Friday, August 12, 2011

Saturday - Castle Rock

This is the first part of my day Saturday. In the morning on my way to the Sangre de Cristos for some fun, I was driving down I-25, saw Castle Rock and thought: "Hmm, I've never been to the top of that", and took the next exit. So, I'd already broken my plan to get down to the Sangres without stopping within the first hour.

I parked downtown across from the Castle Pines Motel. It turns out Fruita isn't the only place with scary dinosaurs.


I didn't know exactly where the trailhead was, but I wanted to park in the shade and the hillside looked pretty open. So, I just wandered uphill through streets until I found a TH by extrapolating from where I saw people hiking. There were tons of these red-orange flowers on the hillside:

Western Scarlet Gilia

This is Castle Rock from near the park's lot:


This would be a good hike in the AM or late afternoon, but at midday it was sort of toasty. I just jogged easily and brought water. There were trails leading down into the surrounding residential areas, which would be great if you lived there.


Downtown Castle Rock from the top:


The view south towards Pikes Peak:


Below is the way I got to the top, since the stairway that used to lead to the top is missing. This was definitely class 3, but if you're athletic it's not a problem, and exposure is minimal.


About the time I hit Monument I was getting hungry, so I did a bit of exploring and ended up at La Casa Fiesta. The food was billed as New Mexican but IMO was sort of a hybrid between New Mexican and standard Mexican (closer to the latter). The sides were basic Spanish rice and refried beans, and I got red and green sauces and neither was like what I had in Santa Fe, but it was still good overall, and they had Beehive wheat from Bristol on tap. Normally I don't think about service unless it's really bad or really good, but my server that day was exceptional and got a big tip. Actually everyone there seemed on the ball. It's a pleasant, attractive place and they have an assortment of seating options from patio, to indoor patio (where I sat), to bar and dining.

Afterwards I headed south. I checked out a brewery in Pueblo but that downtown is just deserted on weekends. Sorry folks, but I want somewhere I'd enjoy wandering for a while afterwards before I get behind the wheel. I got back on the highway and headed out of town.

I'll do another post on the rest of the day.


2 comments:

  1. Good distraction, I've wondered about climbing that thing as well!
    Good tip on the food, I love New Mexican, especially, as well. Only place in Castle Rock we've been to was the Rockyard(?) brewpub, which was decent but had a chain feel.

    If the brewpub in Pueblo was Shamrock (or was it something else?), that's a very solid place. It sticks out in my mind for having a great Irish Red, good food (not all Irish, which is good), but also their empty growlers were cheap -- $3 I think -- enough that it sticks out from the crowd, and the growler serves as my extra coin change container.

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  2. Mike - Rockslide, Rockyard, Falling Rock, Rock Bottom, I get them all mixed up.

    I've been to Rockyard in CR as well. I think it was only for a brew, and it was good. But CO is a tough market for brewpubs!

    I should stop at Shamrock then, I don't want to miss out :) I'll just chill indoors with a soda or water for a while...

    Little Anita's in the Denver area is pretty good. Simple NM-style food, nothing fancy, but solid sauces.

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