Today we went to the Garden of the Gods, a public park located in Colorado Springs. It contains conglomerate sandstone hogback formations belonging geologically to the Fountain Formation. The name Colorado is said to come from the color of this sandstone.
We stopped at the visitor's center first, as they show a film entitled "Where did they come from?" We were told it was very well done. It was, & for the $2 entrance fee well worth the cost & our time. It made hiking through the area much more enjoyable. We learned a lot. Such as....
The hogbacks, so named because they resemble the backs and spines of a pig, are ridges of sandstone whose layers are tilted. Instead of lying horizontally, some layers are even vertically oriented. Each hogback can range up to several hundred feet long, and the tallest (called The Kissing Camels) rises to a height of 320 feet tall.
Entrance to the park is free according to the wish of Charles Elliott Perkins, whose children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909. It contains numerous trails for hiking, walking, mountain biking and horseback riding. One of the most popular trails, Perkins has been paved, in an effort to combat the erosion of the park's central garden caused by its numerous visitors.
Many people assume the name comes from a native American name for the area. In fact, the name of the park only dates back to August 1859 when two surveyors helping to set up nearby Colorado City were exploring the nearby areas. Upon discovering the site, one of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." The beer garden never materialized, but the name stuck.
Because of the unusual and steep rock formations in the park, it is an attractive goal for rock climbers. Rock climbing is permitted, with annual permit obtained at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The only requirements are reading the rules, having proper equipment, climbing with a "buddy", and staying on established climbing routes. We watched several brave souls, including one young woman. None of the climber's seemed very experienced to us, in fact the young woman fell once & her "partner" had to stop her quick descent! SCARY!!!!
We had perfect weather, with the sun fading in & out of the clouds. The deer gave just a bit of a show, & the birds were beautiful! We met several nice folks, especially a group from Glendale, AZ. All in all, a terrific day! We are going to the Seven Falls tomorrow & I think heading on towards Estes Park next. This whole area has been so beautiful, I don't think we can go wrong, wherever we might light!