We tried a new church this morning. They gave us chocolate because we were first time visitors. This has happened to us before. We’ve decided, instead of settling down, that we’re just going to visit a new church every week.
In the afternoon, I went for a walk. My plan was to walk the next section of the New Santa Fe Trail. (I walked the northernmost section last Sunday.) This would have taken me from Monument south to Baptist Road and back, a distance of about six miles. But by now you know my walks never go as planned. I began at the same point that I began and ended last week, but this time I headed south.
I cut through downtown Monument, past some lovely sculptures.
From there, the trail basically cut across a large prairie right next to I-25. Yes, there were mountains off to my right, but it was boring.
After three miles, I made it to Baptist Road. I couldn’t bring myself to walk back the way I’d come. It was just too dull. I’ve coined a phrase for the motivation that keeps me walking — the lure of the next bend. There was no lure on this trail.
I stopped for a moment to ponder the art instillation on the round-about.
It’s called “Aspen Grove.” It “brings to light the interaction of light, wind and color highlighting one of our cherished species of trees. The intent is to draw upon the powerful images provided by the backdrop of Pike’s Peak, Rampart Range and rolling grasslands. The sculptures, fabricated in polished stainless steel, stand upright as an observation of nature. Each tree is made up of a collection of two-part coated cups (leaves) that lightly bounce with kinetic motion. Each tree stands collectively as a symbol of the various communities and neighborhoods comprising the Tri-Lakes area. The installation becomes a grove of Aspen trees, demonstrating the history of these communities’ collective culture.”
I headed west on Baptist Road across Teachout Creek.
An American Tree Sparrow posed nicely for me.
I soon found myself in the barren wasteland of a new housing development. Beaver Creek has been dammed to form a lake, and some decidedly posh homes are going up along its banks. That’s the south end of Monument and the north end of Colorado Springs in the distance. Our new house may even be in that shot somewhere.
I was beginning to wonder if I’d come to a dead end. I didn’t want to have to retrace my steps, having gone five miles by this time. I decided I would cut cross country if I had to, or even cut through someone’s yard. But I didn’t have to. After puffing up a steep road to the top of a bluff, I found myself on dirt roads that headed back toward Monument.
At the bottom of the hill, I came upon a shy horse. It saw me coming and walked up to the fence, but every time I tried to take it’s picture, it turned away. Really.
This happened about four times before it finally allowed me to get a shot.
Mount Herman. A helpful sign along the trail informed me that the bare spot was caused by a forest fire in the 1980s, I believe.
A little further on, I spotted a small herd of Mule Deer.
While I was taking these photos, two guys in a pickup stopped and asked me the name of the trail they’d just passed. I told them I didn’t know—I wasn’t from around here. At that moment, one of them saw the deer and said to his friend, “Look! Elk!” I may not be around here, but I can tell a Mule Deer from an Elk.
The road I was on became the southern boundary of Pike National Forest.
It finally ended at Mount Herman Road which took me down the hill into Monument.
I crossed Dirty Woman Creek, which had been dammed by beavers.
I cut through downtown Monument again. I spotted Snoopy on his Sopwith Camel. I hadn’t been carrying the red chair with me this entire time, but I came back after I made it back to the car and got a couple shots.
I hit the trail about a quarter mile from my car and retraced my route. A flock of Eurasian Collared Doves were feeding along the way.
In the end, my planned six-mile walk turned into this.