Tag Archives: Andrew

Colorado Springs | Day Five & Six

Garden of the Gods

Our last stop on our spring break trip was Colorado Springs. We drove in during the morning, but the weather was really rough and I wish we would have left the night before. It started out as a rain and snow mixture, which just made visibility awful, but then it just turned to snow and the roads started to cover. If you can imagine an anxious mother who is teaching her kid to drive, that was me constantly telling Andrew to slow down or be careful. :P

We didn’t do much the first day because it was so cold and wet outside, so we just hung out and watched TV in the hotel room. I had packed a ton of chips and snacks for while we were in the car, but we hadn’t really touched them yet, so we chowed down on those. It was wonderful just being able to lazy around.

Because we didn’t do anything the first day, we wanted to pack everything in to the second day. We started with Garden of the Gods, a national landmark known for its odd red rock formations. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for walking around. We stopped at the visitor center first for a map.

View between two rocks

The trails were paved and there were signs everywhere discouraging visitors from straying from the paths to preserve the park and reduce injuries. I was a bit disappointed by that because I really enjoy going off the trail and exploring on my own – and after visiting Rocky Mountain National Park where exploring is encouraged, it was a bit of a letdown.

That being said, all of the rocks were really pretty, and there was one spot where you were allowed to climb up on one of the rocks, so that was fun! We got in a good amount of exercise, too!

Me in the garden

The biggest attraction at Garden of the Gods is Balanced Rock, but I honestly was not that impressed. I don’t know if it was the angle or I was just expecting something way crazier, but it just looked like a rock sitting on a rock. XD

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

We had a little bit of time to kill before lunch, so we went to Red Rock Canyon Open Space, which had a ton of trails for hiking. It almost seemed like a continuation of Garden of the Gods because the rocks were that same pretty red color, but it was a different location and you were allowed to go off the trails which was great.

For lunch, we went to a local Italian Bistro called Paravicini’s. It was the cutest little corner restaurant and everything was so good. Andrew and I both ordered a chicken parmesan, and for dessert we ordered an ice cream parfait that had caramel and nuts and some kind of butterscotch liqueur and it was like I died and went to heaven. Unfortunately, we devoured it before I could take a picture. XD

Andrew had a phone interview at 1:00 for a hospital he applied to work at, so we went back to the hotel so he could prepare for that. (Side note: he was just offered the job last Friday!! I am super proud of him! :D )

View from about halfway up Pike's Peak
View from about halfway up Pike’s Peak

Pike’s Peak was next on our list, the highest summit of the North Range of the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately since it was still considered winter there, we couldn’t drive all the way to the summit. We were still able to do 13 of the 19 miles, and got to see some pretty cool views! Honestly though, after the views in Rocky Mountain National Park, I wasn’t super impressed.

The farthest we could go up.
The farthest we could go up.

Overall, Colorado Springs was fun and I’m glad we visited, but I honestly wasn’t that impressed. I think if we were to visit Colorado again, and if I were to give advice to others, I’d recommend staying longer in Rocky Mountain National Park and just skip Colorado Springs.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | Day Two

This is the second post about my spring break trip to Colorado. If you missed the first one, you can read it here!

The next morning, Andrew looked up some mechanics that had good reviews and then called to see if they could fit us in. Thankfully it was only three miles away, so my car struggled the whole three miles up those darn hills. The engine kept shuddering… I thought my car was going to explode. The mechanic said it could take all day for them to fix it, depending on what was wrong, and suggested some shops down the street for us to busy ourselves with.

The shops weren’t much, but we did find a little miniature golf place! It looked pretty old and the games were only $3 a person, but we had nothing better to do. It turned out to be so much fun! Andrew and I are both competitive so it was pretty funny to see us both do so terrible. On the last hole, you won a free game if you got a hole-in-one. Andrew managed to get a hole-in-one and scored himself a free game! We still hadn’t heard from the mechanic, so we paid the $3 more for me and played another game. I won both times, but Andrew got another hole-in-one so obviously we had to play again. :D

Where we ended up spending the morning while the mechanic worked on my car. It turned out to be super fun - and you can't beat the view in the background either!
Where we ended up spending the morning while the mechanic worked on my car. It turned out to be super fun – and you can’t beat the view in the background either!

Andrew called the mechanic to see what was going on with our car, and they said they were just waiting on a part to be delivered and that it should be done before noon. I was absolutely elated that we wouldn’t be losing a full day due to the car troubles and about halfway through our third game of mini-golf, the mechanic called to say my car was ready. I had no idea how much it was going to cost (but I was just envisioning $$$$ in my head) but it turned out it was something minor, so thank goodness, that was such a relief.

Since we still had a bit of time, we headed back to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some things we didn’t have time for the day before. We started with Bear Lake. A lot of people seemed to be hiking up to go skiing, but we just hiked around the lake and even ventured out on top! Like Sprague Lake, Bear Lake was completely frozen and probably had a foot and a half of snow on top. I liked Bear Lake more though because it had better views of the mountains.

Bear Lake
Andrew and I at Bear Lake

We went down some different roads that we hadn’t gone down before the day before and saw some new views. Some of the roads led off to dead ends, so to get to the end of the road the day before, we missed a lot. So the second day was almost more fun because we were looking for off-the road spots that other people weren’t going.

Posing for a picture

We found a spot great for climbing on an outcropping of rocks. They were scattered down a fairly steep hill (or side of the mountain! haha), so we carefully worked our way down. It was incredible to just stand there in the cold air, without anyone else near or around you, and to just take in everything. I could’ve stayed there for years.

Sitting on Rocks

Andrew standing on a rock

Me Standing on a Rock
Me Standing on a rock

After climbing around and exploring for the better half of the afternoon, we were pretty tired. We already had the car packed up since we had to checkout from the hotel earlier, so we left the park and headed for Denver! It was hard to say goodbye to the Estes Park area because everything was so beautiful. But I guess that is what makes traveling so special.