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Garden of the Gods breathes in Colorado Springs

COLORADO Springs—Where on earth may travelers and adventurers find the Garden of the Gods?

Breathing in Colorado Springs in this Centennial State—it became so in 1876 when the United States turned 100 years old—112 kilometers south of Denver, the Garden of the Gods stands on 540 hectares of pulsating panoramas.

These spotlight stunning red rock formations at the Garden of the Gods, once owned, old hands say, by railroad executive Charles Elliott Perkins, who kept it open for public access and, before he died, initiated plans for it to become a public park.

Tourists, local and foreign including some Filipino families, can have a glimpse of different landscapes throughout the National Natural Landmark.

The landscapes range from grasslands to pinyon-juniper woodlands.

Also in Colorado Springs, 6,035 feet above sea level, is the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, captured in the backdrop of several bouldering sandstones.

Scores before European explorers discovered the Region, the American Indians of the area knew of the bubbling soda and iron springs at the base of what they called their sacred mountain Tava – now known as Pikes Peak.

COLORADO’S CHARMS. Tourists and locals get a glimpse of stunning red rock formations at the Central Garden of the Gods.

The nations of the Rapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache were all, according to tourism sources, visitors from the eastern plains over the centuries of their migrations.

The Utes, on the other hand, considered the springs as part of their mountain homeland from which they originated and never left.

Sources say most of these tribes, although they were enemies, would practice restraint around what they traditionally called the medicine springs.

They drank the water filled with trace minerals and stomach-soothing soda and bathed in the skin-softening pools.

The Utes believed that every living thing had a spirit and there were clear signs of gratitude or supplication left in and around the springs, including beads, weapons, clothing and fetishes.

Visiting photographers – amateur and professional – have their cameras feast almost always at the Cathedral Valley in the Garden of the Gods where red rocks spire angularly towards the sky and fresh snow dustings provide a serene setting for a tired soul.

In winter, when the skies are blue they contrast vibrantly with the red rocks and watery balances which reflect the picturesque landscapes tourists enjoy for much of the day.

The drive up the summit of the nearby 14,115-foot Pikes Peak (top) and the main entrance of the Garden of the Gods, steps away from the Visitor Center (below).

Among curiously balanced rock formations are the Siamese Twins.

Not far from there is the Red Rocks Amphitheater, naturally formed and anchored by two 300-foot sandstone monoliths named Creation Rock and Ship Rock, which provides a heavenly quality to any live show on the stage.

But while a live show performance is the best way to experience the venue under the Colorado moon or a kind sun, visitors can always drop by anytime to hike the nature trails or just focus their eyes on the red rocks and panoramic views.

Those familiar with the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte in the far northwest of the Philippines often find themselves feasting on the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado.

They would certainly be told the tallest sand dunes in North America are in the nearly 61,000-hectare park and preserve four hours south of Denver.

The snowcapped Sangre de Cristo Mountains provide a photogenic backdrop, and the Medano Creek creates a beach-like setting.

But new arrivals and even those returning for the nth time are politely told that motorized vehicles are not permitted on the dunes.

But active adventures include hiking, body boarding and sand surfing.

Yet another striking attraction, brought to visitors by architects, civic planners and Mother Nature, is Boulder, often referred to as “the city nestled between the mountains and reality.

About 40 kilometers northwest of Denver is Boulder, which has racked up several accolades over the years, a city regaled for its quality of life, fitness and outdoor recreation options as well as an impressive food scene.

Boulder, which defies all stereotypes, was originally founded as a gold rush town in 1859.

But unlike most boom-or-bust cities, Boulder’s pioneering spirit never died.

The arrival of Ball Aerospace in the 1950s and IBM in the 1990s helped to secure Boulder’s progressive future.

By 2010, the city had six times more start-ups per capita than the national average.

Old hands say Boulder has matured and continues to attract top talent with its desirable work-life balance and breathtaking landscapes.

They add Boulder has transformed into a thriving tech scene, frequently heralded as the New Silicon Valley.

To observant visitors, the transformation may be subtle. 

But to Coloradans, it is hard not to notice Boulder has morphed into a district of influential startups.

The city has become a haven for creative, industrious Gen-Xers and millennials keen on taking advantage of its unique quality of life.

Boulder’s emergent startup culture also blends with the long-standing priority of relishing in the inspirational outdoors environment: it’s a work-hard, play hard community that harmoniously co-exists.

Topics: Garden of the Gods , Colorado Springs

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