Monday, January 23, 2012

North Platte and Sand Creek

It was almost 60 last saturday.  Those temps mean one thing this time of year- a break from the winder doldrums, and a ride!

Most folks in Denver go South on the Platte River Trail. Towards suburbia, and maybe a jaunt up the mountains to Morrison and Red Rocks.

My girl and I swim upstream. We go north, in to industry and decay.
Past the slumbering park, waiting for summertime screaming and squealing of delight to resume. Getting to ride a part of the trail not open to bikes. This is usually only for pedestrians, but the new light rail bridge construction has the other side of the trail closed. It's nice to see something new on a ride.

Past the unused bridge where doomed cattle went to slaughter, across the river from the stockyards. The smell on the breeze reminded us it was Stock Show season, and made us grateful it wasn't warmer. We went to see the show the next night, watching the clydesdales pull an eight ton sled. Tractor pulls sans tractors.

We always stop at this park. It was once a water treatment plant for the city. It was abandoned and known as "Pirate City" for a while, rife with gangs and scrappers. Now it's full of remaining concrete pipes and shapes, with sayings written by school children wanting us to be nice to each other and not tell secrets, because that's mean.

Most folks want something more bucolic than this. But there's a certain attraction to the back sides of a city, where work gets done and the supports that allow the day to day living to carry on can be seen. And through it, a zipping lane of cyclists. On every face this day was a smile.

Smiles my girl and I shared in, as the trail wound down in to nice solid chat.

We'd stolen a day from winter. No snow, no slush, no frostbite. Just endless sky with puffy clouds, and sleeping grass, waiting for spring rains to return to outrageous shades of green. A day to remind us why we missed our rides, and loved our bikes.

I used the last of my outdated Ferrania film from Italy in my XA on this jaunt. This little walleyed camera is growing on me.


  1. I really enjoyed this story, and the way it was told. Thanks.

  2. I also enjoyed this. I think showing your kids the backs of the city, where work gets done, helps them to get a broader view of urban life. And I just wanted to mention, your usage of the XA keeps inspiring me to see if my little XA2 still works.

  3. I was puzzled by your comment at first. Then i realized I wasn't clear. When I say "My girl" I mean it more like the Temptations song. I've never fathered anything other than a great many harebrained ideas. None the less, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    I got my XA second had off of eBay, and I must say, it's an impressive little camera. Very capable, excellent optics, smaller and lighter than I imagined it would be. Just the ticket for slipping in to a pocket and taking with on a walkabout or ride. And as many photographers have said, the best kind of camera to have is the one you keep with you. As far as down sides, it does seem a little hard to focus by design (which they fixed on the XA2)and the flash was dead when I got it. Since I don't ever use a flash, that wasn't a problem.

    If I can make a suggestion, slap a roll of the new Kodak Portra 400 in that camera. It's got dead accurate color reproduction and such a wide latitude you won't be able to over or underexpose anything. You can just concentrate on taking pictures and having fun.