“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”
Palmer Park, a 737-acre park smack dab in the middle of Colorado Springs, can hardly be considered “the pathless woods.” In spite of its location and popularity, it is a place where I can reliably find peace and quiet, a place where I can stretch my legs and clear my mind, a place where my son and I can roam and discover at whatever pace we choose.
I’ve explored a decent amount of Palmer Park in the months I’ve lived in Colorado Springs, but no part of the park compares to Templeton Trail for me.
The first time I attempted to hike Templeton, it was fairly late in the afternoon and Luke was in no mood to cover a reasonable distance. We scrapped that hike and returned back to our parking via another trail after only a mile, but I vowed in my heart I’d come back, and soon.
It was the day my parents were due to arrive for their visit that my opportunity came. Shortly after breakfast, I asked my sister, who was also visiting at the time, if she felt like attempting the four mile loop around the mesa. “Let’s go for it!” she enthusiastically agreed. We quickly packed some snacks and a few extra layers and set off for the park.
We scrambled over rocky terrain and peered over the edges of the mesa, then turned a corner and wandered beneath towering Ponderosa pines and in between scrub oaks. We marveled at the interesting rock formations along the trail and gasped at the bright fall colors spreading infinitely below us. My heart pumped in my chest and my lungs filled with crisp, cool air. My legs burned under the weight of my rider as we followed our path up and down, and up and down, and up and down. Every time we’d stop to catch our breaths, the babe in my belly kicked and punched around with enthusiastic approval.
Templeton was everything I hoped it would be.
The miles ticked by, one after another, until we reached our final hill. After a little bit of complaining, Luke dozed off, just in time for us to reach the trailhead. In his hands he clutched a pinecone we’d picked up on our way and a half-eaten Lärabar. I carefully scooted my sleeping boy into his carseat and home we went.
I’ve returned to hike in Palmer Park many times since I hiked Templeton Trail, but to this day my visit on that cloudy fall morning has remained my very favorite.