Monday, July 3, 2017

Riding through the "garden"

Me:  "How old do you have to be to ride a Segway?"
Tour Guide:  "12."  Then, looking at Grace...."She looks 12".

We didn't argue and 20 minutes later we were on Segways riding through the Garden of the Gods park on a tour to see and learn about the history of these rock formations that stand out among the mountains and foothills.

The Garden of the Gods red rock formations fall along a natural fault line.  They formed millions of years ago during a geological upheaval.

It is very dramatic to see the 300-400 foot rocks from a distance.  They are also beautiful up close against the blue sky.

Apparently, many Native American tribes came to this area to trade.  The rock formations are easy to find, there was abundant wildlife and vegetation in the area, and the rock overhangs provided shelter from the sun and weather.

480 acres of this area were privately owned in the 1800s.  They were donated to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909 with the provision that it would always be a free public park. Today, the Garden of the Gods park includes 1, 364 acres that have hiking and biking trails throughout.  You can imagine that the rocks are also a draw for rock climbers. The right side of the rock formation in the photo below is supposed to be the most difficult climb - 400 feet, much of it done upside-down!  At the bottom they say the rock looks like a pregnant woman holding her tummy.

In this photo they say there is a screaming witch face.  Can you see it?

The rock formations are all unique and different - toppled, overturned, stood-up, pushed, and slanted. Balance Rock is one of the famous formations and a popular photo opportunity.  Softer layers at the base were removed by erosion leaving it to look like it is "balanced" on a small bottom.

After the Segway tour we took a drive on a dirt path into the mountains for some great views and then visited Red Rock Canyon Open Space (another park) looking for mountain lakes for swimming. Our guide said this is where the locals go, so we had to explore!

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