20 February 2009

A Walk in His Gardens--Garden of the Gods

"For purple mountain majesties -- Above the fruited plain!"
Early one morning we traveled northwards as the first glimmer of the new day's light began to show above the eastern plains to our right. As we drove along in the twilight, we passed the main section of Colorado Springs to our left and could see the mountains and THAT mountain which helps attract so many visitors each year to Colorado Springs and nearby locales. No, this visit I would not be going up Pike's Peak, like in 1977 when some friends and I drove the many switchbacks to its 14,000+ foot elevation and panoramic views. In 2008, I was quite content viewing its peak from the lower elevations to be found around Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods. Besides, it I ever got really nostalgic and wanted to see the summit again --- I could do so by viewing it through the web cams available online. I would leave that drive to those younger or more adventuresome then I:)

So even though the road we turned on--to the west--would eventually get closer to the mountain, we would be turning off at our destination this AM-the Garden of the Gods.

It had been more then 30 years since I'd last visited this area and seen Pike's Peak, the Garden of the Gods and Glenn Eyrie. Then I was an unmarried, young woman traveling with college friends; now I was a middle aged grandmother. Much time and many life events had passed between these two trips; once vivid memories of my time in the Garden had grown more vague over the years--but they were still sufficient in scope to remind me that I had loved it-and nearby Glenn Eyrie and I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to see it again.

We found the Garden Drive entrance into the park, turned right and then the mood of the morning changed for me as I stepped outside the car. Everything about the atmosphere here seemed different from elsewhere -- I felt that I had entered a magical, ancient world! It was (and still is) hard to describe the effect it had on me.

The sky was typical for a late spring/early summer morning here, with the moon clearly discernible above us still. The first rays of the rising sun reflected off the rock formations causing them to seem alive-glowing with a reddish intensity that was stunning against the deep blueness of the heavens. The ambiance was one of great peace and antiquity. I had only felt this way once before--on part of a trail near Longmire on Mt Rainier, the Trail of Shadows. It was silent outside the car we traveled in--as if the few visitors there felt an inner urge to respect the serenity of all that were there.

We continued to drive through the park-stopping here and there for me to take photos of the rock formations, the mountains and of the areas below the Garden.
Then, too soon, the magic would be over and it was time to move on to our next stop--Manitou Springs, which had a magic of its own and a LOT of water. And speaking of Manitou Springs, that's where my next post will take us:)

Blessings, Aimee
Photos: as identified above. Taken spring/summer 2008.
See links for additional information, photos, etc on Pike's Peak, Manitou Springs & the Garden of the Gods..
Note: I could not link it from here, but there is a map available of the Garden of the Gods on another site. Just google it--I believe it was the official site for Colorado Springs. There were several maps there including some that gave the names of the rock formations and the trails there.
Note on quote above: words taken from 'America the Beautiful', inspired in part from the view atop Pike's Peak. Written by Katharine Lee Bates.

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