Colorado is still experiencing a very wet spring and that worked in our favor to keep the crowds down during our stay at Cherry Creek. This park gets very busy on nice days but with rain in the forecast every single day we generally had the trails to ourselves.
On our only sunny morning of the week we took a gorgeous 7 mile loop walk around the South end of the park.
|The Rockies as seen on a rare clear morning from the Wetlands Trail..
That's the Dam Road slicing across the photo, drive it if you get the chance, the views are incredible!
|Deer are abundant throughout the park.
|At the South end of the park we left the paved trail for a walk through prairie.
We didn't see the sun very often during our stay, the vivid colors of the sky,
the prairie and the mountains took our breath away.
|Cherry Creek has the largest dog park we've ever encountered.
It's 107 fenced acres of off-leash fun with multiple access points to Cherry Creek.
|Trail along the edge of the giant dog park.
Lots of happy dogs spread out across this acreage!
|All types of water sports are allowed on Cherry Creek Reservoir, but the cold,
damp weather kept folks off the water during most of our stay.
|The reservoir is very high due to the excessive rain lately, making some picnic areas off limits except to the water fowl.
|Bullock's Orioles were bright flashes of color everywhere.
|Who needs a fishing beach...fish right from the stairs!
Denver has a bustling downtown, lots of great looking places to eat and drink, it reminded us a lot of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter...but my photos did not turn out all that great. Instead I'll share with you a great spot for happy hour: Adrift Tiki Bar.
|Adrift, the only tiki bar in Denver.
|We enjoyed a couple of tasty rum drinks for happy hour.
Replacing our toilet was a good rainy day task. Of course, being a plumbing project, a trip to the local hardware store was included.
|It's like working in a closet...
|This Dometic 310 replaced our old Thetford toilet.
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge sits on the North edge of Denver and is a 15,000 acre story of transformation. Native Americans hunted bison on this land hundreds of years ago. Western settlers began farming and grazing cattle here in the 1800's.
World War II brought immense change when the Government bought out 200 farmers and turned the land into a weapons development site and later a weapons storage site. Nasty weapons, such as sarin and mustard gas. Agricultural chemicals were also developed here by Shell.
Over time all these chemicals needed to be destroyed and were stored based on the accepted practices of the time. Eventually extensive environmental cleanup was necessary to mitigate the effects of inadequate destruction/storage of these hazardous materials. In the 1980's the US government and Shell teamed up to properly handle these materials (based on current knowledge) and the discovery of a bald eagle roost led to the creation of the Wildlife Refuge on the property.
The Refuge has a nine mile driving route plus a few miles of trails through wetlands and short grass prairie. The excellent visitor center provides historic detail on the property.
|Bison have been reintroduced on the Refuge.
How about the juxtaposition of bison and big city?
|Wetlands dot the Refuge.
There are swallows, by the hundreds, flying over the water.
|Prairie dogs cavort on the short grass prairie.
We've been doing a lot of city stuff due to all the rain including doctor appointments, REI sale and various other shopping. Thanks to the doctor in Littleton we learned about the Littleton Museum, a combination of indoor historical exhibits and two living history farms, one from 1860 and another from 1890. This museum would be especially interesting for families but we enjoyed the sites and animals too.
|1860 cabin and outhouse.
|The back view is just as pretty...
|...as the front view!
|Goslings in Ketring park.
|Wood duck with young.
We had back in site #29 in the Coyote Loop with lots of space between us and our neighbors and a view into a grassy meadow where we saw deer every day. We had decent Verizon signal during our stay but the campground wifi was pretty slow.
|Site 29 was extremely deep, though the unpaved access got kind of muddy since we had so much rain.
Many other camp sites had full paving from the street.
|View of our site from the neighbors site...good spacing!
|Deer came through our site daily and hung out in the meadow beyond the trees.
Next up: Chatfield State Park, also in Denver.