Some how I have gotten away from posting my hikes here. Talk about them on Facebook, but need to keep this site more up to date. I have taken many hikes since my last post. Also considering putting them into a book format . . .
On this Christmas day, I needed a “spirit renewing hike” badly.
The day was gloomy and it had snowed during the night.
I had seen the full moon and hadn’t expected to awake to snow on the ground.
Started out just walking around town. Then the sun came out.
I headed up the street towards the water tank trail to see how icy or deep in snow it would be.
Not to bad.
Realizing I didn’t have the proper shoes, no water or a pole, I gingerly started up the trail.
There were places it was a bit more snowy and icy than I felt totally comfortable, but then there were areas the snow was barely covering the trail.
The weather changed soon after I started the hike, but not too cold.
Sometimes I like to test myself and make sure I no longer experience vertigo when looking down from heights. So I walked over to a cliff and looked back down to the path below.
And I was just fine. So hiked on a bit farther.
Then I spied one of my favorite things to photograph: Rusty objects.
I played with this for a while.
On one part of the trail, I realized there was one other set of tracks. This set didn’t look like a deer as the first set of tracks I had seen when starting out. And they were very fresh. Began looking around me more to be sure nothing was waiting for me . . .
And when it started to snow I turned back and began to head back down the trail. Still a bit wary of spotting a creature that I might not like being alone with in the mountains.
Tried to capture snowflakes falling. Not an easy thing to do. But did catch a few in the photos.
And then there were some lovely pine cones to capture.
They reminded me of winter flowers blossoming in the trees and on the ground.
Hiking down, there was a great view of downtown Manitou Springs.
Looking down upon my town made me think of these words:
“O’ Little Town of Manitou Springs . . . how still you lie below.”
My Spirit was renewed as I remembered how I love this little town . . .
So I headed back to my home.
Blue skies showed up for a short time.
But not for long.
And the sky was very strange. “Mama always said, Don’t look into the sun.”
But I couldn’t help taking some photos of the sky with sun brightly behind the clouds.
And will try to capture the full moon Christmas night, but finding that challenging for my camera.
Merry Christmas 2015 and to all, a good night!
Hiking above the Platte River in Deckers Colorado can be a bit adventurous.
Some of the trail is very steep and covered with scree. This made them rather challenging to stay on one’s feet and not go slip sliding down the slope.
I hadn’t brought a hiking pole, but found a lovely hiking stick to use when I started to get nervous about my footing on these sections.
Going down can be a bit scary. I actually scooted on my butt on one section rather than chance sliding down or falling over the edge. But most of them I did standing up.
But we were rewarded with some very beautiful views of the river below.
I love the beauty found in weathered wood. And see many creatures within their forms.
This old stump seemed to invite us to travel on this trail.
There were lovely wild flowers along the trail.
Some very dramatic ones.
The Thistles were showing off their many stages of beauty.
I felt very blessed that this Western Tanager gave me just a few seconds to take his picture, before he flew far away.
I am constantly amazed by the beauty that surrounds us.
And what is even more amazing to me is when plants are so very determined to grow in places that one would think impossible.
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place . . .
Now I must end this post, though I have many more beautiful images of the river and the plants that were growing here to the delight of our eyes.
Had planned on taking a hike in Red Rocks, but called my hiking friend and suggested a different trail.
This trail is part of the Intermann Trail and starts up in Crystal Hills.
She agreed and we were both so very happy we made this change of plans.
So many flowers and great views to be seen.
I was really excited to see that the cactus were blooming.
The Prickly Pear Cactus were glorious and blooming in many colors all along the trail.
At the trails beginning my hiking friend pointed out that there were some rather interesting flowers blooming there.
What do you see here?
They are Prairie Cornflowers.
What did you think the were?
And then there were these sweet flowers.
I think they are called Mariposa.
They did come in a few colors, but the lavender ones were my favorites.
And just had to get a really close up image of their inside beauty.
Then there were the very delicate Penstemons.
There were many areas that the Indian Paintbrush were growing in groups or singularly.
And I kept trying to get a perfect shot of these very delicate fluffy end game for a yellow flower.
