Garden of the Gods is one of the most interesting and worth seeing rock formations in the state of Colorado. It is located in Colorado and Manitou Springs. The founders of Colorado Springs named it Garden of the Gods because believed that it was a gathering place for Gods. It was also a place where Pueblo Indians lived. In 1879, Charles Perkins, who was a president of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad at that time, purchased much of the land of modern Garden of the Gods. After his death, at his request, his family gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs to be used as a park.
The geology of Garden of the Gods goes back in history for about a billion years ago when the Pikes Peak Granite was formed. The development of present Garden of the Gods owes to three major mountain-building pulses that happened in history. First one took place about three hundred million years ago with the development of Ancestral Rockies; Fountain Formation was deposited then also. The second one happened during Paleocene period that was sixty-seventy million years ago with the tilting up of the Sedimentary formations of the Garden of the Gods. Finally, the third mounting-building pulse was during Miocene Period (twelve-twenty three million years ago) and it resulted the erosion in Rockies. The final shaping of modern Garden of the Gods happened during Holocene Period due to the forces of erosion like wind and sand (because of them Garden of the Gods has a landscape of red rocks).
Probably, the most exciting rock formation in the whole Garden of the Gods is Kissing Camels. It is a very unique rock that looks like two kissing camels. It is like a symbol of Garden of the Gods. The story tells that two Indian lovers named Alpha and Omega, each was from a different tribes that were in war. One day they were caught hugging each other. They were carried to the top of North Gateway Rock, where they were burned to death in separate funeral pyres. "And in the morning," so the legend ends, "when the sun looked on the smoke blackened cliff, there was seen the kneeling figures of two camels with lips pressed together in a deathless kiss of love." The old timers of the city of Colorado Springs, especially native Americans believe in this legend and try to pass it to future generations, so the myth of Kissing Camels will be always alive.
Another interesting one is the double formation. Its name depends on the side that people look at it from. If one looks from the east he or she would name it the Siamese Twins; looking from the south the two rocks seem to line up to form one, and together with a nearby rock become Punch and Judy.
What kind of Garden of the Gods it would be without a cave? Of course, it has a cave. The cave discovered by Spaulding gained its popularity over the years. In the summer of 1858 the Lawrence Party of gold seekers used it as shelter from the afternoon thunderstorms. In 1859 a young gold seeker from Illinois crawled up the narrow passageway into the great cave; he wrote that his whispers echoed off the cavern walls like the sounds of thunder.
The cave’s dark passageways were explored by the visitors for the next half a century; and it almost became a tradition for the visitors to carve their names on the walls of the cave. By the end of the century, the entrance of the cave became covered with bushes and the because of that the cave kind of disappeared from visitors. However, in 1935 the entrance was re-discovered. The park authorities planned to allow visitors inside the cave but due to the falling rocks they had to change their minds and the entrance was sealed forever. The only way to learn about the Spaulding’s cave is to use earlier visitors’ notes.
Garden of the Gods with its myths and legends is the inseparable part of our state’s history which is a component of the history of our nation. Just like old timers of Colorado tell us the stories about our state we will have to tell these stories to the future generations. So, we should all keep these stories and not let them die. It should be a lot easier to find stories like the ones I wrote about.