again for a more thorough exploration of the place.


A couple of things . . .


. . . this is not a place for people who are afraid of heights.  Despite the solid-looking appearance of the passages from one tower to another and the gantries girdling the towers, they are a bit unnerving to walk on. 


If you happen to be an engineer, you also tend to think about the forces imparted by the various rather robust visitors, kids running around, and the significant mass of the photography gear you carry, and you wonder what kind of analysis was done by the builder to ensure the structural integrity of the place.  I’m not fearful of heights, but I admit to a sudden desire to know more about the construction of the place, and of the qualifications of its builder to mix the mortar used to anchor the ironworks. 


The other thing . . . this is in the middle of nowhere, and while the place has “facilities”, they faithfully adhere to the medieval feel of the place.  Actually, despite some evidence of PVC tubes, I would date the facilities more toward the Dark Ages.  I would suggest easing up on the coffee on the way to the place.


That was the write-up exactly as written a little over four years ago.  All I did is sprinkle the photos in there, as normally I just sent out the write-up, and a link to the photos.  For them who missed it, there is a link to the SmugMug gallery in the above writing, but one can also click HERE to see all of the above, plus a few more photos.

For instance, like a close-up of the dragon . . .


And also a shot looking up through the circular stairway in one of the towers.


Hard to discern, but those are slabs of stones embedded on the walls, and arranged in a spiral pattern heading up.  There is no outer railing, but there are railings along the wall.

And finally, an inside shot of what looks to be a chapel of sorts, although I did not see any of the associated trappings inside.


You have to give the guy credit . . . he does know how to work iron.

The place is interesting, to say the least, and while we had planned to return, we have not been back since.  Maybe we’ll do a drive this fall since, as I mention, the route has a number of places that should have decent colors when the leaves turn.

In the original post I omitted a couple of shots . . . which I’m including here.





I like the setting of this place, and don’t know if it’s a house, barn, or combination of both.  Regardless, at the time it was not being used.  I see a lot of these structures in my drives, and often wonder of their history . . . but not enough to look it up.

And that’s it from March 19th of 2009.  There are a number of these flashbacks to life before Disperser Tracks, and I plan to sprinkle them in here as I see fit.  Some of my readers have already have seen these, but perhaps they will appreciate the trip down memory lane.

If you enjoyed this moment, found it surreal, or learned something, feel free to share it.  However, if you hated the whole thing, were bored beyond belief, and consider it a waste of time . . . why, then, it’s the perfect thing to forward to people you do not like!  It will serve them right!  

Chairs at Play
Chairs at Play

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  If said astute person is curious about them, click on it for an explanation of their origin.

WordPress is still screwing around with trying to be a class operation.  As such, while they busily work to add features and themes I will never use, they are remiss in fixing problems like disappearing links.  So, if you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to:  Note . . . there is no guarantee WordPress will keep this as a link, but at least you can copy it and paste it on a browser’s address field.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.