We had some incredible views on different sections of the trail.
I don’t think I have seen Colorado hills this green in many a year.
At one point we had a view into Crystal Park.
A few places we had great views of the Garden of the Gods.
And there was view of Cedar Heights and the burned area above as a reminder of a drier year.
We could see Red Rocks Canyon and far beyond from many points on the trail.
We started down by the green water tower.
The pine cones were not as spectacular as on the last few hikes.
There were a few lavender or pink ones.
These are reminiscent of Christmas ornaments
Some were just fun to look at. Green and Brown on the same growing point.
When we got back to being close to the beginning of the trail, we decided to take another path.
This was another really good decision.
When looking into the pond we saw these strange creatures.
Anyone know what they are?
The water bugs were skipping along creating waves above the sandy bottom.
What we encountered when we looked closer at the pond was truly magical.
These iridescent blue dragonflies were dancing around us and around the pond.
And what were they doing here?
Must be mating season for these beautiful winged creatures.
Then back on the other side of the pond.
Two styles of Black and White Dragonflies posed for us.
A bit difficult to get a picture from a distance, but they let us try for quite some time.
Heading back, I had to remind myself I had known the last few bits of the trail were a steep uphill climb.
But it was an easy climb when I thought of how I had been well rewarded for coming down this hill.
Hiked to the Catamount Reservoir on June 24, 2015.
Took a longer hike yesterday than last weeks hike.
Started a bit earlier and had blue skies at the start.
As we hiked farther beautiful big puffy white clouds appeared all around.
The trail seemed to end, but we walked along the shore a bit farther.
I think the water was just up high and we had always had to walk on the shore, but it was probably wider in the past.
And every time we thought we were getting close to seeing the large reservoir, another cove caused us to take a long detour around that watery area.
I did enjoy getting some great reflections on the water, even though it wasn’t very still, some of the images came out really beautiful. Like the big cloud reflected with the trees next to it.
Then the clouds began to darken and the wind picked up a bit.
And as we started to head back it was thundering all around us.
It began to sprinkle as we neared the parking lot.
Never rained very hard on us, but as we drove out of the area, looking back at Pikes Peak, it was storming up there.
There wasn’t the profusion of flowers in this area like we saw in Lovell Gulch. Still we saw some beauties.
I have no idea what this green flower is called. And just saw only one. Has an orchid look to it.
If anyone know what it is, please comment below.
And I found some posed against driftwood making a beautiful contrast of color against the grey weathered wood.
And just a few Indian Paintbrush were to be seen.
And there was one area of many Shooting Stars that I do so love to see. Memories of my childhood in Wildwood, Illinois and walking in the wooded areas around our home come rushing back. I always have loved walking in forests and enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife I might spy.
There was on stump that my hiking partner saw as Ganesh.
I could see the trunk and she declared that meant abundance was coming our way. I’ll take that type of positive energy every day if I can.
The only creatures we saw on the hike other than butterflies floating by and birds flying high were a whole gaggle of geese on the reservoir.
And then there were the Pine Cones. So many different colors and configurations.
The little sprouts sort of looked like raspberries. So interesting to see the different stages all on one tree.
Never remember noticing them growing in this manner.
Tiny ones just beginning to sprout next to one, two or three closer to their final size.
Can’t wait to see where we get to hike next week!
Lovell Gulch outside of Woodland Park, Colorado on June 17, 2015.
It is truly time to get back to posting my hikes. Or at least the images that I captured on them.
Lovell Gulch was awesome today!
If you can get up to Lovell Gulch for a hike in the next few days, you will be able to catch the most incredible profusion of Wild Iris I have seen in years.
Some were past prime, others hadn’t bloomed yet. I was in awe!
And we have been enjoying the best Iris year all around Manitou Springs, so it was a real treat to see the Wild Iris where also showing off this very wet year.
I don’t know what the name of these purple, and multicolored flowers, but they were everywhere.
There were just a few Shooting Stars, one of my favorite flowers that remind me of ones that grew in a field behind my childhood home in Wildwood, IL.
Big Monarchs would fly right past me, then continue on their journey.
And then there were many other flowers including these sweet little daisies.
