After a hectic week hunting for a home in Colorado Springs and my first two days at work with Compassion International I finally had time to go explore. My realtor, Brian Boals, suggested that hiking the Cheyenne Canyon is a great place to start.
I walked into the Starsmore Visitor center and asked, “Where should I start?” After a few questions she said the Columbine Trail is a great trail to start, it is three segments extending to three miles of hiking. I had no schedule so I took a map and water bottle to start my first exploration.
The Trail starts right beside the visitor center. It was a peaceful path to start following walking through woods with a stream flowing on the right. I could feel my stress leaving with each step. The terrain turned into rolling ups and downs with switch-backs. Before I knew it I encountered the next leg in the journey.
Shortly after the sign the trail started going up and I remembered the conversation from the visitor’s center where she pointed to a section of the Middle Columbine Trail saying, “This is a nice incline. It can be a killer.” A “killer” – strange how those words only broadened my smile and my stride.
There are a few quick switch-backs at the start. On one of the corners I met a young family coming back down. They said, “the trail is closed ahead, they are grading it”. Reluctant to turn back and missed the “killer incline” I forged ahead. Sure enough there was a small army of volunteers working on the trails. As I approached, even before I could say anything, they said, “you can just come through”. They spent hours carving the trail where erosion had been at work. It made me thankful for the work of The Friends of Cheyenne Canyon the trail was beautiful.
To be honest I missed the transition from the Middle to Upper trail. The trails meet at the ends. I was watching for the trailhead sign, but that is at the end near the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor center. As I think back I can picture a summit where there were two signs for the Columbine Trail. Those must have marked the transition.
During part of the Upper trail was the first time I started thinking my Sanuks aren’t the most ideal hiking shoes. Although I love my Hemp Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers they have zero traction. The sole is like a flat sole from a flip-flop. The trail was descending now and occasionally my footing would slip. I didn’t fall, but had a few slides.
At the end of the trail is a visitor center near Helen Hunt falls. It was a nice place to relax for a bit before returning back down the trail.
Overall the trail was just what I needed for my first day exploring Colorado. The views were incredible and better yet I didn’t think about our move, our house hunting adventures, or anything else. I was able to disconnect and enjoy God’s amazing creation. It was wonderful.