I love Colorado. I love the people, the lifestyle, the weather, the mountains. But like I said a few weeks ago, even though I love being on my own and living through new experiences, it’s always hard to be away from home when you love your home as much as I love mine.
Luckily, I have family and friends of a particularly high quality — one of which went as far as driving across the United States with me to help me move out west, several of which have already visited, and a few of which just left in the past few days. Last month, I had the exceptional pleasure of hosting my recently-college-graduated sister Amy for awhile, and OH THE ADVENTURES WE HAD.
Before Amy arrived, I hyper-planned several itineraries for our excursions. Sometimes I like to have a more relaxed, go-with-the-flow attitude toward adventures, but Amy had never been to Colorado and there were still plenty of big touristy/classic Colorado-y places I’d never seen. I created a schedule for us that would include as much of the best of everything as possible. (Not as easy task.)
First stop: Colorado Springs.
The weather was being a temperamental asshole on Amy’s first day in Colorado, so after a sunny morning at the Denver Botanic Gardens, rain forced us to cancel our plans of driving up Pikes Peak. Instead, we stuck to exploring the quaint & quirky mountain town of Manitou Springs and wandering the grounds of the Garden of the Gods.
Manitou Springs is essentially a tourist-driven mountain town with a semi-hippie vibe, with lots of shops selling typical Colorado souvenirs and Native American knick knacks. We strolled the main drag, ate some damn delish Mexican food & discovered an old schoolmpenny arcade that could have entertained us for hours had we actually had some coins on us. We did manage to play a game or two, including one that predicted your “love forecast” ….see the photo below to find out how bright my romantic future is looking…
After we ate our fill of enchiladas & became thoroughly disappointed with the dismal outlook of my future romantic endeavors, we made our way to the main attraction: the Garden of the Gods. As we learned while visiting & with help from Wikipedia, The Garden of the Gods red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. It’s a beautiful park & is completely free to visit, with hiking trails and endless photo ops and stunning views of the famous Pikes Peak (on a cloudless day).
If you’re visiting the Denver area & you have an extra afternoon/day to zip down the highway to Colorado Springs (it’s just about 1.5 hours away), the Garden of the Gods is a super cool pit stop. In the days following our GOTG excursion, we would visit Mt Evans Scenic Byway, Echo Lake, Glenwood Hot Springs, Hanging Lake and Aspen… all insanely beautiful in their own ways, but all so vastly different from Garden of the Gods! Colorado continues to blow my mind on a daily basis at the varying landscapes, terrains & plant life that exist across the state.
Have you ever been to the Garden of the Gods or Colorado Springs?