Colorado Springs Trip (2019)

Went to Colorado Springs for a urology conference. Sounds perfect for a road trip to southeastern Colorado (and New Mexico) if you ask me!

Day 1: Colorado Springs

STOPS: Phantom Canyon Brewing, Garden of the Gods

Presented my talk at the conference, won 5th place (out of 6-7, heyyyyy). Watched the sunset from the patio at Phantom Canyon Brewing (good beer). Colorado Springs is known for Garden of the Gods, which I checked out with one of the medical students. It was already dark and unfortunately the nearby lights are just bright enough that it's not great for stars. But we still got a couple good pictures.

Day 2: Colorado Springs, continued

STOPS: Garden of the Gods, Rasta Pasta

More conference, more learning. This time I tried going to Garden of the Gods almost at sunset, hoping for a nice glow and some good rock pictures. For whatever reason, it's hard to find a good vantage point to capture the rocks and the sky colors. Oh well, I tried. Afterwards, I met up with some other residents for some Rasta Pasta AKA Jamaican style spaghetti. I'd recommend it!

Day 3: Colorado Springs to Taos

STOPS: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, Capulin Volcano National Monument, La Cueva

No conference today. Instead the med student and I went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to see the animals in action. Afterwards, we drove THROUGH the zoo to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, which offers a killer view of the entire Colorado Springs area, highly recommend! Then I hit the road, heading towards New Mexico. Arriving at Capulin Volcano National Monument, the road to the top of the volcano was closed but there was a great nature trail at the base that was very peaceful and serene with a perfectly blue sky. Backtracking a bit, I drove around Raton NM just to see what a Raton NM looks like. Drove through some back country roads and mountain passes to arrive at Taos after dark. Ate some excellent Mexican food at La Cueva, then stayed at a dome house for the night!

Day 4: Taos to Crestone

STOPS: Toribios, The Coffee Spot, Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Earthship Biosphere, Woody's Q Shack, Milagros Coffee House, Colorado Gators Reptile Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Crestone Brewing Co

Woke up early to try to catch the sunrise. Wasn't great, but the dome house looked nice in the glow. Ate breakfast at Toribios and got coffee at The Coffee Spot. Drove over the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and wandered across, really liked the trail along the edge with a little bench! Next, a brief stop to learn about building eco-friendly housing at Earthship Biosphere. Then on to Alamosa for delicious BBQ at Woody's Q Shack and some coffee for the road from Milagros. I headed up to Colorado Gators Reptile Park, a reptile rescue facility with loads of gators. For $2 I was able to throw gator chow in the pens and watch them chomp away. Awesome! I headed back a little bit to Great Sand Dunes National Park, just a chunk of sand dunes in the middle of some mountains. Climbed to the top and learned that it is much windier and sandier, although the view is better. At least my camera survived the sandy onslaught. Watched the sunset as I drove along, realizing too late I was right by the UFO house. Finally made it in the dark to Crestone, which is a dark sky area. This means minimal house lights so driving can be rought, but the sky was amazing! I stopped for some chili at Crestone Brewing Co to warm me up, then took way too many sky photos at my AirBNB (with a dome greenhouse!) before bed.

Day 5: Crestone to Colorado Springs and home

STOPS: Skyline Drive, Chuck's Seasoned Grill, Bean Pedaler, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Woke up super early both for some more pictures but also to get on the road. Adventures to be had! Headed to Canon City for skyline drive, a narrow one-way road with a cool view of the area. Hungry, I ate breakfast at Chuck's Seasoned Grill and got some coffee from the Bean Pedaler. My last stop was a quick on to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Another perfect day to walk the short outdoor trail and see some petrified wood. Sadly, it was time to drop off the rental car and head back to Dallas, back to real life.