With sweet sorrow we parted with Denver on Day Five and headed south toward Colorado Springs. The tragic wildfires had been extinguished barely a week before our arrival, but we steered clear of Waldo Canyon and other affected areas. Those affected didn’t need voyeuristic out-of-towners traipsing around for scrapbook subjects.
Our first major stop was a park west of the city called the Garden of the Gods, whose claim to fame is a collection of geological oddities that don’t remotely blend in with their surroundings. Once you reach the Visitors Center, where I stood while snapping this, you can just tell which part of the landscape is the actual Garden.
One caveat: the lengthy thoroughfare that circumnavigates the park is mostly one-way. If you change your mind after passing a particular formation, you’ll have to drive a lap around as your penance for your wishy-washiness. Fortunately the park is covered in convenient walking paths, signage, and daunting rocks.
This is no mere zoo experience, where the star attractions hide from you at a standoffish distance. You. Are. There.
Several discernibly shaped formations have names and locations marked on the official brochure. These are the Kissing Camels.
Climbing is allowed on certain rocks under certain circumstances, none of which have anything to do with us. I salute those among you with the proper fortitude and equipment.
The walking paths take you around and between the various arrangements so you can spot details too obscured to view from the safety and loneliness of your car.
The dedication plaque reveals historical details As Seen On WikiPedia.
If you prefer your signs small and practical, Garden of the Gods has those, too. We were happy to see no snakes during our visit, but wondered if perhaps they should mail one of these signs to Rocky Mountain National Park.
My wife insisted on including me in some of her shots, because of size reference or deep abiding love or whatever. I can’t imagine my presence will help the resale value of her scrapbooks. Behold as I gesture unto the western face of the mighty Garden and trivialize it with the Vanna White treatment.
With so many different shapes, objects, strata, nooks, and crannies in this pic, it reminds me of one of those “How many hidden objects can you find?” puzzles. (“Help Morty the Mechanic locate six different kinds of tools in this photo so that he can fix his car and escape this restaurant placemat forever!”)
Behind me is another of the named formations, the self-evident Balanced Rock. Someday, mark my words, there’ll be a fight scene in this very spot between a hero and a monster twice his size, and that will be the one moment in time for which this boulder has been patiently waiting all its existence to roll out of place and save the day.
That name again: Garden of the Gods, a distinct highlight amidst the panoply of wondrous natural surroundings nestled against the backdrop of the august Rocky Mountains.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]