The Pine trees in Lovell Gulch are putting on a different type of show of beauty.
The budding Pine Cones are coming out in all different colors and shapes.
I could have spent hours just taking pictures of these beauties.
But the wind had started to come up and it was sprinkling a bit, so had to leave.
And the wind did make it a bit challenging to get them to hold still, but I think I got some good images to share.
The weather did change a bit as we hiked for about 4 and half hours.
Started out with a pure blue sky.
Then some clouds showed up.
And then a bit darker clouds.
And finally wind and dark skies, but no rain.
So we headed home spiritually renewed, happy and tired.
On the last day of May, I went for another Stroll in Fountain Valley Park.
It was a bit different from the other hikes. It started with a sighting of this very relaxed bunny by the Visitor Center.
On the pond behind the Visitor Center there were three turtles sharing a log. In the big pond farther to the North there was one turtle sunning on a white rock, then he was joined by another one. The cattails were just beginning to green up. After seeing the turtles in Monument Park, it was fun to see more here. I haven’t seen that many turtles in Colorado, but I grew up with them in Northern Illinois.
We saw very few ducks or geese, but there were a few on the big pond. This Mama Mallard had three duckling with her. We could imagine that many of the other Geese and Ducks were sitting on nests protecting their eggs or young hatchinglings.
We also saw many Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins seen on this hike. I think everyone in our group took a picture of the black bird on the far left below. He poised beautifully for us as we walked by.
It really felt that it was on the edge of summer. Some very green areas, with some very dry area next to them. Flowers beginning to bloom, yet many more in waiting. Most of the flowers we saw were on trees.
The robins were hoping around on the path leading to my favorite tree. It has faces on many areas. I took this one from both sides; one was in the light and the dark. Makes for a very interesting contrasting image. Will have to use it sometime in a book.
More fun with Tree faces below. I don’t think I will ever get tired of taking pictures of this tree. Fascinating images that look different each time I see them.
It was a glorious day for a hike. The reflections in the water and Pikes Peak in the distance makes this a really beautiful easy hike that anyone can enjoy.
Another place I love to play and try and get the perfect image of Pikes Peak and a rusty Irrigation wheel was on our pathway this day.
I think this might have been a better image than the one I submitted to a contest. The sun was out and Pikes Peak showed up more in the distance. It will certainly find a place in my “Views of Pikes Peak” book when I get working on that this winter.
One of the most fun sights was this bird building a nest in one of the small gazebos.
Right after this gazebo, I broke away from the group to walk on one of my favorite side trails that goes down to the river. I first passed this wicked looking bit of driftwood, that is another thing I can’t walk past on this hike without taking a picture of each time.
At the water’s edge I came upon this beautiful female Mallard Duck. The purple on her wing was a surprise.
She stared at me for a few minutes, then turned and stated to swim away. That was when I noticed a male Mallard who kept alluding my camera.
It took me quite sometime to catch up with the group. I had not realized I had been so long away from them. But I eventually did catch up at the cattail pond.
And as all good things must come to an end, so did this hike. But I had another relaxing place to be. I was to be the “demo-body” for my friends Young Living Essential Oils Raindrop Therapy class.
There was a beautiful Heron that I came upon a few months ago at a pond in Monument Valley Park behind the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center.
These photos seemed to have a very Japanese quality to it, ad did a few others I took that day.
So I have stopped there many a time to see if I could catch him again.
I have only seen the Heron there twice, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the creatures that were there each time I stopped at the pond.
Not much of a hike, but I do get to see some interesting creatures: Geese, Ducks, Squirrels and Turtles on my last stop.
The first day, and a few other times, I saw this one legged goose. He seemed to have had a run in with some creature as his feathers were also not in the best of shape. But he not only survived that run-in, he could act very dignified when he was out of the water, standing tall. Though getting out of the water and hopping around, he did lose some of his dignity, but not the concept that he could survive any challenge he encountered.
He is an inspiration to me, and needed this reminder as I am having a mentally challenging time right now. I do need my sunshine! And walks in Nature to get back my positive energy and attitude.
