I woke up around 5 AM this morning with stuff on my mind, laid there until 6 AM, and finally got up. I eventually woke Bob up at 7:30. That’s a switch! We had plans to visit the Garden of the Gods before it got too hot, but we had some things to do first. We started our day by washing the other side of the bus in the shade. After taking a break and making some calls, we changed into our hiking shoes and left for the Garden of the Gods. It took us about 20 minutes to get there. It was a busy place with people everywhere.
We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to get a map of the trails and took a drive on the Juniper Way Loop. From the Visitor’s Center, we could see this road cut into the mountain.
The Loop Road took us past some of the more recognizable rock formations. The first was the Kissing Camels.
White Rock was easily recognizable.
The North Gateway Rock was huge as it sat by the edge of the road.
We parked the car in lot 6 so we could walk among the rocks. The Perkins Central Garden Trail was an easy loop hike to the base of the biggest rock formations.
The Cathedral Spires
The Sentinal Twin Spires
On our hike, Bob spotted a rock climber on the face of the Tower of Babel. I zoomed in with my camera….and then a little closer….until I saw him.
This lovely group of ladies were part of a bridal shower. The ladies told us they love to hike together so they decided to buy crazy outfits at Goodwill and wear them for the bridal shower hike today. What fun!
We continued on our tour on the Garden Drive Loop. Balanced Rock was easy to recognize.
Across from that was Steamboat Rock.
We ended our driving tour by driving between these 2 rocks.
We finished our visit today with a beautiful view of the Garden of the Gods.
We went back to the campground for a short break with Auggie before we met with Bob’s sister, Suzy, and his niece, Ashley. We decided it would be easiest to return to Manitou Springs where we would meet for a late lunch. They were coming from a suburb of Denver.
We met at 1:00 and walked on the main street checking out the shops and stopping in a few.
Bob wanted to check out this old bank which has been converted to a store called The Vault. He wanted to see the actual vault left by the bank.
I checked out two more of the naturally-carbonated spring water access points. Someone told me that each of the 3 springs tasted different so I had to give them a try. These tasted a lot better. I did some reading at a kiosk there that said the native people used the mineral water to calm stomachs, soothe skin problems, and as a tonic for other ailments. I also learned that each spring has different amounts of mineral content and natural carbonation giving each one a different taste. Manitou’s mineral springs have been appreciated for their healthful benefits for many years.
We stopped for lunch again at the Townhouse Sports Bar where we ate a few days ago. We had a great lunch and engaging conversation.
We continued on our walk going down the other side of the street checking out a few more shops.
Many of the houses in town are set among the rocks, high in the hills, and need lots of stairs to reach them. There aren’t any roads or driveways for some of the houses.
Back at the parking lot, we said our goodbyes with elbow bumps instead of hugs. What a fun time we had! We took the short drive back to the campground to relax. We were beat and had a really full day.
We won’t need to have dinner tonight! Auggie got his walk and we prepped the bus for our departure tomorrow. We are heading up to visit Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park for a week. We are looking forward to spending time there!