I’m back from Denver, the wedding was wonderful and now I can share my recent adventures with you!! =-)
We headed out early from Denver and arrived at the Garden of the Gods in about an hour. We had just been to the Garden of the Gods in Illinois and needed to do a bit of comparison hiking!!
The visitors center is new this year (2015) and has all the amenities a hiker needs… toilets, water, helpful guides and yummy caramel nuts! The park is free along with the parking. It is a tad bit touristy, however we were there on a Thursday and it was tame. The trails are what I call ‘Yuppy Hiking’ , as they are paved with very little grade change and all wheel types are welcome. We even saw a Segway group go by. This isn’t my idea of fun hiking, however it was still pretty cool. We stuck within the Central Garden Area, although there are many more trails to enjoy.
We’ve entered the land where the human isn’t always the deadliest! Nothing like this at home.
A billion years ago, molten rock cooled to create Pikes Peak granite and the Ancestral Rockies. Approximately 310-270 million years ago, the ancestral Rockies were worn down bit by bit. About 250 million years ago, Garden of the Gods had sandy beaches and an inland sea. The 300 foot orange sandstone rocks in the Garden of the Gods were once sand dunes. They may have looked similar to those at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in southern Colorado. An inland sea once again covered Colorado about 225 million years ago. Around 155 million years ago (the Jurassic period), dinosaurs roamed the Garden of the Gods.
About 65 million years ago, mountains rose and tipped the rocks that today we see today vertical and beyond. This was an intense period of mountain building caused by the old Pacific plate slamming into the North American plate. As the Front Range Mountains rose, the overlying sedimentary rocks were bent upward. Over time, the softer rocks eroded and valleys were created leaving harder rocks standing as the tall ridges in the Park.
Black-billed Magpie ~ Pica hudsonia
They were are beautiful and friendly. They seemed to really enjoy the rock face.
The story of how this place gets its name goes like this:
It was August of 1859 when two surveyors started out from Denver City to begin a townsite, soon to be called Colorado City. While exploring nearby locations, they came upon a beautiful area of sandstone formations. M. S. Beach, who related this incident, suggested that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden” when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable, a “young and poetic man”, exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” It has been so called ever since.
In 1871, as railroads established their way west, General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs while extending the lines of his Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. General Palmer wanted his friend, Charles Elliott Perkins (the head of the Burlington Railroad) to build his railroad from Chicago to Colorado Springs. Although the Burlington never built the railroad to Colorado Springs directly, Perkins did purchase two-hundred and forty acres which encompassed the Garden of the Gods for a summer home in 1879. Perkins died in 1907 and Perkins’ children donated the four-hundred eighty acres to the City of Colorado Springs. It would be known forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.”
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl