“I was beginning to question why we moved here.”
He was a few steps ahead of me on our 4th trail of the weekend as the words fell out of his mouth harder than the rocks that often blocked our paths. In a split second, I felt both immense relief we’d taken this weekend and guilt that his new job was more than we bargained for…and he’d largely taken it for me to move out of Florida.
But then he turned around with that smile and I knew, he was fine.
It would all be fine.
We always are.Thursday I’ll fill you in on a little more that’s been happening around here which has made my running feel like lead blocks are tied to my feet and both of us feel like we just needed a little break.
With that in mind, settle in for some photos and some fun from a Colorado Springs weekend of relaxation and restoration!!!
“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
—John Muir, Our National Parks
GARDEN OF THE GODS
We had a lot of options for places to explore on a long weekend, but decided we would head to Colorado Springs. In all honesty, we both loved the place far more than expected and are already planning to head back in a few weeks.
One of our first stops was the Garden of the Gods. I’d heard about it many times, but didn’t really know what it was about.
Garden of the Gods is located in the Pike’s Peak region and it’s a beautiful stand alone area of large red stone rock formations. The tale goes that in the 1870’s two land surveyors thought it would be a great home to a beer garden and the other said it’s a place fit for God’s to assemble.
Me? I think it just looks like Gods little rock garden! Beautiful rolling hills trees and mountains, then suddenly out of no where a random assortment of red rocks.
In the photo below, Pike’s Peak is the large snow capped mountain and just below that you can see Garden of the Gods and then the city.Within the park, we first hiked around exploring the different rock formations and then found ourselves completely fascinated as we watched experienced climbers summit these peaks.
Then of course there was the apparently not so experienced climber, who reached the top and couldn’t get back down. David and I noticed him early in our hike as he waved a Colorado flag….then later we noticed as the firemen arrived to help him down, while the police waited unhappily to write him a $500 ticket.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
– John Burroughs
Of course all that hiking meant fueling was key too. David and I are not fancy eaters, so we steered clear of the wine bars and instead found ourselves some great diners…like Black Bear Dinner. It was adorable with wooden stools and bear carvings and portions that were enough to last us for both lunch and dinner. Meaning dinner was some dark chocolate of course!
Lest you think our day stopped there, we headed back to Garden of the Gods for David to bust out the mountain bike, while I putting on my trail running shoes and we each took off to do some exploring on our own. Finally the sun was going down and we both longed for a shower, so we begrudgingly said good bye to the rocks.RED ROCK CANYON OPEN SPACE
Not to be confused with the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, this is a mountain biker, runner, hikers dream playground! Heading out early on Saturday morning we beat the initial crowds, but were there nearly 4 hours with David biking while I alternated running/hiking for nearly 15 miles…so the crowds eventually caught us!
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
These trails are amazing not just because of the variety and length, but the views! In the background you could see Pike’s Peak from nearly everywhere, while taking a corner would suddenly bring you upon a lake or a random cliff with steps dug in to it.
David biked up about 2,000 feet through the trees and encountered some snow, while I explored the single and double track trails along the lower parts of the park.
We were both exhausted after so much time out there (and having only munched on trail mix in the room before leaving, more than a little hungry). Yet it was the kind of fatigue that feels so wonderful, you don’t mind it one bit.
In fact, even after all those miles, we took a short walk to one of my favorite spots on the trail and just sat for awhile. Enjoying the need to be no where. Not having a plan. Not having a schedule. Not answering emails or calls…it didn’t even cross my mind that it was important. THIS is what nature does for us.MANITOU SPRINGS SURPRISE
Manitou Springs is most famously known to us fitness weirdos as the home of the Manitou Incline, which is a set of stairs in the mountain that climb over 2,000 feet in a 1 mile span! (expect to see us do this soon)
We were tempted, but our legs were not after the morning. So instead, we first explored the adorable downtown with local shops and beautiful blooming trees. It has a very “hippie” vibe and in fact, after purchasing my green juice at a place with an Oxygen bar I was told “no photos”. Yup not interested in your promotion, we’re quite pleased with what we have.In a moment of inspiration, I noticed a new building with what appeared to be hot tubs, which our hotel was lacking. I ducked in and found what was to be our home for the next few hours! Sunwater Spa just opened and offers 7 cedar barrel hot tubs which are filled with the natural mineral waters from 7 Waters Spring. Around town there are many access points to the water where you can see people filling jugs to take advantage of this great gift of nature.
“Adapt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Not only were we soaking in the best water, but it overlooked the mountains, which allowed us to watch the changing weather over Pike’s Peak and it also happens to overlook a park where we watched a number of teens show up for prom photos! So many memories!Need a mental reset? Find out how nature can help >> Click To Tweet
PALMER PARK BOULDERING
On our last day in Colorado Springs we debated a number of trails and eventually decided we were tired, but not yet done! So we opted for a nearby park that we thought would have some generally easy hiking.
This turned out to be true, but also gave us an opportunity to have some fun climbing around and bouldering! What we found was an adult playground! Technically bouldering probably involves a lot more strenuous climbing that what we did, but not the less it was the first time I’ve ever really had a chance to scramble around on rocks and it was a blast! After a few hours of hiking, for the first time we actually found ourselves a bit lost…luckily the trails here are always filled with people and dogs so we would easily find our way back.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. …I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
– Anne Frank
In all honesty, we got back to Denver did a few errands and then started planing a new trail we wanted to try here. Which is exactly how we spent our Monday and if I didn’t think this post was too long already I’d share it too!I could go on and on about this weekend, but at the end of the day what will stick with me (as it has before) is the following:
- Time in nature is like a balm to the tired soul
- Not checking email or getting a blog post done isn’t Earth shattering
- We all need a moment to step away from work to remember what matters
- Sweating together is the best bond
- We have made a great choice in moving to Colorado
When was the last time you had a long weekend getaway?
Does nature restore you?
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