After mostly snowy skies (no complaints from me) it was a wonderful treat to wake up to clear, sunny skies! FINALLY we could see the mountains that had been so easily shrouded.
Both Cait and I had coworkers suggest going to the Garden of the Gods, so we woke up early Monday (I still missed the sunrise, but it was early!) and headed towards Colorado Springs. According to Google Maps, it was a trip just shy of two hours…a little over three hours later and we finally arrived! Due to an accident less than 30 minutes from the destination, we were left with nothing to do but sit and wait. But considering how many times the highways have been closed due to snow…this was relatively swift fix! But we eventually made it to the park…and I can honestly say it was well worth the drive and the traffic. We had an absolutely PERFECT day. Sunny with just a few clouds hanging around here and there. Warm enough that we walked around sans hat and gloves.
Colorado is named after the Colorado River – named by early Spanish explorers upon seeing the reddish tint given to the waters by the sandstone. Well the Garden of the Gods is a red rock formation and it is easy to imagine the colors they might lend to local waters. Covering 1,367 acres of land (roughly 2 square miles) it’s about a tenth of the size of the Golden Gate Canyon State Park (11,998 acres). It is not considered a National Park, but rather is distinguished as a National Natural Landmark. It sits at roughly 6,400 feet above sea level it is well known for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and general outdoor exploration. There is a paved loop that brings you around the largest of the formations and gives you stunning views of the Front Range (including Pikes Peak), as well as paved and unpaved paths that meander around the formations. Probably due to the fact that it was a Monday in the winter, crowds were pretty minimal. We drove the loop and stopped at a few of the pull-offs to walk around the shorter, maintained trails. It was a truly awe-inspiring experience. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking here.
The American Poet and writer, Hellen Hunt Jackson said “You wind among rocks of every conceivable and inconceivable shape and size…all bright red, all motionless and silent, with a strange look of having just been stopped and held back in the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe.” And I don’t think anyone else could describe the park better.
After a few hours wandering about the park, we headed back towards Boulder to hang with Aaron again. After dinner at Southern Sun Pub and Brewery, we headed over to the Laughing Goat for some live music at Shane’s suggestion. The featured band was David William & the Tricksters – a guitarist/vocalist, vocalist/accordionist, fiddler, and an upright bassist. Very fun and cool group of the musicians…the fiddler was outstanding. Could’ve listened to her solos all night long! But we decided to explore more of what Boulder had to offer and headed over to the Hotel Boulderado – the proud owner of Colorado’s first liquor license! Located underground, it has a definite speakeasy feel to it. You walk in and can easily picture the haze of smoke lingering about. One of the rooms featured an open mic night – we missed the bulk of performers, but managed to snag the last few. With a Hot Toddy in hand, it was the perfect ending to a wintery night in Boulder.