A few weekends ago, M and I explored the dazzling Paint Mines Interpretive Park. It was the weekend that got as close to 100 degrees as Colorado Springs has come in a while. It was also hazy due to the fires in Glenwood Springs, but we were determined to visit somewhere we had not yet been. We enjoyed the park so much that we went two days in a row. Here’s what we learned in those two days:
- It’s free! No fee to enter or park.
- There is no shade anywhere. Bring sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, and even umbrellas. We brought an umbrella on the second day which made the experience so much more pleasurable. Also, if you have asthma, I recommend bringing your rescue inhaler. I couldn’t find mine the first day we went, so I brought my regular inhaler. It was rough. I brought it the second day and only had to use it a few times, whereas the day earlier, I puffed like 15 pumps of steroids into my lungs, which made our time there much more limited.
- There are three park entrances that we found. I would recommend going to the second entrance on Paint Mines Road. That’s the quickest way to get to the beautiful structures, however, keep in mind that the hill to get up and to get down is fairly steep. There were also less people at this entrance.
- The hues layered in the rock formations are more vibrant after the rain, much like Garden of the Gods’ sandstone rock. If you can catch it just after it’s rained, the rocks are stunning.
- Wear yo’ damn masks. The first day we went, we forgot our masks in the car. If you forget anything in the car, it’s quite a trek to go get it and come back down. So we put our shirts over our noses and mouths when near others. Everyone had masks that day which was so refreshing, though we felt guilty for not having ours. The second day we went, we were the ONLY people wearing masks. People did not follow social distancing, and in fact, one mask-less man continued to follow closely behind me at one point. I may or may not have handled that situation in a way that aligns with my sense of self 🙂
- Do not leave trash or hearts with your first initial and your true love’s first initial. And please do not fuck with the rocks. This is a historic site that has been used for thousands of years. The rocks recently had to be sanded down to remove graffiti. And we saw several rock formations that people created by stacking rocks on rocks. This got M. Please leave whatever is there in its natural habitat. Don’t be an asshole.