Laura and Hannah joined us for an early morning hike in Pulpit Rock Park here in Colorado Springs. Pulpit Rock is a mountain pillar that climbs to 6,532 feet in the heart of the 586 acre Austin Bluffs Open Space bordering the UCCS campus.
There are about 10 miles of designated trails around the park and we walked about 4 miles of them including climbing a social trail (an unofficial trail that diverges from an existing trail) to the top of Pulpit Rock. The views were spectacular. We enjoyed a picnic lunch with delicious chicken sandwiches, chips, trail mix and water at the top. We did a little geocaching along the way and located two caches. One was a partly camouflaged Mr. Potato Head (the clue was "Big Red Nose") hidden in a Pine Tree, the other was a small camouflaged plastic container that was hanging on a tree at the edge of a cliff. We all signed the logs and I left Buffalo Nickels for the next cachers to enjoy.
Geocaching has lead us to parks that we would otherwise never know existed. Many caches are hidden in places with particularly wonderful views or extra-neat rock formations. The hobby challenges your skills and encourages an appreciation of parks and open spaces. The rules prohibit placing a cache anywhere that would harm the environment, disturb a delicate eco-system or be dangerous to participants. Cachers are encouraged to "trash out" - carrying out not only your trash, but picking up after others who were not as considerate. (we always carry a trash bag in our pack) and otherwise leave spaces exactly as you found them - or better. Besides, it's another excuse to hike!
We seem to have lots of Dragon Flies this year. This one stopped long enough for me to get his picture. Pretty neat!
This week we will celebrate three birthdays, Bill's daughter, Laura and grand-daughters Hannah and Sidney. The festivities begin today and Bill is smoking a ham for the occasion. He's also making garlic smashed red potatoes and fresh Olathe corn. I'm in charge of the baked rolls and the cole slaw with apples, raisins, carrots, nuts and blue berries. Yum, I'm hungry already!