The Ducks were beautiful to watch swim and a female took to posing for me on a rock in front of the pond as a male swam by below her. Not sure who was showing off for who, but she later joined him for a swim together.
There are dozens of Geese at this park swimming and walking around looking for a hand-out of bread that I have seen people feeding them. They look so regal on the water. I had fun trying to get some good images with their reflections below. It was a bit windy and the water wasn’t very still, plus they were swimming most of the time, so hard to get a perfect reflection when the water was in motion.
Another day when I stopped by I saw some ducklings that had beautiful coloration. They were so small walking among the Geese, but seemed pretty fearless. The more I look at the photos, I wonder if they were ducklings or another type of duck? A Wood Duck perhaps?
And then I noticed some very fluffy birds. There were also Goslings there that day.
That was pretty special. Mama Goose kept pretty close to these little ones, but I don’t think she had much to worry about. They too seemed fearless and big enough to take care of themselves fairly well.
The last time I stopped by this pond I found the Turtles that my hiking friend had told me to look for near the island.
My camera battery was running low! I swear I am going to buy another one to always have in the car! I remember the camera, but don’t think to bring an extra battery when driving around town.
So I missed the swimming of the one from a rock to join the other one. Still, they looked very cute together.
My most recent hike was another in town hike that wasn’t really planned to be as long as it was.
I walked to the MAC for a meeting at 3pm that was canceled. I had another one at 6 pm, so walked home, then back again. That was 2 miles of walking and it was a lovely day, as sick as I was that day, I had a difficult time enjoying the extra “hike” in town. I could have really used that time to rest, as I was not feeling well that day, physically or mentally. Still I did stop and enjoy some of the flowering plants along the way and took different routes to see what else was blooming on my second walk there.
I do have a couple of real hikes to catch up on posting, but not tonight . . . time to get some rest and see what Monday brings for health and getting back into the saddle of working again.
I am very far behind on postings about hiking, and getting out and hiking.
I took a trip the end of June to Young Living Essential Oils Convention in Salt Lake City, then came back and awoke the next morning very feverish and have been working my way back to health, with a little detour caused by some Manitou Springs Council members who did not help me heal with their strange attitude about something I learned the second day I was so very ill.
And my hiking buddy is about to take a trip for a couple of weeks just as I am getting back to health.
Though not in the best of mental health currently.
So where does that leave me?
I really need some healing time out in Nature to get back into the groove of myself again.
I think I will do a couple of catch up posts tonight and go forward as best I can this upcoming week.
Hummingbirds on feeding at the porch feeder and other birds in the yard have helped with my healing and uplifting my spirits.
It is rare that they will share the feeder, but here they are.
And then there are the playful squirrels.
I have seen a couple of very young black squirrels having a great time in the trees on the property. This little cutie found something in the compost pile to interest him and hung out above it for quite some time without any other squirrels coming to investigate.
And of course the half blind buddy that is very insistent that he needs to get his sunflower seeds whenever I come out to enjoy the front porch at least once a day. He is the only one we feed on purpose and he is very demanding. Yet brings a smile to our face when every we see him.
So glad I live where I do and can see these beautiful creatures on a daily basis in the summer.
When we found ourselves back at the Spring Canyon Parking lot, we still wanted to spend more time hiking.
So we headed up the Siamese Twin trail in the Garden of the Gods.
I usually hike up from the Northern part of the trail, but since we were at the Southern end, we just started hiking there. And it gives a very different view of the Siamese Twins.
I have seen this view before as I have hiked from another trail that leads to this area. But this is a very quick trail to take visitors on to get views of Pikes Peak and great rock formations.
And I really saw the big bird rock formation just past the Siamese Twins from this direction and with the very grey sky, he was more obvious than usual.
The sky kept teasing us with glimpses of blue sky, but when we reached the Siamese Twins, when looking through the “keyhole” it was grey.
Taking a picture of Pikes Peak through this hole between the “Sisters” is probably the most seen photo of all in the Garden of the Gods. I took one, but with just a different angle because it was there. And people love to pose in front of it. It can be a very dramatic photograph to take home and share with friends at home.
Along both the trails we hiked that day we found “kissing rocks” very sweet and made us smile.
