So, yesterday was a travel day, first to fly to Denver and then to drive down to Colorado Springs, site of this weekend's MYTHCON (at the Hotel Elegante). The evening yesterday was devoted to unpacking and settling in. Wanting to be well-rested for the con, we made an early night of it, which turned out to be a good choice.
Today we went out and about, visiting what sounded like the thing we'd most regret missing if we didn't go by & see it while in the area: THE GARDEN OF THE GODS.
These are spectacular pillars and columns of brick-red sandstone, deeply eroded. I was expecting something somewhat like the Hoo-doos of Yellowstone,* something like the eroded ridges of Frenchman's Coulee,** but despite a few similarities here and there this was really different. If you like this kind of thing at all, you really should make the trip out; it's spectacular, it's easy to get to and easy to walk around in once there. I was particularly struck by the wildlife: at one point there was a deer feeding perhaps twenty feel away from us, sheltered by a row of wild sunflowers. I saw a magpie (or at least some sort of unfamiliar jay) on the way there and several more unfamiliar birds while there, but was most taken with the swifts, who nest atop the rocks and were disturbed by climbers getting too near their nests.
Given the recent cave-in of the ice-caves at Big Four Mt, which we visited last year, JC and I took the warnings about hazardous areas with high potential for falling boulders more seriously than did many of our fellow visitors: there were lots of kids among those posing beneath a crumbling cliff with some rocks half-fallen and at this point only being held up by other rocks. Luckily, today Fate refused to be tempted.
And of course we saw the dinosaur -- a single skull, discovered more than a century before, which is the only piece of this particular kind of dinosaur that has ever come to light; a good reminder of how happenstance our evidence of the long-ago can be.
In the end, I thought that rather than 'The Garden of the Gods', a better name for the place would be PEGANA. One can easily imagine those tall, eroded, sometimes tumbly red rocks in the background for one of Sime's pictures for Dunsany's first two books (e.g., 'The King That Was Not'). But that's probably just me. A classicist wd almost certainly see the heads of Titans and their hands reaching up out of the soil; anyone acquainted w. the Mythos wd recall the carven crags in the Dreamlands; a Tolkienist wd recall the Argonath; and any Eddist wd immediately recognize this as Troll country.
There are plenty of interesting things to see and do in this area, from the modern-day reconstruction of cliff-dwellings and a chance to feed giraffes at the local zoo to the Arkansas River riverwalk down in Pueblo, But I think Janice was right to give this one the nod as 'if you only have time to do one touristy thing in this area, this is the one'.
And now, off to do some final small preparations for the con.
current reading: POETRY AT PRESENT by Charles Williams 
THE MOON POOL by A. Merritt 
*which were really memorable, despite being perched on the edge of any acrophobist's nightmare. worth the terror.
**for an inadequate description thereof, see http://sacnoths.blogspot.com/2014/08/we-take-stay-cation-on-road-wind-farms.html
Plague Books: Operative
19 hours ago