The Flip Flop, Days 12 and 13: Colorado Springs and the Mountains Beyond

Monday, October 1, was my change-of-season, do nothing day.  Actually, I did walk about 1 1/2 miles on Northglenn’s Grange Hall Creek Trail, a paved route from Fox Run to the dog park.  There were lots of prairie dogs in the area just across from the dog park, which is in west Northglenn.

Besides that walk, I chose to not take a chance on making my uncle in Longmont, or friends in Boulder, possibly catch what I felt was coming on.  As it happened, I felt better by evening, having rested.  Such was Day 12, of my journey towards home.

Tuesday was different. After patiently working my way past the logjam caused by an accident on Denver’s south side, I spent time in three of Colorado Springs’ signature attractions.  First was the U.S. Air Force Academy, which marks the first time I have visited a service academy.  The Air Force cadets lucked out, in terms of scenery, getting the mountains of CS’s north side as their backdrop.

The civilian visitor is more than welcome here, but must enter and exit through the North Gate.  The Visitor Center offers a  good overview of life at the Academy, both in video and in stationary display,

After a Philly steak, at the Visitor center’s food court, I checked out the Academy’s Cadet Chapel, which offers spiritual care for every Faith and denomination.

The interior is equally inspiring.

Feeling that our future Air Force officers are in good hands, I went on to the stunning scenery of Garden of the Gods.  This is a city park of Colorado Springs, willed by its last private owner, Charles Elliott Perkins, who only visited the area twice.  He insisted that the city keep the park free from commercial development, that it not serve alcoholic beverages in its cafe and that the park itself be free of charge to all visitors.  ( A film on the park, at the Visitor Center does charge $5 admission, but the film is, of course, optional).

Here are five scenes from this magnificent place.

This is an view from the main parking lot, where we gathered for a free guided tour.

Here is Man and Lion.  Below, are the Cathedral Spires.

On the very left of the photo below, one may discern the Kissing Camels.  Sandstone can produce amazing images.

 After the guided tour was over, I continued on to Balanced Rock, about three miles southwest of the Main Garden.

One major attraction of Colorado Springs, visible from the Garden, remains:  Pikes Peak.  I will start out early in the morning, when I next visit the area, in order to make that special hike.

 The guide said the area on top of the ridge, between the Garden and Pikes Peak, had been the worst damaged area in the recent, horrific fire which hurt Colorado Springs so badly.  It is, fortunately, barely visible to visitors to CS, now.

I had one area left to check out on Tuesday:  Old Colorado City, on Colorado Springs’ west side.

On this south side of the street, I enjoyed a small eclair and iced tea, at La Baguette.  Its namesake bread is available for a very low price, and the pastry, my first eclair (pronounced here AY-klayr, as it is in France) in nearly thirty years, was “magnifique”.

The north side of the street has its standouts, as well.

Bancroft Park is a small, but pleasant hang-out for area youth.

Colorado Springs, as shown here, is indeed younger than Denver, by just a year.

My journey had only a day left, so on I went, gassing up in Pueblo, the friendly desert town to the south of CS, getting supper in Fort Garland and stopping for the night at Wolf Creek Ranch, a reasonable ski resort, at the foot of formidable Wolf Creek Pass.

It’s not as big as Union Spring, but few places are.

Next up- Back through the Four Corners, to home.

2 thoughts on “The Flip Flop, Days 12 and 13: Colorado Springs and the Mountains Beyond

  1. The academy is an impressive place — I didn’t haave time to explore it on foot, but drove around it, and saw the chapel. How long does it take to hike a 14K mountain? It took us most of a day to drive to 11K feet and back — what a view, but I don’t think I could hike it. I even had a hard time driving it, with my sensitivity to heights! Colorado Springs looks like a nice little city.

    Like

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