Friday, May 26, 2017
Friday, March 24, 2017
|Barr Lake Entrance Station|
Our visit today brought us to the Visitor/Nature Center first, to watch the birds fluttering just outside the window and to see the nature displays inside. From there, we walked outside across the canal on the bridge and turned left onto the gravel path/road which encircles the lake.
|Another flock of Canadian Geese|
|The Welcome/Nature Center near the parking and picnic areas|
Tourism came next to the area with the construction of the railroad and Barr Lake Rod and Gun Club. In 1886 a group of wealthy Denverites established the Oasis Hunting Club, available by rail to the recently established Barr Depot at Barr City (first called Platte Summit). Water was diverted in 1891 from the South Platte River to create the Oasis Reservoir. Then in 1908, in an effort to meet an increase in water demand for the plains farmers, both Oasis Reservoir and the neighboring Burlington Reservoir were combined to create Barr Lake. During WWI the US Army stationed soldiers at the lake to prevent enemy saboteurs from poisoning the water. Following the Barr City railroad depot closure in 1931, the town ceased to exist.
|Note the water lines on the tree trunks|
|One of the many old Cottonwood Tree remains by the trail|
|And the elves live here...|
The wind was cool and the sun was setting, so we hiked back to our car from here, checking out the picnic area by the Visitor Center with the wind-walls built onto the picnic tables like we had seen at Badlands National Park. A couple of bicyclists passed us along the path, making good time even in the wind.
|My kind of western picnic table with a wall to keep your plate from blowing onto your chest...|
|Sign at the Gazebo Boardwalk|
|View from the Gazebo Boardwalk|
|View from the Gazebo Pavilion|
|And the view of Barr Lake looking north from the Gazebo Pavilion|
|The long boardwalk to the Gazebo across the lake|
|Barr Lake Map|
Fishing is also very good here, just bring your rods and Colorado fishing license. Waterfowl hunting is also allowed during season, contact the park office for more information at 1-800-846-WILD. Archery, ice fishing and snow shoeing are also popular depending on the season.
Boating is allowed here on the northern half of the lake. Bring your sailboat, kayak, canoe, or electric/trolling/10 hp or less gasoline powered boat. A line of buoys separates the wildlife refuge and hunting area. Swimming, wading and diving are prohibited. Horseback riding is allowed.
|A beaver or otter swimming in the canal|
|The sweet songbird who stayed still but not quiet|
|Log and lake view|
|2 Ducks in setting sun|
|The tree near the center has a dark blob near the top that is the eagles nest,|
Front Range mountains behind in clouds
Picnics are encouraged, with 3 different picnic areas with tables and grills plus the Meadowlark Picnic Pavilion for groups. You can get more information at 303-659-6005.
|One of many groups of birds attracted to the lake's waters|
|The setting sun and Barr Lake|
|The gravel path/road and the canal beside local farms and homes|
|By the Niedrach Trail and shoreline|
Part of the park that is appealing to me is the available nature to study and the Nature Center. Bird watching was discussed by many visitors and rangers. Some rangers are naturalists and can explain the park's wildlife. The park is also the headquarters for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and they offer public programs and banding stations in the park. Their phone is 303-659-4348 and on the web at www.rmbo.org. The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies is HERE.
|I see a tree looking back at me...|
|The Denver-Hudson Canal beside the gravel path/road looking south|
|More geese above Barr Lake|
|Last view back|
Visiting any State Park in Colorado is pleasant on a spring day, even during windy ones like today. To get to Barr Lake from I-25, take I-76 North East from Denver. Follow the signs and exit at Brighton onto Bromley Lane/152nd Avenue and go east to Picadilly Lane where you then go south to the park entrance sign on the right. A daily pass, or Colorado State Park Annual Pass is required. Sorry, no camping is available here.
