This Mothers day weekend Mom and I did a mini trip to the Colorado Springs area especially concentrating on Pikes Peak country. Colorado pictures always show snow–clad, perfect, sharp ranges, clear skies, abundant sunshine and lush evergreens. And we got a day, highly representative of the same. On a regular basis I am advised by my fiancé to use polarizers when taking pictures, but trust me, it just can not get bluer than that, if you’re blessed with the sky, we had that Saturday.
We spent half a day at the much underrepresented Garden of the Gods…remember that we only had one day to spend in Colorado Springs and we were hesitant initially whether we were making the right choice. But Garden of the Gods was, well, heavenly.
Red rocks washed in bright sunshine standing stark against the blue Colorado skies, hosting jays and doves in the crevices and all this with a backdrop of the white Rockies standing on a base of spruce, pines and aspen, the latter sparkling a fluorescent green in the sun.
We trailed, marveling at the huge sandstone and limestone rock formations.From how many people actually brought their dogs there, it looks like an amazing place to go just casual dog walking for the locals. Watch out for rattle snake they say, however, especially if you’re out there in the hot summer months…
Also if you’re there early enough in the day, catch the pancake and sausage breakfast at the visitor center. Real nice people, cheap food and amazing pottery work 🙂
Since we didn’t have a lot of time on our hands we were not sure if we wanted to take the train that goes up Pikes Peak, besides the fact that it was expensive and guided tours almost always hinder your personal plans and options on where you want to spend how long. So we decided to drive the 19 mile stretch to the 14000 something peak… the last 2 miles of which was blocked for inclement weather and snow.
Up until Crystal Reservoir which is 5 miles in, it didn’t seem much, but then the headache increased (high altitudes does that to me) and soon we were not seeing too many guard rails any more. (when you see t shirts that read “real men don’t need guard rails” believe the fact that a state which has 5 ft wide shoulders on perfectly flat 3 lane highways, can actually have a tourist place with roads that are clumsy, without signs, without guard rails and without any safety measure whatsoever… strange!) And for a place which is infested with tourists who might not all be hilly road driving savvy, the hairpins are pretty scary…but we did it and what can I say, I like it better at the top 😉 (I read that one on a t shirt too) if I say it was breathtaking, it would get too literal and ear-popping (literally literal…given that I am at 14k foot from sea level) and if I say beautiful you’ll say I probably wasn’t looking because I was too into getting my Mom back down safely so let me stop at breathtakingly beautiful, check it out for yourself and I recommend driving and drivingsafe (try it without the train; here at glass wheels, life’s always better without blabbering tour-guides)
As we came down and out of there, on our way to Manitou Springs, two things stopped us. One was the smell of coffee and the other an intricately painted elk sculpture (full size). An older lady who we later learned was the owner of the shop came out and explained how one side of the horse depicted the Colorado Fire of 2002 and the other side of how the community picked up the pieces and moved on to betterment. Going back to the pieces now, what these two ladies picked up were hope and peace from that disaster. The abundant aspen was one plant that wouldn’t be burnt down representing the spirit of this community and here stands now a beautiful craft store “Born of the Flames” selling work from local artists and aspen-woodwork that these ladies create. Expect anything from card holders, hanging angels and big lamps made of aspen wood. The kindness, the hope, the spirit and the peace was contagious, all that in the face of loss and disaster is awe-inspiring and beautiful. There’s so much to learn, so much for all of us to live for. Kudos ladies!
Time was running out, but when its mom and me, we have to stop and smell the coffee huh! I have to mention the coffee store tucked right next to this one. Food was good but nothing to talk of, but the décor was… omigod! Pre-1950s license plates from all the states… huh! Not original, but those who know me will know I will notice and love THAT!
Before we shot out towards Denver, we decided to spend some time in bright and beautiful Manitou Springs arty downtown. Lined with art stores and bustling crafty hangouts, this was MY kind of place. We walked the pavements raided some inventory and brought home some pretty quirky fun stuff including a $5 head massager (not local) and a birdie barometer from a glass art store (if you nip the beak off, the liquid volume will change with ambient pressure and thus tell you if you’re expecting precipitation of any form…huh for where I live, I wake up everyday with a open heart, expecting precipitation of some sort… darn it)…
Soon it was time to call it a day. We witnessed a beautiful ‘highway sunset’ as we drove to the mile-high city. We wanted to hit the 16th street Mall the next day but the cloudy rainy way that Denver greeted us with made it impossible. Instead, we drove to the Capitol weaving through the roadwork and the immense traffic (why cant people just sleep in on Sunday mornings??) and then out to the city to the butterfly pavilion. It was Mothers day and it was full of kids and their moms… (Maybe all Sundays are) but it was fun… I accidentally stepped on one live and one dead butterfly and heavy heartedly zoomed the rest of the rainforest embalmed enclave for beautiful findings… one of these days I will have them all listed and up on my Kothakoli blog… until then just enjoy the sights and smell the wings (…paper wings)!