Peace, Love, and Manitou Springs - My Family Travels

Manitou Springs; home of the Crystal Wizard, the Cotton Club, Penny Arcade, Hemp Shop, Corvette weekend, herbal tea café from Africa, and Colorado’s Custard Company. One trip to Colorado and I had encountered these outlandish entities of the town but also climbed Red Rock, got lost with conflicting directions, kissed by a “hippie,” speckle painted with the locals, chatted with nearby musicians, forged my way through the beaten path, dined with Madonna, and drank from a fountain of magic water.

Among all these experiences, the journey I was about to embark on may not have the been the most noted in my travels, but as I recall, was a little side trip of oasis and surprise. Many a young person has climbed a volcano and ridden a horse down a mountain, but I doubt that many have taken the time to write about, or have even gone to such a place as this.
“We are leaving now if you wanna go,” Will urges me to hurry up and get ready, which consisted of slipping my flip-flops on. Our journey began just as the hour hand stuck four o’clock. My new friends from this teen conference and I had decided to go see what all the fuss about “Ghetto Falls” was.

It was about the most clandestine, hidden temple of words and sights I had never laid eyes on. It truly was a waterfall. The path off the side of the road about two hundred feet had led our three curious footsteps to this cascade. This was no ordinary, countryside, oil-pastel waterfall. Surrounding the fall was a bridge that was accessible to wondering young minds like ours. From bottom to top and side to side, under and over and front and back, graffiti covered this waterfall more than the middle school kids down in Henniker did with the covered bridge.

As we “Oohed” and “Ahhhed” at our discovery, I realized that the world offered many little places like this. There must be thousands of little serene hideaways all over the world. If only I could see all of them. Amongst this peaceful scene of flowing water and clear blue skies was the stained-on paint from thousands of dollar store spray paint cans. I’m not sure if I found it exciting or odd, but this graffiti was not obscene. In fact, some may call it uplifting. Uplifting graffiti? Is there such a thing? And to that I say yes, for there were peace signs and hearts shellacked with sayings like, “Peace, love, and Manitou Springs.” Cheerful as this may sound, I am not a fan of graffiti being everywhere. This place, however, would definitely be missing something if it did not.
After our gazing and studying every little detail and letter, we decided to take advantage of the crystal clear, shimmering cool water. Clothes and all, we jumped right in. Water rushing down our heads slipping past our necks, chilling our bodies as it travelled down our spines, it felt as if I could not get enough of not only the refreshment, but this tiny town that offered so much already and yet I felt it was like a nesting doll getting smaller and more profound with every forward step.

From the heart of “Ghetto Falls”, this endearing name reminds me of all I discovered those two weeks in Colorado. I found myself drawn to the unknown roads and just being lost in the splendor of downtown Manitou, or any such pace. With a name like “Ghetto Falls,” it has to be good.

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