An early start next morning saw us on the road to Colorado, the interstate was a little busier than we had been used to over the last few weeks, but nowhere near the crazy roads we had naively negotiated this time last year on the east coast. However that was all about to change, we hit Denver mid morning on Sunday, expecting it to be relatively quiet. If I tell you that we travelled through, coping with 8 lanes at times, with exits on both sides (something they're fond of here) and with drivers who overtake/ undertake/ fill Malc's safety gap he leaves for emergencies, all at about 70 miles an hour, you will perhaps sympathize with my anxiety!! It all came as rather a shock after the peaceful roads we have been used too of late. But I have to say it is getting easier - well I can't get any greyer can I?
No matter, we made it into Colorado our 27th state; again at first it looked no different apart from the big city of course, with the inevitable outlets, hotels and industrial zones. Denver as you may know is the "mile high "city. We have not dropped below 3000' yet on this leg of the journey from Calgary. The horizon was a bit hazy, I suggested that perhaps it was smoke from the dreadful fires that have caused such devastation in California, but we dismissed this as unlikely. However that night on the news we heard that this was indeed the case.
We're camped in Colorado Springs not far from the delightful old Colorado city and close to several of the highlights of the area.
Just a few miles up the road we came into Manitou springs, a super little place a bit reminiscent of Sedona in AZ. This familiarity we decided was mainly due to the abundance of red rock in the area, but more of that later. It's main claim to fame are the natural springs, these made it an early tourist destination as a health resort. Many of the stately old buildings remain, resplendent in their "historical" plaques that relate the tales of bygone days. http://www.pikes-peak.com/Attraction/14.aspx
Though this afternoon it seemed to be populated mainly by grey haired bikers on very shiny machines, it also had a kind of hippy feel to it, rather like a better cared for Jerome (AZ) - you remember Gill & Vic that precariously placed hill top spot. We tasted the spring water in one of the numerous fountains that dot the main street, Malc was taken, me less so - rather like flat "Andrews" I thought.
Being the horticulturists that we are, on Monday we were drawn to the "Garden Of the Gods" a spectacular city park just to the west. Rather thin on horticultural specimens, it was resplendent in more of those red rocks. Amid the joggers and walkers we found yet more photo opportunities, thank goodness for a digital camera, we'd be bankrupt by now without it! Though we're not as conscientious with deleting unwanted shots as perhaps we should be. Sometimes it's difficult to get the perspective of large chunks of rock, but it was a striking landscape, with a myriad of colours. I have to admit that I didn't stray of the paths, I think after my "rattler" encounter I'm much more safety conscious.
We finished the day with a look at Seven Falls, another of the area's "attractions" The publicity material made it sound quite spectacular, " The high point of any trip to Colorado, the grandest mile of scenery..." so we thought we shouldn't miss it. The falls cascade 181' in seven distinct steps down a solid cliff.