While the Great Sand Dunes are a bizarre natural phenomenon, Bishop Castle is an artificial one. The castle is gorgeous and a masterpiece of time and energy in the truest for of the word. It’s the life work of Jim Bishop and those who help him, but there’s more to it than that.
The first and most lasting thing is the castle. It’s still a work in progress, but what progress has been made is stunning and of the highest quality. The work is the kind where you can tell how it was made and feel like you could attempt the same process, but the skill level involved in the castle’s creation is such that there’s no way anything you make would be this good (true for me, at least).
The work that has been done here is immense and the next phases are obvious. You’re actually allowed in many of those places, something that would make an OSHA inspector cringe. Signs as you enter warn you that you enter at your own risk and if you didn’t read the signs it’s your fault. They have to put those signs, up, though, because you can climb many stories up to steel-work that shakes under your weight. Very fear-inducing.
The bizarre part comes from the signs, the other memorable part of Bishop Castle. I guess all creativity and time is spent on the castle, but not all the passion, because as you walk in the signs do more than relay your responsibility while on the premises and they are not well made signs. Let’s just say that Mr. Bishop’s shop teacher found his a genius and his penmanship teacher found him unteachable.
The majority of this sloppily composed signs rant against the government, ranging from the tyranny of the government trying to interfere and impose regulations on private citizens (like those trying to build a castle with rocks from public lands) to how wildfire control is horrible to driving is a right and no government has the right to issue driver’s licences. It gets a little intense.
We opted out of taking pictures of them.
Bishop Castle is understandably a very popular tourist attraction and worth a stop if you’re nearby.