We decide to stay an extra day to check out some of the sights. We drive up on a narrow, high ridge called Skyline Drive. There are some exposed, inverted dinosaur footprints. Some big animals stepped on a muddy riverbank here about 102 million years ago. They were rhinoceros sized lizards that were a little uglier than tricerotops.
The suspension bridge over Royal Gorge was built in 1929 in seven months when things were booming. It cost $250,000 and spans a quarter of a mile over a 1,200 foot deep gorge. They claim it's the highest suspension bridge in the world. Those old guys knew how to "get 'er done!" I get very uneasy walking over it. It's the same feeling I always had on top of the World Trade Center, as it swayed in the wind. I give the camera to Mrs. Phred and walk quickly to the other side with my eyes averted from the Arkansas River far below.
The Royal Gorge Park has a lot of touristy things to see. There's a little red helicopter that runs tourists though the gorge at about 150 MPH with 50 feet of clearance on each side about 35 feet over the river...what a hot dogger.
They have a rare white buffalo.
One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was strong and the people were starving for there was no game. Two young men went out to hunt. Along the way, the two men met a beautiful young woman dressed in white who floated as she walked. One man had bad desires for the woman and tried to touch her, but was consumed by a cloud and turned into a pile of bones.
The woman spoke to the second young man and said, "Return to your people and tell them I am coming." This holy woman brought a wrapped bundle to the people. She unwrapped the bundle giving to the people a sacred pipe and teaching them how to use it to pray. "With this holy pipe, you will walk like a living prayer," she said. The holy woman told the Sioux about the value of the buffalo, the women and the children. "You are from Mother Earth," she told the women, "What you are doing is as great as the warriors do."
Before she left, she told the people she would return. As she walked away, she rolled over four times, turning into a white female buffalo calf. It is said after that day the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful.
Another view of the suspension bridge.
The admission ticket includes a spectacular bungee ride. They run you out over the 1,200 foot gorge. You are expected to scream at the apogee. I ask Mrs. Phred to take my picture.
They have a tram that drops 1,200 feet at a 45 degree angle. It was finished in 1997 and takes you to the gorge bottom in six minutes.
Mrs. Phred always wants me to take her picture in front of the carousel...Avignon. Normandy...you name it...but she won't ride...they have a