We arrived in the area on a Sat morning and went straight to Garden of the Gods. Wow! What a nice place. Did a lot of hiking and made plans to come back the next day to allow for some rock climbing. Near the end of the afternoon we noticed trucks and parts of the park closing, and smoke on the horizon. The beginning of the Waldo Canyon fire. We checked in at the Americas Best Motel in Manitou Springs. Nice place, and we talked to the owner and discussed how it appeared the fire was moving away. Walked downtown and had a very good meal at The Keg. Decided to drive out to Helen Hunt Falls and saw a bear, real treat for the kids. Planned the Pikes Peak Cog Railway for the next day.
Well, around 1:30 am we were woke by a police officer banging on doors and windows for a mandatory evacuation. We ended up at the Cheyenne Mountain High School, Red Cross shelter.
* We really appreciate the help and hospitality of the local Red Cross and the breakfast provided by the Salvation Army. They were a little overwhelmed when we arrived that morning but quickly recovered.
We scrambled to recover and adjust our plans and made a trip down to Canon City for a 1/2 day of rafting. Came back and stayed in Colorado Springs, hotel was full of fire refugees. I had the AF Academy tour pretty far down my list but it was a nice bonus since all of the primary spots were closed. It turned out much better than expected. We went on North toward Estes Park but had to divert around Hwy 24.
I can't complain, the family was very flexible and it's another one of those interesting family vacation stories. I feel for the locals, and businesses. I know the hotel was full and lost at least three days of income. And the firefighters, 103 degree heat that day and 8% humidity. Hope everyone makes out ok and the area bounces back quickly.