Friday, March 10, 2017
|First 2017 ride on my 2003 bicycle, still going...somewhat|
By the way, this area is one of the widest-open spaces in Colorado, where you can see for miles in most directions and get a real feeling for what "Open Space" really is.
|Snow covered Pikes Peak, Spruce Mountain to the right|
|Colorado often uses culverts like this for trails|
17 years of riding this bicycle and some parts are now worn out. I keep nursing the bike along until I can replace it. The derailleurs, shifters and rear cogs may be next. I bought it in Castle Rock in the early spring of 2004 (a 2003 model) and mostly rode it off-road and on bike trails locally, then mostly paved trails since 2010 when I upgraded the tires, hand grips, chain and added the rear rack. I like the way the bike fits me, and the way it is geared. I hope I can make it last a for few more years of easy bicycling.
|Spruce Mountain ramparts...|
|Continuing to the right...|
|From the top of Eagle Pass, looking north toward the town of Larkspur|
|Looking back south to Eagle Pass|
|Trail Sign at Noe Road|
If you want to hike or bicycle a mountain instead, continue west to Spruce Mountain Road, turn left (south) and follow less than a mile to the first right, and turn into the Spruce Mountain Trail parking area.
|Trail north of Noe Road, lots more grass, Rattlesnake Butte on right|
Friday, March 3, 2017
I was down to only one V-neck fleece sweater, and wearing it every day in Colorado's winter begins to look old real quick and laundry becomes a scheduling problem.
So I bought a new LL Bean Trail Model Fleece snap pullover. Instead of black or gray, I bought blue for some color in my life! It arrived yesterday (2 days early) and trying it on last night it fit well and kept me warm. It is quite comfortable and with the collar snapped, keeps my neck very warm (missing from my V-neck). The 4 snaps are made of nylon and are set in a black placket. It also has zipped hand-warmer pockets which can hold items, keep my hands warm and ventilate the sweater when it gets warm outside with mesh behind the tunnel pocket. It is a medium size for me and the fit is good, falling just below my thighs and loose across the shoulders. It is made from Polartek 200, my favorite warm clothing material for hiking and playing outdoors. The LL Bean Trail Model Fleece Sweater cost about $50 online with free shipping.
When I backpack, I carry a Polartek 200 jacket, sweater and now hat in all Colorado weather, and have used LL Bean products to keep warm for decades. The LL Bean Polarplus Polartek 200 jacket (a liner from a Gore-Tex field jacket) from the mid-1990's accompanied me on all 3 Colorado backpack trips in 2016, plus a 4th trip where I car camped at a pass on the West Spanish Peak. It is starting to get ratty at the cuffs after wearing outdoors and camping in for over 22 years.
Yes, I like REI and EMS products too, and mix them while outdoors, but many outdoor companies have gotten away from Polartek 200 to go with thinner fabrics and less actual fleece. I still like the feel of the plush fleece texture against my body. I also like that if it gets wet, I just take it off, wring it out, shake it and put it back on where my body usually dries it quickly. I have been wearing fleece (Madden Mills or Polartek 100/200/300) since I bought that first PET Recycled jacket in 1984 from Campmor.
I purchased this sweater with my own funds and do not write about it for anyone except myself.
Friday, February 17, 2017
We stopped in Nashville on our return trip to check out the popular American Pickers Store. We occasionally watch the American Pickers program and enjoy the actors and the things they find. Mostly we see re-runs on our computer now.
Well, finding the store was not as easy, but after following web site directions, find it we did.
The large and old Marathon Automobile factory is quickly filling up with cool new small businesses, places to get a crafted brew, and lots of art. The American Pickers store fits in well here, with its collection of old musical instruments, vintage motorcycle engines and other antique and dusty items from the world of automobilia.
I liked the first corner on your right as you enter the store, where musicians can sit and jam by the window, under an antique radio sign and guitars on the wall.
Finding an old Fender Deluxe amp was interesting (note the cigarette burns), as was very old broadcast microphones, the old VW motorcycle (yes, a Volks Wagon motorcycle), an Indian Motorcycles store sign, a Hohner Harmonicas spinning sales device, old cameras, antique movie posters, the rusty, the crusty, and otherwise forgotten old stuff.
The store also sells the book, tee shirts and hats promoting the American Pickers program and some small collectible items. At the checkout they were discussing someone buying a true, hand-picked item seen on one of the shows.
I noticed a couple items from the show presented inside the store as well as some hand-crafted chain lamps where the chain links were welded to stand to make them hold an Edison lamp.
Outside in the parking lot I spied one of the American Pickers trucks used for hauling pickings with the logo on the side just as we were leaving.
Nice visit, wished I could have picked!