View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR

View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR
View of Centennial Mountains at Red Rock Lake NWR

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Visit to the Garden of the Gods

I drove fourteen hours on my first day of migration from Texas to Montana, so I could have a few days to play. I spent the first night in  Pueblo, Colorado and had only a forty minute drive to the Garden of the Gods the next day.  It opens at 5:00 A.M. and I arrived there just before sunrise to find most of the parking spaces in the first parking lot full.  There were two groups of runners preparing to leave, along with several other people who were out to exercise by themselves.

But soon they dispersed and I had the place mostly to myself, except for occasional walkers or runners. The parking lot to the visitor center was closed, but I walked in to get a picture of Pikes Peak framed by a red rock formation .  I hiked part of the trail that goes around the edge of the park while waiting for the sun to light up the huge sandstone formations.  Then I cut through the central area.  Swallows were everywhere.  I expected them to be cliff swallows but I could see they had white bellies. After looking at a picture of one of them, and seeing a blue-green back, I decided they must be tree swallows. They were using the holes in the sandstone just as though they were holes in a tree.  Other birds soon started calling, then one of my favorites, a canyon wren, sang its wonderful waterfall of a song. Other birds I saw or heard included scrub jays, ravens, and magpies.  I couldn't recognize several species of small birds that were busy feeding or chasing each other.

I stayed until the visitor center opened and visited it and enjoyed the movie.  The entrance is free but the fourteen minute movie was four dollars.

Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak

Most of the rocks are the red sandstone

Some of  runners leaving the parking lot

The main parking lot and formation

Catching the first light

The walking area as seen from the perimeter trail

Tree swallow at nest in rocks

Think these are t he Siamese twins and a view of Pikes Peak

Bee attractants

These were the only ones of their kind I found
Balancing rock

I was so close to Pike's Pike that I decided drive up to the top. My overstuffed car managed to make it up to the top.


The area around Pike's Pike was a cloud factory - this at the top by the tram track

I'm staying with Natalie and her daughter in the Boulder area.  I'll spend one more night on the road and then will be at Red Rock on Friday morning, if all goes well.  Natalie and I had a wonderful time in the Denver Botanical Garden today and missed the tornados and most of the hail, but did get in some heavy rain on the way home.

Off to get ready to start another long day of travel and then get to sleep.

Night all.