At such an early hour, we had our pick of parking spaces at our start point, The Trading Post.
We were walking by 6:45 a.m. Today's walk was 11k (6.8 miles) which covered a lot of the trails in Garden of the Gods Nature Center. The park is described on the park map as "a unique city park." I'll say. This park has features similar to those in the red rocks of Utah. In 1971, the park was named a National Natural Landmark.
The first part of our walk was along parks roads which, this early in the day, were nearly empty. Early on in the walk, we spent a lot of time hiking the Scotsman/Buckskin Charlie trails up, down and around the southeastern side of the park.
|This may be "The Scotsman"|
|North Gateway Rock and South Gateway Rock|
|Pike's Peak from Garden of the Gods|
|Cool formation with part of town behind|
|Darren, Susan and I - Garden of the Gods|
|Early morning shadows|
|Cathedral (or Gray) Rock|
|Headed toward an old earthen dam...|
no longer serving as a dam
|Beautiful meadow and rock formations|
|Early morning trail in shadow|
|Yucca and Prince's Plume Plant|
|Susan M., Joan, Susan A.|
|We are here|
|Susan and Susan on the Susan Bretag Trail|
|This formation is "Kissing Camels"|
|Pike's Peak is between the Gateway Rocks|
|Me, Joan, Susan M., Darren and Gary -|
Viewpoint at a parking lot
|Hiking boots and poles help on these trails|
|Overlooking the heart of the park|
|A lady climbing the rocks -|
being belayed from below
|Joan, Susan and Darren|
We took our leave of Perkins Central Garden Trail and returned to the Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trails to get to the Siamese Twins Trail.
|Joan, Susan M., Darren|
|I call this "Monster Rock" or "Jabba the Hut."|
|Prickly pear cactus flower|
|Joan, Susan and Darren with|
Siamese Twins Formation in the background
|Siamese Twins - Darren, me and Susan M.|
|Siamese Twins keyhole with Pike's Peak showing through|
The guys from Rocky Mountain Field Institute (www.rmfi.org) were out repairing trails today. We thanked them profusely for the work they do.
Next, we spent time at Balanced Rock, one of the most visited formations in the park. We were not alone here. It is estimated Balanced Rock weighs 700 tons.
|Darren reading signs|
|People climbing all over the rock|
|Red sandstone erosion pattern|
The movie took us back in a time machine piloted by a guy who told us the eons of history that formed Garden of the Gods: oceans, forests, volcanoes, upheavals, subsidence. This area has experienced it all. My brain was worn out by the whirlwind geology lesson.
We then explored the Visitor Center which was more up to date with current animals, the history of the Native Americans who lived here, and the discovery of a new species of dinosaur in the park!
|Puma, mountain lion, or panther|
|Native American history|
|Chief Sapiah ("Buckskin Charlie") led the|
Southern Ute from 1880-1936
|History of the Utes|
|Theiophytalia kerri - New species of dinosaur|
|Theiophytalia kerri means |
"belonging to the gods garden"
|View of Garden of the Gods and Pike's Peak|
from the Visitor Center (Photo: Darren Medlin)
After the Visitor Center, Susan and Darren took me to their old neighborhood to see the home they used to live in. When they lived there, they had to evacuate because of a big fire. Thankfully, they did not have any damage to their house.
Next on the agenda was to find the caramel corn food truck that has awesome Kettle Corn. The guy was still in the same spot as he was when they lived there a few years ago. We each bought three bags of Kettle Corn. (It was a package deal to buy nine bags.)
We were pretty darned hungry so we dug right into that popcorn as we drove to Texas Roadhouse for lunch. We wanted to eat someplace special to celebrate Darren's birthday. I had steak kabobs that were so good. They came with rice, broccoli and I added a garden salad. Mmm, yummy!
After lunch, we drove to Trinidad, Colorado, to do a Volksmarch there this evening. We arrived at the Visitor Center about 3:00 p.m. to sign in for the walk and pick up our walk instructions. It was supposed to be open until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, but it was locked up with no one around. That sucked.
Susan was able to have walk instructions emailed to her phone. We opted to do the 5k walk at sunset so we wouldn't melt in the heat of the day.
In the meantime, we checked into our motel. I spent about an hour in the pool and some time in the hot tub. The pool was very refreshing, but not cold. We had cheese, crackers, wine, and sausage for dinner in Susan and Darren's room.
Just before sunset, Susan and I went on walkabout. We had a lovely sunset as we climbed the hill in a city neighborhood.
|Sunset in Trinidad, Colorado|
|Lovely, long-range sunset view|
|Love this old house!|