Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Garden of the Gods

We made it to the front range late on the second day out of Wisconsin. From Lincoln and North Platte (previous post), we followed I-80 and I-76 all the way to Denver, had a nice dinner in the rapidly upscaling RiNo (River North) District along Larimer, then tried to keep up with heavy 80 mph traffic on the curvy Interstate south to Colorado Springs. We had booked two days to catch our breath. Quite literally. Although in my following post I will admit to not really thinking this through very well.

Early Wednesday morning (we had been in Madison just Monday morning), I drove up to the empty visitor's center parking lot and unloaded my bike. The road up through Garden of the Gods includes a pair of rolling, smoothly paved, one-way loops that top out around 6500'.  What a beautiful, albeit oxygen-deficient, ride! I came back with M a couple of hours later. We mainly drove, and limited our walk to a fairly level one.

When the modern Rockies were forced upward (during the Laramide Orogeny), the Permian Lyons Sandstone was bent up and over the top of the older rocks underneath - like the precambrian granite that makes up Pikes Peak. The erosional remnants of these steeply tilted pink sand dunes are found up and down the front range.

Besides the Garden of the Gods, our trip also included Pikes Peak (next post). We did a neat loop up Gold Camp road and down North Cheyenne Canyon. We saw a little of older, downtown Colorado Springs, including Colorado College and the beautiful residential neighborhoods around it. And we had a great dinner at Shuga's. But much of what we saw was very generic strip malls and subdivisions sprawling up the hillsides around town.

Colorado Springs hosts a large collection of religious institutions (not just churches, but missionary organizations, Christian publishers, and other examples of corporate protestantism). I suspect that when the rapture comes, the angels may not waste much time trying to extract these folks from their gated communities.

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