Wednesday, September 7, 2022
It was a beautiful morning at Cheyenne Mountain State park as the sun rose over Colorado Springs.
Cheyenne Mountain has quite a story. Deep within the granite is a NORAD site built during the cold war. The Broadmoor has a resort up there and a zoo. An antenna farm sits on top. There is a host of luxury housing areas. Cheyenne Mountain State Park has another park on the mountain, and North North Cheyenne Cañon Park has 20 miles of trails and seven waterfalls. We need to go back for another week just to explore the mountain! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheyenne_Mountain
Across the highway from Cheyenne Mountain State Park is Fort Carson. It is very cool to hear the bugle calls in the distance, although I was usually asleep before taps 😊, but I was up long before reveille (wake up call).
The Air Force Academy is the youngest of the service academies, starting in 1959. The Academy sits inside 4,630 acres that was formerly Cathedral Rock Ranch owned by Lawrence Lehman of the famous Lehman Investment family. The price was $300,000, or about $65/acre. It is a gorgeous setting at the base of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains. “140 different parcels were eventually purchased to make up what is now a nearly-18,500 acre government property.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Air_Force_Academy)
We stopped beside the runway where they practice flying and parachuting. It would be fun to watch that some time. They had several airplanes on display. Martha thought one might have been one her father tested in the wind tunnel at Langley Air Force Base where he worked as an engineer.
We went into the Visitor’s Center, watched a movie and poked around while we waited for a guided tour given by a graduate of the school. He gave a nice tour, but we couldn’t go into any of the buildings, and we were disappointed they didn’t march to lunch. I think it was too hot.
I wondered what it would have been like to go to school here in stead of VMI. It certainly is a gorgeous setting, but our guide said they never saw much of it. Their lives were busy with school, chores and physical fitness. Their rooms were assigned by squadron, not by class as it was at VMI.
A lot of money was spent on the facilities, and their sports complex is top notch. The school design is very modern with a lot of glass and aluminum. Entering class size is about 1,200, 20% of whom don’t graduate.