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A Journey to the Garden of the Gods

From Seven Falls we segue to Garden of the Gods the next day. Segue is a verb that means "to move without stopping from one topic, song, etc., to another." On Tuesday, May 21 we ventured south from Peregrine Pines FamCamp to go on a 90 minute tour of this very special park on SEGWAYS. For those who are unframiliar with what IS a Segway, it is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter device invented by Dean Kamen. It is a registered trademark of Segway Inc. It was brought to market in 2001 as the Segway HT, and then subsequently as the Segway PT. HT is an initialism for "human transporter" and PT for "personal transporter."

Segways are available at the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center along with electric bikes to rent. We have never tried this mode of transportation before and were excited to try it out here at this location. Our tour began at 10 AM in the tunnel below the parking lot. Our guide and instructor named "Goose", spent about 15 minutes introducing the seven of us to our equipment for the rides including familiarizing us with getting on/off , the do's and don'ts of driving the contraption. After we all the signed the waviers, we cautiously took off on this new mode of transportation and began another new adventure.

The Garden of the Gods is a 1,341.3 acre public city park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado and 862 acres of the park was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. The area now known as Garden of the Gods was first called Red Rock Corral by the Europeans. Then, in August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, Melancthon S. Beach suggested it would be a "capital place for a beer garden". His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why, it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods."

Unobscured views and a mellow pace made our visit to this beautiful park memorable. Goose pointed out exotic plant life, local animal life, and of course, numerous spectacular geologic formations and the unique caricatures hidden within them. We made several short stops to admire the sights, while staying on the Segways for most of the tour. We viewed the wonders of the South and North Gateway Rocks, Kissing Camels, Three Graces, Sleeping Giant, Park Overlook, and Praying Hands.

Following our Segway tour we headed for Manitou Springs and along the way stopped at the "Balanced Rock", a 35-foot, 1.4-million-pound red rock free to visit, photograph, and appreciate. Located near the southern entrance of the Garden of the Gods, Balanced Rock is an enormous, roadside sandstone boulder, which is frankly a natural piece of art.

After the Balanced Rock we proceeded to Manitou Springs for lunch and a walk around this unique town. Long before European explorers discovered Pikes Peak, the American Indians had been stopping to drink the sacred bubbling mineral spring water of the area. The name Manitou comes from the Algonquian word meaning “great spirits.”

After lunch we explored some of this historic downtown while looking for one of the eight naturally-effervescent cold-water mineral springs. Water flows 24 hours a day, seven days a week for all to enjoy. Karen found one of the spring features and sampled some of the water that has made the town famous.

From Manitou Springs we stopped by Glen Eyrie, an English Tudor-style castle built in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. Founded in 1871, Glen Eyrie was the home of William Jackson Palmer. Palmer was a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the Civil War, president of The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, and founder of Colorado Springs. Palmer and his wife Mary “Queen” Mellen made Glen Eyrie their home. The castle is owned today by The Navigators, a worldwide Christian para-church organization based in the city.

This completed our last full day of sightseeing in Colorado Springs before checking out on Wednesday. Next stop in our travels would take us north to Standley Lake Regional Park, a 3,000-acre park located in unincorporated Jefferson County and and about 15 miles from our son's home in Thornton, Colorado.


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