There is a valley near the base of Pikes Peak known since the mid-19th century as the Garden of the Gods. It is a garden not of flowers, but of rock - of kissing camels and stone toadstools and mammoth sandstone walls tilted upward toward the Colorado sky. Travel-writer Ernest Ingersoll once called this garden "a gigantic peep-show in pantomime." Novelist Helen Hunt thought it "the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe." And all-American hero Charles A. Lindbergh was fully convinced that he had never seen "a more spectacular and magnificent place."
The Garden of the Gods has been the object of many studies over the years. The red rocks have been named and climbed and analyzed as to their origin and composition. The plants and animals have been cataloged and photographed. Entire books have been written on areas of special interest: ecology, geology, photography and rock-climbing. Only the human element has been somewhat neglected.
And yet, if the great rocks could but speak, what stories they might tell. Stories of Indians who camped here in ages past...of mountain men who paused here before entering the high country...of gold seekers who carved their names into the soft sandstone rocks...of early settlers who claimed this land as their own...of later promoters who tried to make money off the natural beauty...of conservationists who sought to preserve this Garden as a place forever free to the public.
Dates to Remember:
1807 - A unknown trader named H. Lape left his name while on a trading expedition to Santa Fe. The name can still be seen above Ketner's Cave on the west side of White Rock.
Who was H. Lape?
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