Really Long Hike Among the Cedars and Old Spokes

 Hiked a hidden Trail in the Garden of the Gods.

I am grateful that my hiking friend is really adventurous. I hadn’t been on this trail since before the flooding, so it was looking a wee bit different than I remembered.

My friend hadn’t brought her hiking pole, but I have a driftwood stick with the perfect handle. At first she refused my stick, saying she would be fine without a pole. She had never been on this trail that I call challenging. When I said I was going to attach my pole to my pack and use the stick. She then agreed to use the hiking stick and I could use my pole. Many times on this hike she was grateful for that hiking stick, and at the end admitted she could not have done this hike without it.

I knew it would not be an easy hike if we were to get to the Cedar Grove I loved to visit. And I was right. But actually wasn’t that hard, as we both are willing to stop and rest and enjoy the natural beauty we walk among.

You start by going up a creek bed that isn’t too rocky, then find a place to climb up past a ridge where some of it has collapsed since I was last there. Next you get up to a skinny trail to high wide area where my favorite resting fallen trees still resides.

Julia Resting on Cedar Tree in Garden of the Gods

I think I could have stayed here for hours enjoying the views. One can sit on this old Cedar log facing two different directions. This way I could see Pikes Peak and the valley below us. Turned around, there is another branch to lean against and view the multicolored formation to the East and a view of Colorado Springs.

My hiking partner kept asking me how I remembered trees and rocks that helped guide me on the trail. I guess I take photos not just with my camera, but with my mind’s eye. Some of Nature’s offerings are very are memorable and I can remember them from one hike to the next. And I have hiked this trail a number of times with others and once or twice alone.

I know I have photos of some of the same Cedar trees and the trail areas. I do want to do some comparison photos, but not today. And probably would show up in my hiking blog, rather than here.

Next we hiked straight up an hillside covered in cactus.

Cactus in Garden of the Gods

Big long needles made it pretty scary walking up this long hillside.

I have to say, looking at this hillside of prickles had me thinking about some of the challenges I have had in my life. Very thorny problems that I needed to carefully maneuver through to not get stuck or hurt. I found myself not only stopping to take photos, but to just meditate on how grateful I was that I could still be hiking and out in Nature after all the Health Challenges I have experienced. And to be doing it with a friend who bravely went on this adventure with me, willing to climb to the top of a slippery and prickly hill to enjoy the view of a lifetime.

I made it to the top unscathed, but my friend did slip once and got a few needles in her hand. And actually the long needles were easier to get out than the small ones on cactus we have experienced on other hikes.

Cedar is in Garden of the Gods

You can see the beautiful live and dead Ancient Cedars we hiked among.

At the top of this trail we were in a small forest of these Ancient Cedars.

All along the trail I would stop and take a deep breath to enjoy the scent of these Cedars. It took us places far away in space and time. Biblical times and images of Tibetan hillsides came to mind at different places.

It was so very quiet, just the sound of an occasional bird calling out would break the silence.

We mostly were hiking on deer trails for this hike. We knew this from all the deer poop that we saw everywhere we went.

We also saw boot prints and animal tracks of those that came before us. So I know we were not the only ones exploring this trail recently.

On the way down we sat in a small groove of Ancient Cedars and had a snack. I put out a couple of pistachios as an offering to the wildlife and thanking them for letting us share this beautiful place.

Blue Bird eating Pistachios in Garden of the Gods

A couple of Mountain Blue Birds came close in the tree above us. I moved out from my rock bench among the Cedars and we tossed more Pistachios to these hungry and brave blue birds. I think we spent a half an hour here being delighted by their antics.

We came down a different way than we went up. There are more photos and views of the trail and tress on my spirit renewing hiking blog.

I had wanted to go down a trail to the left, but my hiking partner got ahead of me, and kept veering to to the right until we ended up in a boulder filled creek bed. It was very tricky hiking on this creek bed filled with large and small rocks. Sometimes we had to get up on the sloping ground to the side to make progress. We did great! And the colors of the rocks were amazing – everything from pure white to turquoise to purple. Nature sure can put on a show when she wants to show her diversity.

At the end of the hike, my friend who is usually really time aware guessed we had hiked for just two hours. It had been almost 3.5 hours since we left the parking lot. That was much longer than I expected to be hiking this day, but so it goes. And it was a glorious hike. My friend did say she didn’t think she would be doing it again any time soon. Which is fine, as once Spring comes and the possibility of rain is upon us, I won’t be hiking there again either.

I felt really energized when I got home and got a great deal of work done on gathering information sent to me from people participating in the 40th Anniversary show. This gave me a good start on the information I needed to send to the Indy to decide if Commonwheel would be a big or small story for the Gallery show.

After sitting at the computer for a few hours, I was a bit stiffer than normal. But considering I had danced on a concrete dance floor for an hour on Friday night, hiked straight up a Manitou hillside, then down in two hours on Saturday, having taken a strenuous 4.25 hour hike earlier in the day, I felt pretty good. And I knew if I rubbed my legs with Pine essential oil and had a good night rest, I would be good as new in the morning.

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