I feel like I've waited my whole life to see the Colorado Rockies. We came oh so close last year in Moab but our itinerary took us a different way. Indeed, this trip was originally a 2 week trip to Colorado only - not a mammoth road trip. To say I have been looking forward to this sector of the trip then, would be an understatement.
Colorado Springs tops many 'best places to live' charts presumably due to a low cost of housing and proximity to the large metropolis of Denver. The centre of the City seemed OK, the outskirts were peppered with some really wonderful wooden and glass creations. The suburbs were just seemingly mile after mile of condos. The place had little character that we could discover. A shame, really.
We started looking further afield for entertainment and visited Garden of the Gods. Located over the crest of a ridge from the City one minute we could see rolling green meadows and condos. The next... this.
A pretty incredible place so close to civilisation. It was, unsurprisingly due to the aforementioned proximity, busy. We opted to take a hike of around 3 miles through the main attractions of the park.
The most striking aspect of the park are the vibrant red rocks which are reminiscent of Utah on the other side of the Rockies. You can see in the background that the park is pretty just in a suburb although the one visible here is a posher version.
We bumped into this little fella halfway into our walk. It was amazing to be so close, maybe 10 meters from him. We reckon it's an Elk. Its bravado as we stood there admiring being the reason we think it's an Elk, not a Deer. These guys go through a phase where they shed the velvet from their antlers.
Our target for the walk was a rock formation known as the Siamese Twins. A picture straight from a postcard this as Pikes Peak is perfectly framed through a port hole in the rock.
After the Garden we headed up into the mountains to the Royal Gorge. A natural break in the mountains railroad companies fought over this valuable asset for decades finally requiring government intervention. Rio Grande Railroad were the winners and nowadays you can take a scenic tourist train through the gorge with special viewing cars.
The altitude here is only around 6500ft, not much higher the Springs themselves. But to reach the viewpoint photographed we had to climb about 500ft on foot and it's absolutely incredible how the relatively low (for the Rockies) altitude just steals your breath away.
It's the strangest sensation your lungs being on fire but your muscles being totally fine. I'm not the pinnacle of fitness but I'm certainly not unfit and I can only imagine how good living up would be for your respiratory system.
A crack in the bridge afforded me one of my favourite compositions of the trip as I captured the main elements of the location in a single frame. 1200ft below a raft, the river and the railway.
It was about 7pm by this point and sunset was threatening, always an exciting prospect in the mountains for a photographer. It did not dissapoint. One of the most firey sunsets I've ever seen put on a fantastic show for us.
I'd actually given up for the evening and had programmed our hotel (in Colorado Springs) for the night back into the sat nav. Suddenly I noticed from 65mph on the highway a herd of Cows? Buffalo? No, better. Bison!
As I was about to give up having grabbed what I already thought was a great image of the Bison silhouetted against the incredible sky most of the herd turned around and ran. Except for this guy. What a poser.
I am absolutely delighted with this image. It is practically straight out of the camera, those colours were real. I got such a huge buzz from taking it and felt amazing all the way back to the hotel.
I think it's portfolio worthy and I don't often say that. Last year I got a couple of portfolio worthy images and so far this year I'd come up short. When we get back I'm actually going to put together a showcase website for my best work.