Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Caves, Olympians, giraffes and waterfalls

Todays run (trails) 2 miles at 10:10
I went straight to the trails this morning and with a couple of exceptions I followed the same route as yesterday. Since I knew the basic direction of the paths, I had less concern about where I was or whether the path I was on would end abruptly -- or worse -- result in a straight drop across rough rocks. I've compared this terrain to Stillwell, but honestly, it's far rougher. Where Stillwell paths may drop off sharply, the trails there are mostly dirt. Here, the trails dip and rise around areas of rock, much of it looking like sand. I've had a few close calls that could have resulted in a turned ankle (or worse) but so far I've been lucky. I did two miles today and it was still very tough. Between the terrain and the altitude I was pretty darn exhausted during the run. In addition, we've gone straight out since we landed and I haven't rested as well as I should.

Yesterday morning we visited the Cave of the Winds which are natural caves that were discovered in the late 1800's. It was fun and freaky to move through these spaces. The caves themselves are situated high in the mountain and the view of the canyon (at the start) was incredible. After that we took a little time visiting Old Colorado City which has lots of interesting stores and restaurants. Then we headed east to the US Olympic Training Center and took a tour. It was fascinating to see the place where so many Olympic athletes and hopefuls train. We saw boxers, wrestlers and swimmers who were doing their training as we passed through. I'll post lots of pictures at a later time and I'll try to put a few up today if the Blogger mobile app cooperates.

After my run this morning we visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo that featured lots of different habitats. My kids got to feed the giraffes and we saw just about every animal you could think of. On our way back we stopped at the Helen Hunt Falls (named after Helen Hunt, an advocate of native Americans in the 19th century, not the movie actress). This is a natural waterfall with a footbridge that runs above the top. We spent time in the nature center where I learned that the dominant species of trees in the area were Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Bristlecone Pine, Ponderossa Pine and White Fir. We made one more stop to check out Bear Creek Park, which will be a destination tomorrow. I think I'll do tomorrow's run there unless we decide to return to Garden of the Gods instead. Maybe we'll do both!
I'll try to put up some recent pictures from our trip. Hope it works.

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