Our time in Ireland is short. Really short. Our days on the Emerald Isle are numbered—in double digits. We’ve known our departure date this summer for months, but it always felt distant, somewhere “after the preview trip in April.”
Well, now there’s nothing between us and our moving date, because we are fresh off the plane in Dublin after a whirlwind trip to our future hometown in Colorado Springs to shop for a house, prepare for our next professional pursuits, and—if we had time—explore some of the city and the breathtaking Front Range of the Rockies looming just overhead.
Huffing and puffing in the thin air of “The Springs” (elevation: 6,035 ft; 1840 m), we drove—driving a car again!—all over town looking at houses. Between home-shopping trips, we had a chance to explore the scenic downtown neighborhood and its long row of college-town bars and restaurants—and no shortage of craft beer breweries (yay!) and medical marijuana dispensaries (oh, Colorado!).
Opening up a newspaper in Colorado. Most of the ads have green crosses & specials on April 20 for some reason… pic.twitter.com/YiejJ1ru5U
— Cory Hanson (@HansonCory1) April 8, 2016
The horizon is dominated by the lower chapter of the Front Range—the easternmost members of the Rocky Mountains—particularly Pike’s Peak, one of America’s most famous mountains. At 14,115 ft (4302 m), it’s the easternmost “14er” in North America.Closer to the city is the hulk of Cheyenne Mountain. Not as massive as Pike’s Peak on the skyline, it’s known as the former home of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). From the safety of the heart of this granite fortress, top-secret government types watched the skies—possibly working with the folks in Nevada and New Mexico to hide the alien landings—from a nuclear bunker built to withstand the worst Big One ever dreamed of by the paranoid, cigarette-smoking McCarthyists with thin ties and thick glasses during the Cold War.
We didn’t make time to reach the top of any mountains—plenty of time for that later—but we did find an opportunity to take a quick walk through the Garden of the Gods. This geopark of unique red sedimentary rock formations is one of the Springs’ most popular attractions: easy to reach in the foothills on the west side of town. Climbers tackled the smooth, well-eroded faces of the largest formations of the park as we admired the rocks from the safety of the busy trails.In a blazing (not that kind of blazing) three days in Colorado, we did manage to find a house, but in all the hubbub of home showings and paperwork, we had time to do little else. Heck, we only tried two local microbrews! But, on the downhill side of “the preview trip in April,” we’re both much more excited for the big move. As sad as it will be to leave Ireland, I have a feeling that much more excitement and adventure will be coming soon.