Photography by Terry Zinn
Austin Adventures is a tour company offering a plethora of travel destinations and options. New to the 2016 line up is a trifecta of upscale accommodations and natural wonders with a partnership with Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the Broadmoor collection in Colorado Springs. Adventure means many things to many people. This Colorado Five Star Wilderness Adventure offers soft to rugged outdoor activities, including horseback riding, zip lining, rope courses, and mild to extreme mountain hiking.
Home base is the Colorado Springs iconic Broadmoor hotel where you will check in and register with your experienced Austin Adventure guides for a night at the nine thousand foot Cloud Camp, two nights at the Emerald Valley Ranch and nights at the elegant and historic Broadmoor hotel. Austin Adventures welcomes adult and family groups for a prefixed itinerary, as well as the challenge of custom tours if requested.
My group numbered six diverse and congenial travelers who spanned a wide range of ages, interests and varying degrees of fitness. When living and exercising at these high elevations it should be noted that the effects of high altitude can sneak up on you. Preparations of drinking plenty of water, maybe an aspirin or two, is advised but may not quench that feeling of slight exhaustion. Seniors may be affected more than younger participants, and your Austin Adventure guides will take this into consideration for the enjoyment of all guests. This did not keep me from enjoying the log cabin elegance and gourmet food offered at every turn of my tour.
The adventure starts out with a quick exposure to the Garden of the Gods geological formation at the new visitor center, along with a mild hike through the rugged red stone formations. Then it is off to Cave of the Winds, where again your adjustment to altitude may be tested with trekking up and down through the sometimes narrow and claustrophobic tunnels. Then it’s off to your mountain cabin hideaway which is literally a “high” light of your Colorado adventure.
Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp is perched at an elevation of 9,000 feet of timbered adventure. As you are driven up on the Broadmoor shuttle, the many switchbacks let you know you are going somewhere special as you pass through a zoo and many private gates. Atop the mountain I looked down upon many sections of Colorado Springs and at night it was like I was suspended over a scattering of shimmering diamonds. The upscale cabins most with a two bed room configuration, warmly welcomes you after a gourmet meal in the expansive and outdoor interior designed lodge which is in the shadow of a distant Pikes Peak.
With a lengthy hike up and down the mountain you arrive at Emerald Valley Ranch, or you may be shuttled in comfort, averting altitude stress. Emerald Valley Ranch, is a compound of super upscale log cabins around a tranquil lake and offers activities such as; horseback riding, zip lining, archery, fly fishing or just relaxing in an outdoor hot tub. Once again the congenial and ever present western attired staff is there to fill your requests, and serve another gourmet meal, sometimes providing exotic buffalo ribs, rocky mountain red trout accompanied by delicious comfort baked beans and sweet potato au gratin with pecans. After a long day of enjoyment the night and a roaring fire in your cabin will hypnotize you into dreamland. If your phone is off the hook service personal will gently knock on your cabin door to invite you to a hearty breakfast.
Austin Adventures likes to say the hardest thing about this trip is leaving. But when you are leaving the tranquilly of the private Emerald Valley Ranch you have the expansive and elegant European styled Broadmoor Hotel to embrace your reluctance. The Broadmoor is indeed the epitome of luxury accommodations. A meal and beverage at the many onsite venues is a sure winner as is their elegant Primrose Room, complete at times with live dance music and crystal chandeliers. The Primrose Room is Colorado’s only five star and five diamond award winner. For breakfast a casual awakening can be taken in at the Lake Terrace, where eggs benedict is a staple.
This new Colorado Adventure tour for 2016 is only one of the many destinations offered by Austin Adventures which may peak your adventure wanderlust. Explore Austin Adventures where, “Your toughest part is going home.” http://www.austinadventures.com/