Yesterday my friend Autumn and I went for a little hike to the top of Castle Rock. The town of Castle Rock, about twenty miles south of Denver, is named for this big butte, which looks a little like a castle if you squint your eyes. The hike was easy -- it took only about fifteen minutes to get from the parking lot to the base of the butte. Climbing up to the top of the actual butte is roughly Mountain Goat Skill Level 2, not terribly difficult, but as I was laden down with a camera, water bottle, car keys, and phone, I decided it would be wiser to try it next time, when I'll be smart enough to bring a backpack for all my stuff!
The town of Castle Rock is about a 35 minute drive from Colorado Springs, traffic permitting. Usually when you see a picture of Pikes Peak, you're getting a view of its east face. Here it is from up above Castle Rock. This view from the north shows how enormous Pikes Peak really is!
One last shot of the rock, from the other side. As you can see, the U.S. flag is at half mast, honoring the victims of the Orlando shooting. The big star is lit up every year around Christmastime.