Tag Archive | Keep Colorado Wild pass

A Pretty Healthy Day

I’m grateful to have spent a pretty healthy day. I exercised in the morning with some PT and stretches, and then made a salad including romaine, broccoli, pecans and homemade croutons using up an older sourdough heel — instead of turning into French toast! That felt like a healthy choice.

After working awhile at the computer, I chose to take Wren for a walk down to the reservoir instead of taking a nap — a healthy choice for both of us! I am embarrassed to admit that I have never walked the Indian Fire loop on the west side of the reservoir. I don’t even know how long that nature trail has been there. But with my new pass, I’m exploring my own backyard State Park for the first time since I worked there for a few seasons many years ago.

The trail is about half a mile, looping low then high along the steep slope, which was just a hillside above the confluence of a few streams a hundred an fifty years ago when it was inhabited by Native Americans. I’m grateful that the synopsis the park offers of the events preceding the reservoir’s construction is told with some sensitivity in the trail guide.

I am grateful for the perspective that this reminder gave me. I’d heard about the fire as the Utes were driven away from the area, but I’d forgotten. This history sheds new light on some of the burn-scarred ancient junipers in ‘my’ own piece of the mesa: I’d always assumed they were lightning strikes, but it seemed like a lot. Now I’ve revised my interpretation of these old trees, half-burned yet still living like those noted along the park trail.

Little Wren enjoyed trotting along through fallen cottonwood leaves, while I enjoyed the views. I’m grateful all over again today for the reassuring volume of water in the reservoir going into winter.

The upper half of the trail includes a panoramic overlook and some stone benches, where we caught our breath for a few minutes before heading for home. And that was the end of the healthy part of our day.

For my evening snack, I sliced thin the remaining heels of sourdough and baked them to make melba-like toasts, to go with the double decadence of Brie-butter spread. Why make Brie any more buttery than it already is? Well, why not? So simple, so delicious: shave the skin off some Brie (while it’s cold), and let it come to room temperature along with an equal amount of butter, then just whip them together until blended. Beyond indulgent.

Crawford State Park

I’ve camped in a lot of state parks across the country over the years, and found them to be reliably clean, safe, and interesting; sometimes surprising and gorgeous. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to see so many natural gems in so many states. And I’m grateful that one of Colorado’s state parks is just a ten minute drive from my house.

I’m grateful to have known the man whose vision led to the first trail in this park, John Barcus. He worked hard as a volunteer to get the first leg of the trail built. The most recent leg is still under construction, but in the past few years the trail has been extended from the main parking lot on the peninsula, through both campgrounds, and all the way around the south end to join the west shore day use area.

Wren and I got our Colorado State Parks pass yesterday and took our first walk on the trail, from the Peninsula to Clear Fork Campground and back, close to a mile altogether. We’d been meaning to do it all year! But finally the time was right. I’m grateful to the state for offering an amazing deal on a parks pass: When you renew your car registration online, you get the option to purchase a Keep Colorado Wild pass for $29 instead of the regular parks pass for $80.

We were greeted at the entrance window by a cheerful neighbor who first gave Wren some cookies, then put the registration in a little red envelope to set in the window for access to any state park, no decal necessary. What a deal! Then we set off down the trail. It was a perfect, mild fall day. I had to stop every ten feet the whole way so Wren could sniff and pee.

I was grateful for the level, easy trail; for the views of the lake, the dam, the mountains, and a gaggle of Canada geese; and I was grateful for the little bench under the tiny juniper. I was grateful to see so much water left in the reservoir at the end of the irrigation season. In recent years it’s been nearly dry by this time of year.

It felt so good to walk an easy trail out in the sun that we went back today, and walked another bit from Iron Creek campground around the south end until we hit thick, untamped gravel that I didn’t want to wobble through. I was ready to turn back anyway.

At the very south end of the trail we crossed a bridge strong enough to contain a herd of bison, which seemed like a bit of overkill, but I’m sure they had their reasons.. The railing was as tall as my forehead and I had to rest my phone on top to get a picture.

The views from the west side are even more beautiful than those on the east side, with the West Elk Mountains beyond burnished grasses, rushes, thickets, and spent milkweed pods. I’m grateful for easy, affordable access to the new trail around Crawford State Park.