Morning in the Garden of the Gods. In with the other tourists, wandering amidst sandstone. These are not hills, they are still rocks, 300 feet high, river-tossed haphazardly around the landscape. Red dominates the view, everywhere you look.
Among rocks carefully labeled with "No Climbing (except as authorized)" signs, are of course the authorized technical climbers, making their way ant-like up and over every stone big and steep enough to be interesting. A young woman is being tutored in the art of the climb, braced by the rope that her instructor has fastened to the rock face above.
We clamber up one rock, amateurs getting as high as we can before the signs tell us to stop, only to find a guide sitting placidly up there, a guru of rock-lore, stationed there to tell us about the weird erosions of the stone, and how they all got there.
As we wend our way out of the park (a single-file line of cars, conga dancing around the perimeter), I spot an improbably sheer rock, flat enough that it would be perfect for a giant's skipping-stone, stuck end-on into the ground in the distance. Atop a summit that can't be more than a yard across, and 200 feet up, is a lone man standing proudly.