Monday, March 23, 2015

The US Air Force Cadet Chapel

Last weekend my husband and I accompanied a community club to an outing at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, to attend a brunch held at the officer's club, The Falcon Room. While there, we also went for a quick visit to the Cadet Air Force Chapel--a building I have often seen in photos and wanted to see in person. This iconic Colorado landmark was begun in 1959 and completed in 1963. Its principal designer and architect was Walter A Netsch, a Chicago native. (All photos, and photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)

The US Air Force Academy is nestled along the scenic front range, east of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains, in an area north of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It holds a dual role as an Air Force installation and a military academy university for officer candidates for the United States Air Force. The altitude of the campus is 7,258 feet.

The buildings in the cadet area were designed in a modernist style and are set around a large square pavilion known as "The Terrazzo." Portions of the campus are open to the public to tour, and the Cadet Chapel is one of the most popular sites, drawing a half million visitors a year.  The Cadet Chapel's aluminum, glass and steel structure soars more then 150 feet high. Its 17 spires can be easily spotted from Interstate 25, several miles east.

The chapel spires reach toward the deep blue Colorado sky and are very inspiring to see!

The granite steps in front lead to the main level and the Protestant chapel. The Cadet Chapel was designed specifically to house three distinct worship areas under a single roof  The Protestant nave is located on the upper level, while the Catholic and Jewish chapels and a Buddist room are located beneath it. Beneath this level is a larger room used for Islamic services and two meeting rooms that can be utilized for other faiths. Each chapel has its own entrance, and services may be held simultaneously without interfering with one another. There is also an outdoor Earth Centered area called the Falcon Circle.

Inside, the main chapel's soaring roof is illuminated by stained glass windows, and draws ones eyes forward towards the front ...

Where the 46 foot high cross ....

 ...and Italian marble back altar, can be seen.

The side windows are also trimmed with stained glass, and along with the glass in the roof gives the chapel a warm glow.

The ribbons of stained glass keeps changing colors with the light and the effect is mesmerizing.

This photo was taken from the altar, looking towards the narthex in the rear of the chapel, where you can see the choir balcony and organ. The main chapel can seat 1,200 people.

We were also able to visit the Catholic Chapel, which can seat 500 people. It was rimmed by beautiful stained glass windows, which also contained panels depicting the Stations of the Cross.

Of course, the reason for our visit to the Air Force Academy this time was to enjoy a buffet brunch with our community club members in the Falcon Club, where we were treated to a choice of many wonderful entrees. The Falcon club is open to retired and active Air Force and employees of the USAF.

Regretfully, I did not take my Nikon DSLR camera along with me on this visit, as I was not sure if cameras would be allowed on the base, so the photos in this post were taken with my cell phone and a smaller camera. I hope to be able to take a longer visit to the Cadet Chapel in a future post and explore more of the grounds, but I hope you enjoyed this introduction to one of Colorado's most visited man made attractions!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Eagle's Wings in Cherry Creek State Park

We've had a bit of a warm front again this week, with temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Most of the snow in my neighborhood has melted and some of the trees are beginning to grow buds. Unfortunately, the snow pack in the high Rocky Mountains is below normal for this time of the year. It is not good news for the western states which depend on snow melt in the mountains to feed their rivers and reservoirs. We may still have a few more snowstorms before spring is over, which would be a very good thing, even if having nice weather has been pleasant. This view is of Mt. Evans--the highest Rocky Mountain closest to Denver.  Did you see my blog post this summer where my husband and I took a ride to the summit of this mountain! It is approximately 14,270 feet high and the road towards the top is the highest paved road in the United States! We had to hike the last quarter mile! Click here if you would like to view that post. (All photos and photo collages will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)

On one of the beautiful days this week my husband and I drove over to Cherry Creek State Park and bought a year's pass to all the state parks in Colorado.  Cherry Creek State Park is 4,200 acres large with a 880 acres reservoir, surrounded by 35 miles of mixed use trails and natural areas. Over 40 species of animals can be seen in the park, including eastern cottontail rabbits. coyote, beavers, fox, muskrat, raccoon, ground squirrels, mule deer, white tail deer, and prairie dogs.  It is also the migratory path for many birds and raptors. There are campsites in the park as well as facilities for model airplane flying, a family shooting practice range, horseback riding and picnic grounds

Wetlands in the park are the habitats for water fowl,  and they also help to filter the waters that lead into the reservoir.

Local fishermen can fish from boats or the shore for walleyes, trout, wipers, large mouth bass, white crappies, bluegills tiger muskies and gizzard shads.

I saw and heard many nesting Black Billed Magpies high up in the trees.  Magpies have very loud voices, and a nest full of them was a cacophony of sounds. 

I was hoping to see some bald eagles and after a drive around for about a half hour I finally spied one in a tree, far on the horizon. 

It watched a Magpie fly by.

He sat there for quite awhile while I kept changing camera lenses, trying to zoom in closer.

He finally flew to the top of a closer tree top where I was able to get this last photo before he quickly flew away. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing eagles flying overhead. They are such magnificent birds!

"They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

I am happy to announce that the winner of my St. Patrick's Day give away was chosen by Random.Org as comment number 10.  That comment was by Sarah of the blog "Hyacinths For the Soul"

Congratulations, Sarah! This copy of Tracy Stern's "Tea Party Cookbook" will soon be on your way! Thank you to all who commented!

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