On February 22, 2013 I touched down in Colorado Springs, leaving Japan and starting to work at the USAF Academy in Colorado. The very next day I drove around the Academy taking in the sights and starting to explore the 18,000 acre base. Here is a shot of my new ork place.
A short time later I traded in my rental car for an Acura MDX, which I got from the Pikes Peak Acura dealership that my cousin Jim works at.
After looking around colorado springs, I decided to rent a house on base. It was built in the 60's, but it's solid and close to work. And decent sized with a large basement.
I then picked up some of our critters from the Denver Airport a few days later...we waited until I had a house to ship the pets, so that they would not have ot stay in a kennel.
The weather was usually clear, and when it did snow, it only lasted for a day before melting off again. Here is a picture from BriarGate Hills looking at Pikes Peak, center. The Academy is to the right a few miles.
Here is a shot of the academy, looking from the north to the south, with the Front Range mountains, part of the Rocky Mountain chain on the right.
A week later my beautiful wife Teresa arrived from Tokyo, and the weather, although cool, was great for walking and exploring around the base.

We still had days when the snow would come down, with gusting winds. The furry children were happy to be inside and looking out. Again, the snow usually melts the next day. One day it will snow, then for a few days it will be in the 60's. Strange weather, but common for this area we are told.

Teresa also got a 4x4, a Honda CRV.
On April 8th, we decided to drive down to the famous rock outcroppings in Colorado Springs, known as "The Garden of the Gods". I'm glad we went in early April, as it gets crowded in the summer with all the tourists.
The area was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in 1909, and is popular for hiking, technical rock climbing, road and mountain biking and horseback riding. It attracts more than two million visitors a year. The hogbacks, so named because they resemble the backs and spines of a pig, are ridges of sandstone whose layers are tilted. Instead of lying horizontally, some layers are even vertically oriented. Each hogback can range up to several hundred feet long, and the tallest (called North Gateway Rock) rises to a height of 320 feet

Our pup Lilly also joined us for the walk, wearing sevral layers of clothing to keep herself warm.
The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of red, blue, purple, and white sandstones, conglomerates and limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Pikes Peak massif.
The name of the park dates back to August 1859 when two surveyors helping to set up nearby Colorado City were exploring the nearby areas. Upon discovering the site, one of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden." His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." The beer garden never materialized, but the name stuck
Because of the unusual and steep rock formations in the park, it is an attractive goal for rock climbers. Rock climbing is permitted, with annual permit obtained at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. The only requirements are reading the rules, proper equipment, climbing with a "buddy", and staying on established climbing routes. Due to the often unstable conditions of the sandstone—particularly after much precipitation—several fatalities have occurred over the years.
This is a very popular bicycle-riding area because of the scenic views, safe one-way recently paved roads, and healthy clean air.
It is a great place to take photos, and as always, our pups are very photogenic.
It wasn't too crowded, and the walking paths were great to walk on. There are several parking areas, but the roads around the Garden were a bit slow and packed.
Dry fields of grass with short trees, and a few cactus plants were the norm.
Lots of birds were making nexts in the cliff face holes.
A very beautiful place. Definately worth a visit for anyone passing thru Colorado Springs.