With the snow melting and the sun welcoming us with his warmth and rays, we decided to get outside and explore. Since moving to Denver, the Future Mr. and myself have not done much in the way of adventures. We have both been so busy with work, wedding planning, and just settling in that we have completely neglected the great outdoors! The forecast called for mid 60’s, partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Basically the perfect day to get outside for some vitamin D.
We packed up the truck, water, treats, and hit the road. (Ellie Mae came along of course). Driving south 80 miles away from the city, we hit no traffic or construction. In light of wanting to get away from winter and snow, we decided to visit Garden of the Gods and skip the mountains. It is amazing how just 80 miles south of Denver completely transports you into the Southwest. The landscape was fairly flat despite the large bluffs and tumbleweeds. The dirt slowly transformed into red and yellow dust. Small cactii littered the earth. Sunshine and spring felt plentiful in Colorado Springs and beyond.
Arriving at the Garden of the Gods, we were both in awe. It had the same feeling as the Arches in Utah, where these huge rock formations surround you on a vastly open and flat plain. The park is set up for tourists of all kinds with manicured and mostly cement paths to follow. There are some trails that are off the main pathway for those who want to do more hiking than walking. I can see why runners and cyclists would be drawn to this beautiful park with its inspiring scenery and lack of inclines.
The weather could not have been more perfect with the clouds blocking sunlight just often enough to keep yourself from really heating up. With Spring in effect, the park was filled with families, couples, those with dogs, and more specifically, climbers who were eagerly enjoying a day of warm weather. Each rock formation you walked around, you spotted a climber embracing Mother Earth. The park allows climbers with proper gear and permits. We saw beginners who were just learning to climb, who were overcoming some fears, as well as more advanced climbers who were just enjoying themselves and the sunlight. Quite inspiring.
While walking around, the greatest part of being in the Garden of the Gods is the impact that the enormity has on you. You feel yourself surrounded by the earth, where all signs of city and civilization (aside from the park signs and the cement pathway) are blocked from sight and mind. I was reminded just how minute I am in the entire scheme of things. That humbling epiphany is one of my favorite feelings that I strive for and I search for. I found it hidden between the enormous rock formations inside this park.
One thing about the Garden of the Gods that has drawn me into returning on a less crowded morning or evening, is the array of birds! I saw so many unique birds that I had never seen before. It made me wonder just how many other flying species inhabit the park that were not out and about during the hottest of the afternoon hours.
In the future when I return, I will return early in the morning to see the lighting and shadow play of the rock formations, as well as try to spot some new birds! I also plan on not bringing Ellie Mae, as she was fussy and over all not impressed. Maybe a bike would be a nice addition, as well, in order to get around the park faster so as to spot a nice area to sit and relax for a while. Who knows, maybe I will be signing up for the upcoming 5k through the Garden of the Gods in May. All I can say is that I don’t plan on missing out on this place for more than a few months.