Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So then on Friday....

Friday morning arrived bright and sunny.  Gail whipped up a great breakfast, we gabbed some more then got ready to head out on the day's adventures.
First stop:  Gail's office.
She works at the International Headquarters of The Navigators.
I made her pose outside her building which is located in the Garden of the God's red rock area.

Inside the building where Christian leaders from around the globe come to study, share and make strategic plans on how to reach all the world for Christ.
Gail's job includes co-ordinating international conferences; she is regularly on the phone with people around the globe, and often gets to pick such leaders up at the airport when they come to visit. 

Gail in her office.  I got to meet most of her co-workers and her boss as it was a work day for everyone else in the building.

The building has conference rooms named for various continents.
The Africa room had this poster on the wall.
I had seen it before and found it quite astonishing to finally realize just how BIG Africa really is.

I should back up a bit here:  Gail's daily commute to work includes driving past these kinds of scenes.

The grounds are well known for eagles nests...

Which lead to the original land owner building a "castle" named Glen Eyrie; eyrie being one spelling of the name for an eagle's nest.

Gail drives past scenes like this...

And this...

And this on her way into work each day.

We discussed what the shape with the hole brought to mind.
I said a chick peeking out of a nest.
Now I think it looks like an inch worm.

Even a close up shot of the hole doesn't answer our question as to how such holes are formed.

Also on the grounds is a flock of wild turkeys.

Gail warned me that there was a Tom turkey who often would run right up and gobble at unwary visitors.
Tom didn't put on his show for me...shucks!

The other local celebrity that was a no-show was the big horned sheep that roam about and occasionally indulge in charging at one another.
Gail says when they are engaged in such behavior the sound as their heads and horns crash into each other is incredible; so loud that she can even hear it inside while she works!

In addition to the towering red rock, there were these interesting stones about that were used for making walls.

This stretch of wall enclosed a rose garden which during our visit was quite barren and dead looking as is typical at the end of winter.

A couple of shelters with benches inside were found inside the garden; throughout the Glen Eyrie grounds there are such benched areas with protected papers suggesting scripture mediation and prayer for each stop.
Gail and I sat and prayed together, thanking God for all that He has done for us, and asking Him for His continued oversight on our lives and our family's lives.
Gail and I often pray together on the phone; we love it when we can pray together side by side.

Then we walked around the grounds some more...
The next time I visit, God willing, it will be summer and the rose garden and this scene will be lush with summer color. 

The wife of the original land owner was nicknamed "Queen"; a trail named for her wound up a small canyon which provided water for the area.

Gail planned our visit to allow for time to take a short hike up the trail before we would have to report to the Glen Eyrie castle for a tour.

Now doesn't that cave make you curious?
How was it formed?
Gail thought perhaps original settlers to the area enlarged a smaller cave to use a shelter.
I wondered how convenient that cave was over time...wouldn't it be better to enlarge a cave lower on the mountain side?
Did animals dig out the cave?
(Questions...we have unanswered questions!)

So we walked and gawked and took pictures....

Crossed over foot bridges...

You can see part of the water pipe system emerging from beneath the foot bridge.  No water was running this far down the mountain but I could hear water running inside the pipe.

We snooped around this rock vein that looked at first glance to be a tree root...

When I saw this small meadow at the base of a canyon edge with trees atop, I asked Gail to hike up a few yards so I could take her picture with the topography in the background.

She chose to photograph me on the bridge.

When a couple came walking along, they asked if we would like our picture together. We returned the favor and photographed them as well.
Don't you love how easy cameras are now days that such exchanges are frequently possible?

Then it was time to make our way to the castle!

Gail asked me if I could take a zoom shot to figure out what the shapes were atop the chimney.
Turns out they are swiveling forms that funnel the smoke to blow out in the direction of the breeze.
The original owner/builder was concerned about smoke building up in the valley and planned for a way to lift the smoke out of the area.  Quite an advanced ecological thought for back in the late 1800s.

