Colorado Springs: The Sequel! I decided to stop in neighboring Manitou Springs in the morning; it was super cute and had been too busy for me to stop there for lunch on the day prior. I did a quick sketch in the beautiful morning light before embarking on the day's adventure: Broadmoor Seven Falls!
The falls are a nice 20 minute drive south of Manitou Springs, made a little longer because they have recently changed parking and now have everyone park off-site and get shuttled in. While waiting for the shuttle I struck up a conversation with one of the people in charge of managing the shuttle line (he believes, and I agree, that they need more than the four shuttle buses that they have). He was excited to find out I would be sketching and I promised to show him my paintings when I return.
Once the shuttle drops you at the entrance, you have an option to either take a tram to the falls or have a leisurely twenty minute walk. I opted for the walk. Nature is pretty!
The falls themselves are beautiful, though you don't get the full effect walking up. It is (unsurprisingly) broken into seven parts, and you can only really see the bottom three initially. So, I sketched those and then began my walk up.
Fun fact: I have a fear of open spaces, not specifically heights. So, when I'm confronted with a really wide open, unenclosed space, I don't feel like I'm going to fall down; I feel like I'm going to float up. Is this logical? No. No, it is not. However, when climbing up the 224 steps to the top of the falls, I could see through the staircase and feel the open space around me and felt like the only thing keeping me from floating away was my hand on the railing, so I decided to take a little emotional break on the landing, sit on the bench, and sketch the top of the waterfall. Oddly enough, I would find later that going down wasn't as bad because there were so many people in front of me that it felt enclosed, even though the view of the drop-off was much worse. Go figure!
After clearing the top, I did a short hike to get to Midnight Falls so I could sketch yet another waterfall!
Once I had my feet firmly planted back on the ground, I cheated and took the elevator to the Eagle's Nest on the other side of the clearing so I could get a better shot of the full waterfall. Listen, I was doing great with the altitude so far, but I had gone up and down 224 steps and my legs were tired so why push it? Several very adorable children were invested in watching my sketch this and were thrilled to get business cards (and to hear my "JUST KEEP COLORING" schpeel).
When I got back to the parking area it started to pour, so I obviously left at the right time! (And yes, I did go to show my sketches to my new buddy before I left). I went back to the airbnb for a little break while the weather sorted itself out, and then decided to head back out to Manitou Springs.
Clearly the trick with Manitou Springs is to go early or late; parking was a cinch when I returned in the evening. I went to their artists collective and bought myself a handmade mug as my *official* souvenir from the trip. And also some fudge, because that's the same as dinner, right? Manitou Springs has this amazing arcade over multiple storefronts, and I wanted to do at least one nocturne, so I sat down to sketch while I waited for the sun to set. I wanted to choose something doable in a short period of time since the light was changing so fast, so naturally I chose an entire panorama of main street.
After my panorama, I sat down in front of the Skeeball part of the arcade for a nocturne. So much fun! And after all the rocks, it was nice to sketch some architecture, especially since I knew the next day I would be driving south, into the mountains.