It was a hot day, so we rode west into the relatively cool foothills, up the shady Bear Creek bike path to the town of Morrison.
|"Downtown" Morrison Colorado|
Morrison sits just across the way from the famed Red Rocks park & Amphitheater, where many a musical hero has performed.
But, as fate would have it, this day the gate was open, and there was a sign with an arrow reading "CCC Camp tour." We had no earthly idea what the CCC Camp was, nor why someone would be giving tours of it, but we weren't gonna pass up a chance to explore uncharted territory!
So we rode onward. The road winds around on some VERY steep hills, and soon we saw this:
At which point CatMan put it all together and realized that it was an old Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
We missed the official tour, but around the corner from this photo there was a group of park rangers who were just thrilled to tell us all about it.
For those who don't know the details (as I didn't) the Civilian Conservation Corps (or CCC as it was known) was one of those New Deal programs back during the depression, which "employed" young men for the bargain price of $30/month. The men were housed in camps across the country, and worked on projects including roads, bridges, dams, irrigation, and of course, our National Parks.
And... the men housed at this particular camp actually built Red Rocks Amphitheater!
|This photo was taken from the stage area, showing the seats roughed in|
Turns out this is the 75th anniversary of Red Rocks, and there are lots of events commemorating the construction, so that's why they were giving the tours.
This is one of the few remaining CCC camps in the country (it's called the Mt. Morrison Camp), and it's been beautifully restored using "period appropriate" materials.
Anyhoo... we pedaled on through the camp and up another incredibly steep hill, where we were treated to an amazing view of Red Rocks. (I'm not sure if the view was quite as amazing as the pain in my legs, but it was pretty.)