We turned around, forlorn from the realization that our car wasn’t going to escort us to the Lost Creek Wilderness for our planned three day hike. We needed to think on our feet and figure out “what now?”. With all the change in plans over the past year, thinking on our feet has become second nature to us. Some may call it flighty… but I prefer flexible.
The Lost Creek Wilderness was going to provide us with 35 miles of pure, unadulterated backpacking. Considering it was Labor Day weekend, we heard this area would have far less visitors than other Front Range options. We were excited to be in the mountains, having stared at them for weeks on end, but also to hike in a higher elevation than we had ever hiked before. Knowing that it would almost certainly impact our stamina and ability to breathe without sounding like an out-of-breath hyena, we thought this loop would give us good exposure without overdoing it (the max elevation is just above 12,000 feet). Oh well, this will have to be a trip for another time.
When we turned around, we found ourselves in Castle Rock which is about halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. Since we hadn’t yet checked out the Springs, we decided this would be a good backup option. What else can be found in Colorado Springs? The Garden of the Gods… an even better option. So, off we went.
We stopped at the Visitor’s Center first to grab a map and see what else it had to offer. While nice, it was the kind of visitors center that gave out fudge sample and sold things like gems and shot glasses. I won’t complain, though. It was damn good fudge.
We were advised to keep our car at the visitors center and to walk to the park as parking was scarce with the amount of visitors that day. After narrowly avoiding the temptation to pay for a jeep or segway tour, we started our trek. Yes, you read that correctly… you can take actual segway’s through the park. All I could picture, and secretly hoped to see, was this:
Instead, we were welcomed with a view like this:
In the late 1800’s, newly constructed railroads started to bring people to the American West in masses to search for gold. Boom towns were created practically overnight. It was then that Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of the Burlington Railroad, purchased the 240 acres now known as the Garden of the Gods intending to build his summer house here. A nature-lover, he decided that there was no way he could ever build on this enchanting land. He opened up the land to the public so all could enjoy and, as a dying wish, his children donated the land to the City of Colorado Springs under the stipulation that it will remain forever free. It is still free to this day… unless you buy the fudge.
With Pike’s Peak whispering threats from the distance, we decided to take her on next.