The castle link above can fill you in on the history of the place.
We began our tour  in front of the General's fire place; he personally selected each stone from the grounds and the fire place went up to the ceiling in a rustic manner.
Later he had the house enclosed within the wall of a castle, literally building a castle that was to look 100 years old on the day it was completed (via a shopping trip to Europe where he purchased roofs from old churches under demolition, fireplaces and such to furnish the new castle with ancient effects.)
This particular fireplace was taken apart stone by stone and then rebuilt into a Tudor compliant form.

The castle is now used for conferences; the main conference room was on a floor without a woman's restroom until just recently.  A woman staffer politely demanded that such a room be added; didn't it turn out lovely?

Our private tour wound through the castle, ending up just outside the Castle tea room.  As we peeked into the window, I turned to Gail and commented that someday I would really love to stay and have tea in the charming room.

Our tour guide walked us into the room just outside the tea room, and then Gail turned to me and said

"And now we are going to have tea!"

I thought she was kidding of course...the day's schedule was tight, but Gail had conspired with the guide to make the tour end here so that I could be surprised.

Surprised I was indeed!

No bonnets or gloves...just us as we were. 
Two kinds of wonderful tea, scones, devonshire cream, finger sandwiches...and lots and lots of happy chatter between bites.

You pulled it off Gail!  You are the MASTER of Surprise!
Gail doesn't usually enjoy drinking tea or coffee, but happily the non-caffeinated Rooibus tea was suited to her taste.  We managed to happily drink our way through multiple cups of tea.

The mini quiches and brie rounds were delicious!

The mantle behind me is made of alabaster!
If you look closely, you can see a little girl in a pink dress and white gloves arriving for tea with her mother.
I do hope she was bothered by our jean wearing selves on her special day.

A close up of the alabaster mantle...

The front window framed a magnificent red rock tower; I couldn't capture it with the interior light reflecting back at the camera.
The room was originally the ladies drawing room; a gentleman's drawing room was aside this room done up in a masculine wood paneled style.

A close up of the plaster work detail.
I found the soft green color quite refreshing and lovely with the white plaster work trim.

After our tea as we walked back to Gail's car I spied the pink frocked young miss walking with her mother across the grounds.
I do wish every little girl gets to attend such a special kind of tea with their moms at some point in their lives.

It really had been a "blue bird of happiness" kind of day...and yet the day was not yet over.
Our next adventure took us to Gail's friend Chris's house where the three of us work to set up for another special event to be held the next day.

A quick dinner of pizza and raw veggies sustained us as we planned and arranged the house for the arrival of over 24 guests the next afternoon.  By the time we got back to Gail's house it was all we could do to stumble off to bed; it had been a very full and happy day...we were tired!

To be continued...


Vee said...

Oh my! You pack these posts full of delights. First of all, before I forget, I had never (shamed I am, too) heard of The Navigators until this past weekend when I learned that a former student has gone to work with them. So that's the first cool thing. Loved the grounds, the gardens, the buildings and the landscapes. It's so beautiful NOW that I can't imagine what it will be like in summer. Your friend is providing you with quite the adventure. Also enjoyed seeing your tea. Oh, one more thing, after you two on the bridge, when I saw the next picture of the chimney, I thought the two of you were somehow up there. Hahahahaha... Keep having fun!

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh it does sound like the loveliest of times. I love it when you sound so happy in your posts and remember well our own time to sit and chatter at a tea house.

Vicki said...

Oh, hooray for Gail for surprising you! What a fun addition to your day of exploring! The area looks so beautiful!

I first came in contact with the Navigators as a youth, while attending the training conference organized by Campus Crusade for Christ in Dallas called Explo '72. I spent a week in sessions and meetings with some of the Navigators and several other organizations.

ellen b. said...

What a wonderfully packed day with lots of beauty to spy. Love that tea room. It's great to have a friend you can pray with wherever and whenever. :0)

Just a little something from Judy said...

First of all, I think it is time to wish you a Happy Birthday! If I correct in my thinking, this visit with your dear friend was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures and learning so many new things about this beautiful, unique Colorado location. I read down through your last posts and think you are blessed to have such a good friend like Gail. I have the highest respect for the Navigators too.

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

What a nice post. I'd love to see all this.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

So glad you took us inside...and gave us the tour. We did a 'drive by' of Glen Eyrie last summer when we were out that way...but I really wondered what the inside of the castle might be like. And to end your time there with a tea...most special!