Roving Retrievers-Tails and Trails

A “tail” of two Golden Retrievers (and their humans)as they travel west:

Day 13, Day trip to Colorado Springs, Garden Of The Gods

Originally called Red Rock Corral until two surveyors who helped survey Colorado City explored the site. Upon seeing it for the first time one of the surveyors, M.S. Beach, proclaimed that the site should be named “capital place for a beer garden”., (Although his name doesn’t suggest I’m wondering if he was a German). His surveying companion Rufus Cable was simply awestruck by the impressive and unusual rock formations and exclaimed, “Beer Garden!? Why this is a fit place for the Gods to assemble.!

And there you have it, The Garden Of The Gods.

The 480 acres of land which surround and are home to the Garden Of The Gods was privately purchased in 1879 by Charles Elliot Perkins and remained in his name until his death in 1909. Upon Perkins death his family gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs provided it would always remain a free public park. Per that request, Garden Of The Gods is free to the public. There is a dedication plaque on one of the rocks at Cathedral City explaining in part, the story.

People, if you’re ever within a 100+ mile radius of Colorado Springs, this is a MUST do! Put it on your list!

The park has:

  • Free admission, this includes free parking!
  • A wonderful visitor center which has an outdoor patio overlooking the main portion of the park
  • Clean and well maintained grounds everywhere!
  • Miles of well maintained and well marked trail system with maps available at the visitor center.
  • Dog friendly everything!!! In fact you can bring your pets inside the visitor center which reminded me of a small museum when I first walked in.
  • Café and souvenir shop which is at a different location from the visitor center.
  • Over 1 ½ mile Wheelchair and stroller accessible concrete footpaths!

Personally I have been to Colorado Springs several times with one of my old working buddies and friend, Dan D, (easily one of the most persistent and professional sales reps in the history of direct mail).  Since we were always in town for business, I never ventured away from town to discover the area. What a mistake!

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Sue and I, along with thing #1 and #2 decided today we were going to take a road trip. Google Maps indicated Colorado Springs was 1 hr and 29 min from our rental which met our criteria of doggie day trips not to exceed 1 ½ hrs…PERFECT! So after our morning dog walk we were packed up and on the road. The car trip from Boulder was simple and scenic. As we neared our destination the views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding mountain range were simply beautiful. As we neared our destination we were treated to geology you would expect to see in Utah, not Colorado. Set within an alpine forest the red rock formations were awe inspiring, we couldn’t wait to get inside the park and go discover.

Being male I am one that prefers to save time and just bypass the visitors center, let’s get right to where the action is. Sue has more stripes on her sleeve than MJ, Bobby, and I put together so off to the visitors center we went. What a great call. The center provided a great prelude to what we would be treated to shortly. Several rooms with exhibits explaining in detail the geology of the area, the animals that inhabit the area, etc. We stopped at the information desk where a volunteer worker at the center suggested different parts of the park to go to and hikes to take. Once back in the car we drove to the first area as suggested by the park volunteer. “Cathedral City” may be the parks most notable rock formations, rows of red rock formations jutting out of the ground known as “hogsbacks” that shoot up into the sky two or three hundred feet. We took MJ and Bobby out of the car, hooked them up to their leashes and hiking we went. As it had just snowed two days earlier, not many people were hiking the dirt trails as we were but once we descended back down we found concrete sidewalks throughout Cathedral City and many of the other main areas of the park. The fact that it was mid January meant nothing as there were people everywhere, many of which had their dogs in tow too!

After our hike we took pictures by the hogsbacks, returned to our car and drove to “Balanced Rock”. 700 tons of rock seemingly balanced on a single point. Sue and Bobby spent a little time jumping around and on top of rocks in the area, MJ and I preferred the views from below.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

Sue and Bobby climbing up near Balanced Rock

Sue and Bobby climbing up near Balanced Rock

Back in the car to go discover more of the area. Manitou Springs is a town nestled at the base of Pikes Peak. Clearly a town that time had passed decades ago. Thankfully there are still villages that have not succumbed to the commercialization most other towns have. Founded in 1872 intended to be a town of “scenic health”. From Manitou Springs you can take the cog rail from the base of Pikes Peak up…it’s steep! The volunteer at the Garden Of The Gods visitor center told us there are still 8 health springs there which are free to drink. We drove through town and didn’t see any signage for the springs but that may be because there was so much to look at and enjoy. 6 miles from Colorado Springs and only 2 miles or so from the Garden Of The Gods, Manitou Springs is a box that must also be checked off your “to do” list.

Today was a full day of discovery and fun. The car trip back seemed to take some time as we were all exhausted from our full day of activities.

While walking the dogs around the neighborhood we are staying in Boulder, we have discovered many unique and cute characteristics about this town. For instance, just one block away there is a chicken coop on the parkway in front of a house. It is two stories with a chicken ladder inside to get from the ground floor chicken community center up to the chicken bedroom loft area. The chickens lay eggs, you walk past, pick up the egg door, pull out your eggs. I don’t know how you pay, the sign doesn’t indicate so it must be on he honor system. Anyway, what makes this story even more unique is the type of chickens which are laying eggs. The chickens are Bantam Silkies. They have a very unique look, very fine feathers that cover their heads, the chicken themselves are quite small. The reason I tell this to you is MJ and Bobby have to walk past the chickens on all of our morning and evening potty walks. It’s as though they think they have made friends with other animals. Check out the chandelier in the coop, crazy.

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Batam Silkies - MJ and Bobby's favorite Boulder site

Batam Silkies – MJ and Bobby’s favorite Boulder site

Well, it’s almost lights out so it’s time to take the dogs for their final walk of the day. Off to the chickens we go.

Have a great evening.