Monday, September 19, 2011

Garden of the Gods...

I need an escape today. Work was rough.
And I keep putting off things I want to do, either for work or for other good and even fun reasons.
Either way, I kept meaning to come here and regale...whoever with tales of the awesomeness of my summer vacation....and it never happened.
Until now.
Because I'm taking some time for me.  I don't know that I've ever really stated this here or not. I'm an introvert. It doesn't mean I don't love hanging out with people or that I won't be social from time to time, it just means I need my alone time too. And if I go long long periods of time without it, like I have, even if I LOVED every minute of the social times spent with awesome friends (which I pretty much did, save maybe part of the reunion, which...that's a whole other ball of wax)...I need some sort of time to recover.  Take some deep breaths, sit on the couch in my own room and me. 

Anyway, that's a LONG long and unrelated introduction (I never was good at those...) to this. Which is, my friends, a little tour of the hike I took the day of my good friend Kija's wedding.  About 5 or 6 miles total on a really sunny summer day with one of my other best friends from New Mexico, Lewis, who we met in the last post. 

Several things stick out to me looking back at this now.  One is that Lewis and I always find adventure. A long time ago, Lewis and I went to a party, had a fabulous time, walked back to the place I lived at the time, and then hours later, he showed up at the door having randomly fixed my bike and suggested we go hang out in the canyon. We took silly pictures, hiked, nursed our hangovers with fresh air and greasy New Mexican food. When I first posted our photos, I named the album Lewis and Shaw, after Lewis and Clark. I feel like we've always been adventurers.  And we always have a good time together.  Half the distance was downtown Colorado Springs. So nothing as spectacular as when we hit this hill. But one of my favorite parts of the trip? When he and I sat down on a ledge for a water break, traded stories and shared trail mix. He's just a fun person to be with. And it seemed like a perfect day. :)

That's not to say there wasn't RIDICULOUS gorgeousness.  Be you Christian, Muslim, Atheist or...whatnot...pretty sure you can see why they'd call it Garden of the Gods.

It kept getting better the closer we got. We took this barely-there trail up into Garden of the Gods, which was so cool because I got to see it in a new way.  We literally came up over a hill right into the center of it instead of just driving in the gates and going in where they herd everybody through, and it made it more memorable.

Lewis blazing a trail. We weren't even sure if some of the paths we took were real paths. This one in the picture obviously is, but some may have been deer paths or somesuch. Either way, we were having a blast trying to plot the best way in.

I love these little trees that cling to the tops of cliffs where nothing else seems to dare to grow. I love the way it seems to be growing right into the sky.

Speaking of things that aren't at all afraid of heights...I was really excited to see these guys. I've never seen them in the wild. We took *lots* of pictures, and I think Lewis has a better one somewhere...his zoom was more powerful.  Still...we stopped and admired these guys and their grip on some seriously scary ground.

Not for too long though...this kind of doorway is the kind I absolutely have to run through.  The thing that's so awesome about having Lewis much as he's seen, and that's a lot, since he's been biking across the country two or three times now...he can still appreciate the insane, immense beauty of a place like this. THIS is what the word awesome was meant for. Having said that..immerse yourself. I know I'm already feeling better.

That's...vacation. That's getting to the wide open spaces. That's an amazing day in a wonderful place.

There were some gathering clouds and we had a wedding to get to, so we finally headed back to get ready. It's hard to leave a place like this.

There was miles more trail that could be explored, which I didn't know, since I'd only ever been to the parts of the park that most people get to. We found out from a cab driver who took us back to our hotel.
In the end though...I can't complain.
It's amazing to get to be somewhere like that, and even moreso to share it with a great friend.

It's amazing how even the recollection of it makes me happy.  I can't wait to tell you more about the wedding that took place a few hours after this hike....but that'll wait til tomorrow ;)
Harass me if I don't post it then. This is my me time, when I'm writing about the places and people I love. I hope you love it just a little in hearing it, too.

No comments: