The Garden Under Cloudy Skies

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Garden of the Gods is one of the main attractions in Colorado Springs. Consequently, at certain times throughout the year, it tends to be overrun. I avoid weekends completely and when I venture there during the summer, the season with the highest number of visitors and the worst heat, only do so around dawn in order to escape both. When a friend recently expressed interest in exploring the site with me, we were pleasantly surprised not to be overwhelmed by crowds. It helped that we set out at 7:30 in the morning, that the day was overcast and cool, and that we sidestepped what is called the Central Garden, where a majority of guests goes to gain an impression of this imposing and iconic landmark. Instead, we circumnavigated the park on trails that wind around its periphery.

I’m not at all dissing seeing the locale’s magnificent array of sandstone on a clear day and encourage you to click here for a few sunlit images and some historical information in my first-ever blog post about Garden of the Gods dated September 15, 2016 (where oh where does time fly?). This is particularly true when solar rays play on fresh snow, which I celebrated in another post that shows the Garden with a sprinkling of white-on-red.

A cloud cover lends a special aura to the scenery in its own right. When the sky is clear, one’s gaze is inevitably directed to Pikes Peak, looming large directly west of the park. On the early June day of our trek, the firmament, save a few brief bursts of sunshine at the start, was overcast and our local fourteener had wrapped its head with a misty scarf. Our eyes, therefore, were drawn to structures closer at hand, such as the rosy rocks and the complementary green trees and shrubs.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it. 

The fact of the “missing peak” was driven home as we peered through the window at the “Siamese Twins,” one of several formations which inspired earlier visitors to flights of naming fancy. As a picture is worth a thousand words, I added an older image of the window for comparison, as it illustrates the unobstructed view (as does the blog’s header photo, but it will eventually be substituted with another scene.)

Please allow me to indulge in some self-serving musings, trite as they might be. During a time of much turmoil, many of us tell ourselves stories to cope with reality. I’m using the mountain’s transitory invisibleness as an analogy: Even though one’s horizon may be beclouded temporarily, the dark and doomy clouds will dissipate in due course and sunny skies will once again return. At least I hope so.

Do you see a smiley face? We certainly did, and thinking back to this special morning still makes me smile. Dear Andy, thank you for the hike.

48 thoughts on “The Garden Under Cloudy Skies

  1. I can see why you are in love with this place. Magnificent. And you are right to focus on the undeniable fact that however dark the night may be, the sun will still rise the next morning to bathe this fabulous landscape with light.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mr. P. It’s understandable why so many people come and visit the Garden, as it’s certainly a very special and inspiring place. But it’s never more special than when it’s experienced with very few people present.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, may those sunny skies of Life return.

    How great to spend time with special friends who cherish the beauty of nature. Thank you for allowing us to walk with you!

    We’re having a very long period of ‘gray’ days – with lower than norm temps, but basically ‘perfect’ temperatures. (68 for the low, and 82 or so for the highs?)

    Nature gave me a subtle lesson this week as well; via the Common Potoo, which perched almost motionless for hours and hours, seemed to be able to tune out all but the worst of the man-made sounds. When a loud truck rolled past, or the loud rumble of a little motorcycle with muffler problems, the bird would just open its eyes for five or so seconds, then resume sleep. It taught me that we can grumble, or just ignore the irritants of one’s day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for going along on the walk, Lisa, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Even if you might not enjoy your gray skies as much, your temperature range sounds very appealing, especially since we just lived through 3 consecutive days when the thermometer climbed into the mid-90s. I’m thankful it’s “only” in the 80s now.

      I appreciate your insights gained from observing the Common Potoo (how I would love to see one of those birds). I’m certain there are many such helpful lessons in nature and it would behoove us to try to learn and apply them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your impression. There are many named rock formations in this park. It seems to be a human tendency to see patterns in nature and assign them special names–and meanings.


  3. What an absolutely gorgeous area! So much to explore and so many photographic opportunities.

    Love the smiling rock formation! That would make me feel welcome.

    Thanks for sharing some of your beauty, Tanja!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How well I recall our 2017 visit to Garden of the Gods, which I see now was on June 6th. That’s earlier than the peak summer tourist onslaught, yet I remember how even at that relatively early date in the season cars jammed the parking lot. You did well to set out for your visit at 7:30 in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised that you experienced traffic jams on June 6, Steve. The park is busy year-round, but visitation seems to increase noticeably as of Memorial Day weekend. Because I really like the place, I don’t want to miss out on visiting it all summer long just because of tourism. Going early during the week suits me fine, as it’s usually too hot later in the day anyhow.


  5. Yes I can see that smiling face. The stone does not leave much to imagination. Such things happens all the time to me. E.g. a couple of days ago, I saw a cloud looking like a dolphin. I was not surprised. Only that it was swimming backwards. That was odd.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How I laughed at your first sentence! You made perfect use of Jane Austen’s famous sentence. The Garden clearly is a source of pride, and I can’t imagine anyone being prejudiced against a visit there! I visited with my parents when I was in grade school, and I loved every minute of it.

    I smiled at your Smiley Face, but for a particular reason. When I came to that photo, I thought you’d added an image of one of the huge African termite mounds. In Liberia (and perhaps in other countries) the termites are called bug-a-bugs, and when they swarm, the kids go crazy collecting them to roast in palm oil. I’m just not a bug eater, but I know a few people who say if they’re crisp enough, and salted, they’re rather like popcorn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for noticing my Pride and Prejudice reference, Linda. If anyone else did, they didn’t mention it. I’m glad you have fond memories of Garden of the Gods. Because it’s so special I will continue to try to find times and spaces of relative solitude there.

      Having never seen an African termite mound, that image came as a surprise to me. I attended a bug fest once in my life and tried a chocolate-covered cricket. I wouldn’t have been able to tell what I was eating, but once we know, it’s hard not to think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gorgeous scenery, Tanja, no matter the day’s light. I find too, cloudy days make for interesting photos. Love the comparison shots of the window! Yes, I saw the smiley face. 😉 Unfortunately, last year’s I-70 mudslide and some home family troubles had us cancel our 2-week scheduled visit here past September. Maybe some day we’ll get back out west to Colorado, we still have much to see!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Donna. I remember that you shortened your trip last year for various reasons and I hope you will be able to head west again and visit Colorado. In the meantime, I will try to seduce with more stories and photos about the region. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So very pretty – you live in a wonderfully scenic area. I much prefer visiting landmarks when there are few folks around. There ain’t much sunshine on the horizon in Texas…bloody politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fascinating rock formations and perhaps the soft light from the overcast skies makes the pinky hue of the rocks a different kind of rosy. It is great that visiting a bit earlier in the day means that you can avoid the crowds.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an amazing place! And yes, I saw a smiley face. 😉 In these dark times, I find myself turning to nature for solace more and more. Your photos of that timeless garden were uplifting. Hope you are as well as can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tanja, I have not been following your blog but plan to begin doing so. It’s marvelous! I also envy your ability to find and report El Paso County birds here and on What’s App. How do you do it? A week ago, my family surprised me at the Garden of the Gods Club to wish me a happy 80th!?!? It was a great celebration in a very beautiful place. My daughter was also married there several years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Gary. It’s sincerely appreciated.

      Happy belated birthday. What a wonderful way to celebrate it–with a view over spectacular Garden of the Gods. Wishing you good health and many bird sightings in your new year of life.


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