21 June, 2018

in the garden of the gods

No, really. That's the name of the park: Garden of the Gods. I wasn't being all writerly. I'm not sure which gods had this garden, but they sure like red sandstone. Possibly they tried and failed to raise tomatoes? I don't know. Not much grows willingly in that climate except scrub oak, scrub pine, and sage.

So we made our annual pilgrimage back to see parents, and while we were there, we got an unexpected opportunity to go hiking, and we leapt upon it. If I had my way, that is all we would do in Colorado: stay in the mountains and hike around. But his parents cannot travel into that kind of altitude, and at the moment, neither can mine, so we spend much of our visit sitting or walking slowly through Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City (read: tourist trap shops). And this trip, given all the toadshit of spring, we didn't feel like we could take time to stay in the mountains, even for a day. I told Nous not to stop the car as we drove over Vail Pass, or I'd jump out and disappear into the trees and that'd be that. Woman goes feral in forest. 

Anyway, the Garden of the Gods is basically a park full of big-ass red sandstone rocks that people climb in contravention of safety regs, and sometimes fall off of. It gets mostly road traffic, or people hiking on the paved bits around the biggest rocks (that, see above, people like to climb on in contravention of safety regulations). Locals use the trails, but it's not the kind of hiking that's strenuous enough to attract hardcores, and yet takes enough time/requires enough effort that the casual tourist wouldn't make it. And, you know, it's at 6400 feet, so that's enough altitude that people unused to it feel it. And it can get hot down there, and the trees in the park are mostly scrub. The yellow orb of death is brutal. (You see how I say down. My ideal is up there over 7K, closer to 8-10k. Tall trees, cold air, not much of it.)

We got lucky: clouds and abnormally cool.  The hike itself wasn't hard--maybe 250 feet of elevation change, no glacial rivers, maybe 3-4 miles. We'd had rain the night before, too, so the dust was minimal, but not enough to make mud. Which, you know--fortunate. I hadn't brought hiking boots. I had to do this hike in little Merrell trail/water shoes with basically mesh sides. It was five kinds of awesome and despite the altitude-induced headache (stubborn! we hiked at the same speed we would've at sea level, and paid for it) it was totally worth it. Next time, though, I am just bringing the damn boots.

And here, we see Nous in his guise as two-legged bighorn sheep. He cannot resist climbing out onto ledges. In his youth he might've tried scrambling up the big rocks and been one of those unfortunate, smashed-flat people. Fortunately he has aged into wisdom.

Now we're home again, and it's back to work on WIP. Which...well, here is a blog post! You can guess how that WIP is coming along. Tomorrow, back to work.