Even rocks need love. I am always grateful when I see these types of images on my hikes.
These formations always puts a smile in my heart and on my face.
On the way down, we saw a rock formation that also reminded me of Jabba the Hutt.
Just a little different form, but there he was staring down on us as we passed by. Very glad he was frozen in time and rock and couldn’t really impose his will upon us in any way.
There were many signs of spring on this trail. But the one that was the most dramatic was the one that reminded us of the potential for flooding that could be visiting our area.
Many of these machines were seen along 30th Street and all around Manitou Springs clearing out debris, widening creek beds and creating retention ponds to slow the flow of water that could come off the very hydrophobic soil created by the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012.
Earlier in the day, I was lucky enough to catch this bird landing in a tree. He did give us a little song, but took off quickly in search of what ever birds look for when flying around the Garden of the Gods.
Last week I had planned on doing a hike heading to the Hot Springs with my hiking friend, but time didn’t allow this.
Plus I also am having some trouble with my left knee. And neither of us really felt like taking a long hike.
So my hiking friend and I decided to explore a trail in the Garden of the Gods neither of us had ever taken before.
The Spring Canyon Trail or Cabin Canyon Trail forks off from the very challenging trail that is not part of the park system that we took earlier this year. And that I had hiked on many times in years past. That other trail is not on any map and I would never hike it without the sky being very blue as it goes up a creek bed that has pretty steep sides.
Another other fork goes to the Siamese Twin Trail that is a favorite to take visitors on and I have done many times. But it turned out my hiking partner had never done that hike and after doing this trail, we decided to take that one. Will share more about that in the next post.
And it looks like a very simple, flat trail at the beginning. Similar to some other trails in the area that don’t excite me much except when wild flowers are blooming. And there were a few wildflowers blooming along this trail. But they were few and far between.
The spunky yellow flower made me smile when I came upon him in the very rocky soil.
I did get into taking more photos of the ubiquitous cactus and yuccas that were beginning to green up and were seen as we started on this hike and all along the trail as we continued. Some of these cactus had very long spines. None of them do I ever want to land upon.
The only picture I took of the starting part of the trail shows a field of cactus and we figured it would continue to look like that for the whole trail. But as we passed through the barren bushes, we were greeted with a much more fun trail than we had anticipated seeing.
We were soon very pleasantly surprised by this trail and what it had to offer. Wonderful rock formations, great views of Pikes Peak and Ancient Cedar Trees.
I always have to stop in wonder when seeing these Ancient Cedar Tress. How long have they survived here? What have the seen through the years? Indians and now tourists from all over the world have walked past them. I always find their twisted trunks so very beautiful and feel honored to stand next to each one.
The sky sometimes as very blue with large fluffy clouds, at other times it was grey an pretty dingy.
I really want to get back and hike this trail again the next time I see blue skies and have an hour to get away from my office. The Prince or Princess rock in the foreground would look much happier if the sky behind Pikes Peak had been bluer. As it was, you can not tell that Pikes Peak can be seen behind this rocky formation, but it is.
We had lots of fun with the rock formations on this trail.
Here we found a rock formation that made us think of Jabba The Hutt.
Then there was this very sinister Skull Rock.
I played a little using some filters with this Lizard Rock leaning over the shoulder of his rocky friend. Feeling the need to get a bit creative and explore what can be done with a new plug-in that Tony Laidig turned us onto last week that works inside of PhotoShop.
Brought out the scaly side of the Lizard and all of his rocky friends in the area.
And finally, because my friend and I love to laugh and smile when out in Nature, we found this smiling Lizard formation.
And just a bit farther there were two rocks laughing the days away.
The day before I had seen a “Mutts” comic that I had cut out to give to my hiking friend. All it said was “All Bird Songs are Love Songs”. I had actually remembered to give it to her before we began this hike. So when I turned a corner and heard a bird singing, I had to find the source.
Up in a tree this sweet little bird sang and sang its love song for a very long time. We decided he was singing his heart song to find a mate this Spring. He was still singing when we walked on down the trail. It was so sweet we hated to leave him, but did hike on down the trail.