Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mad dogs and Denver-ites (South Platte Trail-C-470- Trail-Clear Creek loop)

I was heading to the San Luis Valley fairly frequently there for a bit, and I'd always see that endless concrete sidewalk. Have to ride it - it's right there. But it's always too hot, too cold, too windy, too much work, e.

So today I rode it. It was the second road ride of the summer for me - the first was the Triple Bypass. I've come to terms with cycling - I'm not very good at it, it takes a long time, and often I find it boring. But it's still fun to get out here and there.

The ride was fine - an endless (relatively) smooth concrete sidewalk. I've ridden the Clear Creek path quite a bit, in particular when Will-J was hooked on the Golden Rec Center baby pool. I'd tow him out there in the bike trailer, we'd get coffee, he'd splash his heart out, and then he'd sleep most of the whole way home. Yes, Will-J, I'm still sorry that one time I thought it would be a good idea to ride all the way out to Commerce City and the confluence of Clear Creek and the South Plate - it's yucky and hot and too long, but you did get some ice cream out of the deal.

The route is surprisingly difficult to follow given that it is indeed an endless smooth concrete sidewalk. It's easy to get off onto the Bear Creek path, miss the turn onto the C-470 trail, miss the way through the Solterra development, etc. And due to FasTracks, there's a lot of this:



Oh, and I rode through "TAMARISK."



What's better than naming a high-end subdivision after a rapidly-spreading invasive plant that chokes out both native vegetation and all river access? No idea.

Yes that's my finger in the photo. More importantly, why are the photos insistently upside-down no matter how many times I re-save them? Also no idea. I'm apparently the only person in the world who doesn't find the i-phone intuitive.

But oh, the weather. We're right in the middle of the endless warm fall we get every year in Denver, but always surprises. Sunny and in the 70's, leaves falling, gentle breeze, etc. - and of course there were precious few folks riding the endless concrete sidewalk of fun. I've seen these same paths packed with riders on 90+ degree days. This may fit in with our general theory that Denver-ites see the outside as "closed" after Labor Day. Or maybe it has to do with the epic Tebow comeback this afternoon. Or maybe everyone's hunting. In any case, it certainly was a fine day make the loop.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ruby-Horsethief Canyons - easy in October

There comes a time in many a backpacker's life when he looks down from a hot, dusty canyon rim at those people having fun floating down the river, and says, "That looks like more fun that what I'm doing." But of course rafting takes a lot of gear, effort, skill, time, etc. Unless you take a backpacking approach to rafting. Which can be really fun.

So we loaded up the "Sea Eagle" and headed to Ruby-Horsethief Canyons

Truly, canyon country at it's prettiest. Eighty degrees in the day, forty-five degrees at night, clear skies, low dust, and smooth sailing. And bald eagles flying around. I didn't take many photos because my only camera was my phone, and my phone spent most of the trip in a dry bag. Here we are in Mee Canyon:



Home or on the river, Will-J gets up early:



Sitting in a boat on a warm day watching the canyons go by at 4-5 mph is pretty great. The water was about 5,000 cfs, which is the accustomed level for family trips. We were still surprised how fast the current was - we could have done the whole trip in a day without much trouble.

It was crowded, but not too crowded - although the put-in was a zoo, we had a campsite to ourselves. And yes, the black rocks are the highlight - an interesting narrow maze of gniess/schist. Catherine has seen a lot of the big western rivers, and hadn't seen anything quite like it. Here's a guy who understands the geology of the area (and rafted it at five times the flow [one to 1 1/2 mph faster).

Oh, yeah - at the put-in we saw a group heading out to kayak Ruby-Horsethief at night under the full moon. I hadn't heard of kayaking at night, but there's a lot I haven't heard of.

We can't carry a lot of stuff, and certainly it's a tight fit with the three of us in the boat, but there's a lot less to clean and lug. More of this type of trip, please.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trouble in the Highlands - Competing Meetings

As you know (?), I've been following the slow progress of new apartment buildings at 32nd and Lowell for some time. There were zoning investigations, news of impending destruction, field trips to see the foundation test wells, etc. And slowly but surely the apartments may someday come to pass.

But what's this? I came home from work to find an incendiary flyer on my door.



Nefarious activities afoot! Dark forces coming to the crossroads to built "HIGH RISES." High rises? No public input? More importantly - free wine and cheese! I'm there!

And so on Tuesday we went over to Highlands Church.

There were two people, one a self-described "property developer," and one self-described "used to work for the developers" explaining that they really didn't want the new "towers." They weren't taking questions - a guy in scrubs tried to ask about the square footage, and one of the two told him to be quiet.

Really, not much happened. The developer one wanted a traffic study. The wine and cheese were good.

But in the course of things, I found out that there was another meeting held at the same time, in a different place (Highlands Event Center on Julian) by the West Highland Neighborhood Association. A meeting our Councilwoman attended. But there wasn't much talk of the new buildings, and certainly no reference to dark forces. A competing meeting! I've been had! I forgot that one can't be too careful in the land of the ugly duplex.