COBWEB CORNERS: More than one ‘balanced rock’
By Mel McFarland
This is not about the Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods! Would you believe there are at least five more in the Pike's Peak region?
One of them was supposed to be near Divide, on the Colorado Midland railroad, so I went looking for it. In my search I turned up the others. I'll talk mostly about the Divide one today.
Another of the five Balanced Rocks is on Cameron's Cone. That is the mountain with the round top just south of Mount Manitou. I have only seen a picture of this rock. It is a large oval one, bigger by four or five times than the one in the Garden of the Gods. It is perched on a couple of smaller ones.
I'd been really curious about the one near Divide. I have two post cards that show a Balanced Rock near there on the "Old Skelton Ranch." But the ranch is gone and some houses have since been built there. Who knows, the rock may have been knocked down! A regular reader of this column contacted me because he is doing a story on the ranch, and in his searching he found my rock. He drove me up to see it. On the way, he told me that Skelton's Ranch was a resort 100 years ago. Judge Skelton had come here from near St. Louis. He advertised his resort in that area and his clients came up the pass on the Midland railroad. A wagon would meet them at the Woodland Park station. At the ranch, more like what we would call a dude ranch, his customers would live in rustic accommodations, eat food grown on the ranch, and ride horses. One of their rides went past the ranch's Balanced Rock, as well as other named formations.
After bumping along a very rough four-wheel drive road, we got out and walked about a quarter mile, and there it was! It was as big and glorious as it was in the post card views. It is fairly isolated. There really is not a good way to get to it, and it seems that it is going to stay that way.
Then I found a card of another Balanced Rock. This one is on Mount Manitou!