High in Colorado

The final destination of our Arizona trip was Colorado Springs, where we were going to meet up with family. That was what gave us the thought to go to Sedona and check it off our bucket list, you know, as long as we were in the area. By “in the area,” I mean some place out west.

We traveled via rental car from Sedona to Colorado, thereby allowing us to check off another national park from our national park list. We like lists. Be they bucket, national park, grocery, to-do, birthday, or Christmas – we are very pro list.

We were given a welcome to Colorado which was worthy of any westward-ho band of travelers. I loved their sign and the view in the distance. I wish I could tell you the route we took because it seemed to be off the beaten path, but alas I have no idea where we were. Frankly, I didn’t care. I left all that to my trusty engineer who loves maps almost as much as he loves me.

I wonder if people in Colorado notice its beauty on a daily basis. I hope they don’t take it for granted like I sometimes do the palm trees and beaches where I live. Maybe that’s why it’s extra special for those of us from flat Florida. Any hill is a novelty in Orlando, so those Rocky Mountains almost put me on my face. Gawking at the scenery was a huge part of the trip.

The reason for our specific route was so we could stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park. It contains the tallest dunes in North America. From a distance we could see the dunes lined up along the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As we drove closer, we could see the clear demarcation of mountainside, dunes, and water.

Dunes in the distance

You have to cross Medano Creek to get to the dunes.

The temperature was still much lower than normal, and the wind was making it feel even cooler. These things combined made the decision to look at instead of hike through the dunes an easy one. We watched children floating along Medano Creek as others waded through it to get (to the other side) to the Dunes. We grabbed our sandwiches and sat at a picnic table shivering and enjoying the view. It was a quick visit, but it counts!

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Colorado Springs, and may I say I highly recommend it. Plus, the weather finally caught up with the calendar and I began to thaw out. The time spent with family and friends there was memorable. The views of the mountains would have been enough for me, but when you add in golf for the guys and spa time for the ladies – it doesn’t get much better than that. Unless you get daring and stretch yourself out of your comfort zone.

Most of our group decided to go zip-lining at Seven Falls, which I believe is now owned by the Broadmoor. Bob and I had hiked around Seven Falls during a past trip with our son and his family, before this zip-line existed. I had zip-lined before, and I thought it might be fun to do it again, but what I did before barely prepared me for this course. This course includes 5 zip-lines, 2 rope bridges (over canyons, way over canyons), and a 180-foot assisted rappel, which felt more like being lowered, but that was freaky enough for me.

Bob and I in our gear

The adventure began with a van trip up a mountain where they pulled off the side of the road and dropped us off. We hiked down to our practice area where we were outfitted with 15 pounds of gear and given a ten-minute instruction followed by a 10-second practice zip-line. Then we climbed the ladder to our first zip-line.

The first three were fun and easy, but they simply prepared you for what was ahead, which was two terrifying-looking rope bridges and two more zip-lines across the canyon above the tree line. These two zips are so far from start to finish that you cannot really see where you are going, but we followed our trusty guides (one in front and one behind).

New zip line adventure awaits at Seven Falls in Colorado Springs

photo credit: gazette.com

At the bridges there is a point of no return. We lost three of our group at that point (not the tragic type of loss). They were happy to have done the three zip-lines and happy to take pictures from below so they turned back.

Surprisingly, I was not one of the three. I maneuvered across the rope bridges even stopping to look down at the canyon and do some bird watching from the bird’s point of view. I cannot say enough good things about our guides. They really put me at ease. We were told to maintain three points of contact across the bridges at all times. No problem!

After the rope bridges came the two main zip-lines. The guide would take one of the lines which was attached to us, remove it from where it was hooked on the center post of the platform (which has no railings, by the way), and attach it to the zip-line. She repeats the process with the second line so we are always secure. The first guide soars across the canyon and waits as one-by-one we leave the security of our elevated platform to soar across the canyon. The second guide follows the last person.

This takes a bit of time as they recheck all of our equipment and send the group of 6 or 7 of us across individually. When I was waiting on the platform, I was pretty calm but I did become best friends with that center post to which I was attached.

The final zip-line is a quarter of a mile long. It takes about 45 second to cross it and it was exhilarating! I loved it.

The most awkward part was the rappel. You had to kind of step and lean out off of the platform before you (slowly) plunged to the ground. It wasn’t bad once I figured it out. But it sure felt strange.

Fins Course

The rappel down. Photo credit: gazette.com

I’ve included about 17 seconds of the 45 second glide that was the last zip-line. That tiny spot with the greenish/blue shirt is me. By the way, you’re traveling about 45 mph on this course. Did I mention it was awesome? It was!

 

Thanks for coming along on my adventure!

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18 Comments

  1. Great post 🙂

    Reply
  2. I fear I would despoil the beauty with some previously enjoyed meal being regurgitated from my mouth.

    Reply
    • That is always a possibility, Roy. I was surprised at myself. I suffer from vertigo but was able to do this with no incident. If I lay back in the dentist chair or to get my hair washed though, that’s scary!

      Reply
  3. Leslie

     /  June 13, 2019

    I will be having nightmares of walking that bridge for the next week.

    Reply
  4. Kim Sutter

     /  June 13, 2019

    Wow, Bonnie! I’m very impressed. I zip lined on the Blackwood’s property in North Carolina years ago. They said the animals never returned to their mountain after the blood curdling scream I let out. If that had been me, well, let’s just say a pair of Depends would have been in order.

    Reply
    • You’re too funny, and you should definitely try this one if you get the opportunity. You are so high they can’t hear you scream! Seriously, we could barely hear each other. It was amazing.

      Reply
  5. Arthur L Manning

     /  June 13, 2019

    Wow! What an adventure!
    – Art

    Reply
  6. Freddye Wakkey

     /  June 14, 2019

    Looks and sounds like you had a great time! Nothing better than seeing God’s handiwork and being with family! So happy you all had a wonderful time!

    Reply
  7. Susan Taylor Brand

     /  June 29, 2019

    Hi Bonnie, I don’t know if everyone in Colorado notices how beautiful it is, but I do, every time I step out of the house, and even when I just open the windows, because it’s cool enough to do that here, the air comes in and it’s sweet and pure and I whisper to myself “in the mountains, there you feel free,” and I do.

    Thanks for posting. I’m glad you enjoyed your journey. I actually like to visit Florida, and am going in a couple of weeks. The world has gotten smaller.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your nice comment, Susan. I did and do love Colorado. It’s amazing. Get ready to sweat when you come to Florida. Summer lasts all the way through October. We don’t believe in traditional calendars down here!

      Reply
  8. Inspires me to get out and do more and to heck with the nay-sayers! (“Mom, you might get hurt.”)

    Reply
    • My oldest two kids were my biggest supporters here. I think they were surprised that I didn’t back out. Actually, I was a little surprised, too! I’m so glad I didn’t. It was a highlight. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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