Since I’m anticipating being holed up for the next few days (there’s 22 inches of snow coming and I don’t even own snow boots), I decided to get out and visit Garden of the Gods while the weather allowed. A national natural landmark, the park boasts 300-foot sandstone rock formations that are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are also multiple trails that Koa and I took advantage of, as well as a nature & visitor center that I will have to see another time, because the park closes at 5 p.m. in the winter.
It’s just as well, because my trip there and back were actually the more memorable parts of the day. Since I’m currently carless, I figured I’d just request a Lyft or an Uber for my little field trip. I also may or may not have considered calling the sketchy person on Craigslist offering $10 rides anywhere in Colorado Springs… Anyway, I ended up going with Uber, because the Lyft driver I got paired with refused to transport Koa unless I put him in a carrier. I didn’t know it at the time, but that Saab-driving Lyft fellow was doing me a favor.
My Uber driver turned out to be a former Olympic wrestler from Armenia who now coaches the U.S. team. (Colorado Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Training Center.) He was a very interesting person to chat with for the 25-minute ride to Garden of the Gods. I listened to him speak passionately in his Armenian accent about the corruption and deceit going on everywhere. He said all would be right in the world if people knew Vedic knowledge and followed one simple rule: “Do not harm anyone or anything.” I concur.
He also got very excited when I told him I was a writer—he said he wants me to help him write a book he’s sure will be a bestseller. When I laughed, he looked at me in the rear-view mirror and said sternly, “I’m serious.” So serious, in fact, that he told me to call him personally for my return ride. I did, and he showed up with his wife, who was also a pleasure to speak with. They pointed out different parts of the city, such as the new developments, Old Colorado City and the “farm” area where the houses look the same as everywhere else, but there are dirt roads and people own horses. Since they live just a couple of streets away from where I’m staying, they also showed me their house—where the rest of the family came out to say “Hi.”
Thanks to an Uber ride, I saw amazing sights, met fascinating people, received an invitation to visit the Olympic Training Center and possibly walked away with a new work project. I’d say day two of Springs living was a success.