Well the metaphorical horse that is! I’ve officially been off the trail for almost 1 month and funny enough depending on the day, I’d say “it seems like just yesterday” or “seems so long ago!”
After my travels to Tennessee to see my parents, then to Kentucky to visit my sister, and Ohio for a cousin’s baby shower, I finally have ended up back in Denver at home. It wasn’t really until I stepped foot in my apartment that it hit me that I was home. Obviously I knew I was physically in the space, but it was a mental switch that clicked. I missed the trail plain and simple. It’s hard to accept it when it wasn’t so much a choice to leave but a forced situation. My choice to leave but for a reason I can’t really control. I’m glad to be home, don’t get me wrong, but it will take some time to not think about those funny, horrible, sad, and miraculous moments on the trail.
So after sitting around other’s homes for close to 4 weeks, I thought for my first weekend home it might be fun to get out and do a little bit of what I love and reconnect with the guy I’ve been missing and away from for nearly 3 months! Nick and I headed to nearby Colorado Springs to explore a place we’d both never been to…and give me a chance to lace up my hiking shoes and see how things felt.
First up, we headed to Garden of the Gods. A free public park with gorgeous sandstone rock formations to explore throughout a vast natural area. There were even a few climbers on some of the rocks for us to watch as we hiked throughout the park. It was a little touristy for our taste but a fun afternoon walking along these amazing rock features!
On Sunday, Nick and I made our way to a few other popular hiking spots within the Cheyenne Canyon area. A stop at Helen Hunt Falls was one of the many pretty waterfalls in the area and a great view looking back at the city.
Our second stop was to see the Seven Bridges. It was a quick hike up to the Cheyenne Creek, and then Nick and I hopped along to Bridge 1, Bridge 2, Bridge 3…you get the point, until we had crossed the creek using all seven bridges. My personal favorite was Bridge 3 but Nick is sticking with his favorite, Bridge 7! Haha it’s all in what you like when it comes to bridge features I guess.
No long morning hike is complete without a delicious lunch once you’re done! We found a small sandwich shop, Shuga’s, in Old Colorado City that had dynamite sandwiches and a nice little patio two stinky hikers can spend some time on.
After lunch, Nick and I headed over to the Air Force Academy to walk around campus.
I particularly was curious as to why they selected Colorado Springs for the AFA location, I mean it doesn’t seem like mountains would be the best place for cadets to be learning how to fly, right? Well it turns out, although cities in Wisconsin and Illinois were also considered for the campus back in the 1950s, Colorado Springs was the top choice. Mountains and the unpredictable winds were a concern (see, it wasn’t just me!) but a Lieutenant at the time confirmed Colorado Springs would be a safe flying space so it was chosen.
One of interesting things on the AFA campus is the chapel. It is by far the most unexpected yet beautiful chapels I’ve seen on a campus. Who would have thought they would have such a modern and eclectic design on this campus, but then again, it is very spaceship like!
That evening we hit up a great restaurant, The Rabbit Hole, for date night dinner. We also found the city’s favorite ice cream shop, Josh & John’s, since I can’t seem to go anywhere these days without getting some ice cream!
Since Nick is on the late shift at work, we took advantage and fit in one more activity Monday morning. I had heard of the Manitou Incline as one of the favorite activities for CS visitors and fitness fanatic residents. The Manitou Incline was once a cable car railway which was washed out by a rock slide in 1990. Now the rails remain and are used for an athletic event of the fittest! Approximately 3/4 mile long and 2,000ft up, those willing will hike the 2,744 steps to the top of the incline to be rewarded by a beautiful view.
Nick and I made it to the top and took the 4 mile Barr trail back down. Some daredevils take the incline back down but the altitude and my wobbly feet were screaming “no” for that decision!
That incline was quite the challenge but one that felt really good to complete!
And sadly the weekend had to come to an end, and we made our way back to Denver.
I was so excited to get back on a trail but I know I still have to give my feet and ankle time to heal. I need to continue doing feet exercises and strengthen my ankle to feel more confident while on the next trail. Colorado is just one of those places that makes it hard to not go out and explore the outdoors to your hearts desire, but I can resist for now…I think.
Until next time,