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"Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, 
you would never see the beauty of their carvings."
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

That's a great metaphor for life and a more literal quote for this entry.

Red Rock Canyon is one of several large "open space" parks in the Colorado Springs area. It is simply gorgeous, a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city within the city.

Even at the trailheads near busy US 24 it feels like you're in the wilderrness.
Pike's Peak is the tan mountain in the background, right -- no snow up there now.

I wrote about Red Rock Canyon extensively last summer and posted three pages of photos and trail maps.

I won't go into any details here, just show you some photos from my hike today. Let's see how well I can whittle the 94 pictures I saved down to less than a third of that and not repeat too many scenes from last year . . .

These photos are mostly in the CCW order in which I hiked today's loop.


It was foggy and in the low 60s F. this morning when we got up. The high was predicted to reach the low 80s F. (cooler than recently) with a 30% chance of thunderstorms and winds picking up to 10-15 MPH in the afternoon.


We drove south on I-25 and west on US 24 to reach the park.

Cody and I went for a two-hour hike from 9:30 – 11:30. It was mostly sunny and felt pretty warm. I did a convoluted CCW loop on the following trails:  Contemplation, Roundup, Red Rock Canyon, then up Red Rock Canyon Path, over the quarry, and down Greenlee.

I took the first six photos (above) along the Contemplation Trail. The next five show views from the Roundup Trail:




I saw about a dozen other hikers but no runners or cyclists. There were about three dozen climbers on the rocks (two photos farther down the page will show rock climbers near the old quarry site)


While I was hiking Jim rode his bike on some of the trails.

He said even the ones marked “easy” were tricky for him; Red Rock Canyon is a very hilly park. Some of the grades are steep and/or have loose rock and some trails are narrow and rocky.

All that makes cycling a challenge so after a while he decided to do something else with his time while he was waiting for Cody and me to get done with our hike.

He called to let me know he was driving about a mile to Pro Cycle to donate his old Trek MTB and have the cables and brakes adjusted on his new Stumpjumper bike.

This set of pictures is from the Red Rock Canyon Trail.



That went well but while he was out driving the “check engine” light came on in the truck. He had a free diagnostic test done at two auto shops on US 24 and both came out with the same diagnosis -- something about the turbo charger sensor.

By then it was time to come back to the park to get Cody and me.

Now we're approaching the old quarry, one of the most interesting places in the park.



The arrows point to two rock climbers on the northeast quarry wall.

We drove back to N. Academy Blvd., the freeway interchange that leads to the south gate of the Academy. Most of the businesses we use are along that street.

While I was in Walmart Jim called the Dodge dealer we’ve used previously in the eastern part of the city. The service rep said to bring the truck in. Based only on what Jim was able to tell him over the phone he couldn’t/wouldn’t say if it’s covered under our 100,000 mile diesel engine warranty.

One way to reach the middle level of the quarry site; there is also a trail.

Jim came back to the camper to do some online research but didn’t find any useful info re: how he could fix the problem himself. He reluctantly left for the Dodge dealer after lunch.




More steps to the upper level of the quarry

The service department ran the diagnostic code again and determined that the turbo charger control position sensor needed to be cleaned. The job is under warranty but the shop was too busy to do the work today. They promised they’d do the work tomorrow (Saturday) morning and call when it was ready to be picked up.

One of the employees gave Jim and his bike a ride back to the campground, which was nice considering it is about a nine-mile drive one way.

So far, so good. We probably won’t be out any $$$, just time and worry. This is the third time we've had problems with this sensor. 

View toward Garden of the Gods (rock formations in the background) from the Greenlee Trail

The guy from Dodge said he can’t come in the south gate at the Academy by himself to pick Jim up tomorrow but he can meet him outside the gate; only folks with military ID can come in that gate now, which is closest to the dealership. He didn’t offer to go farther to come in the north gate where visitors may enter. Rats.

Rock features along Greenlee Trail (next three photos)


So Jim had a bright idea -- ride his bike to the dealership in the morning! Hopefully there will be less traffic on a Saturday.

He got online and found a cycling function on the Google Maps website. It showed bike paths going most of the way to the dealership. He wrote down the turns so he can follow them tomorrow. I'll talk more about that in the next entry when I describe the multi-use paths we've been riding the last two weeks.

Another scenic view from the Greenlee Trail to the rock formations at Garden of the Gods.

It’s as weird not having our truck at our campsite as it was not having our camper with us when we drove to Ohio. We just hope the dealership can fix the problem tomorrow so we can get the Ram back. We are planning to leave for Kenosha Pass on Monday.

One of the two off-leash dog trails in the park; there were few enough
people using the park today that I had Cody off-leash most of the time.

Several people were out with their dogs today.

The good thing is, this occurred in a convenient location at a convenient time. At least we weren’t at Kenosha Pass yet, or somewhere else that's 100 miles from the nearest dealer. And we've been talking about staying here a few more days anyway.

Next entry:  exploring more of the New Santa Fe Trail and the Pike's Peak Greenway

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil