Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hiking Thursdays - Bluffs Regional Park

As every parent whose kid spends time watching Cartoon Network knows, Thursday is always HarHar Tharsday. Yes - Cartoon Network has renamed Thursday to Tharsday. This has been a consistent theme for a long time. Thinking of this gave me an idea. I need to have some "theme days" for my blog. So, Thursday is now the first theme day of my blog.
So, what do you think my theme for Thursday should be about? It didn't take me much thought to come to a conclusion. Thursday is going to be about hiking and outdoor stuff. So I will provide an update as to what Zack and I have gotten up to in the great outdoors. If we haven't had the chance to do a hike, ski or something else, then I will write about a place we are going to go. I'll also always try and accompany my Thursday posts with some cool pictures of where we have been or where we want to go.
We haven't been out doing much hiking in recent weeks - because of a crazy busy schedule and the snowy weather. I figured I would write about a place very near to our house. It is called Bluffs Regional Park.
This "park" is an open space area that is part of the Douglas County Open Space system. It isn't particularly large as it is only 253 acres. Despite the small size there are still 3.9 miles of trails throughout the park. This open space was established in the late 1990's as a means to protect the dramatic bluffs that make up the northern most part of the Palmer Divide. The City of Lone Tree is continuing to grow right up to the base of the bluffs. Protecting this area has provided deer, elk and other animals critical habitat to survive the continuing onslaught of development in Northern Douglas County.
(This is the typical rolling hill praire land that makes up Bluffs Regional Park.)
We have hiked the 3.2 mile loop through this open space more times than I can count. Yet each time we hike this area, it seems to change based upon the way they sun shines upon the terrain. The terrain that makes up this open space is very hilly with deep gulches running across the area. There are almost no trees located on this open space as it is pretty much wind swept praire. Regardless of it's foreboding quality, it is home to large numbers of mule deer and elk. Though I have never seen any I am quite sure that mountains lion probably also frequent this area at times.
(Views to the north from the lookout points within the park highlight downtown Denver.)
One of the most spectacular aspects of this open space besides it's nature beauty are the views that are afforded of Denver and much of the southern metro area. The bluffs is the highest land mass to the south of Denver for some ways. Looking north from the tops of the hills within the park, you get fantastic views of the Denver Tech Center and Downtown Denver. The views are very well worth the effort required to hike to the top of two lookout points. You can get fabulous pictures of downtown Denver and the entire surrounding area. (I am planning on doing a photographic study at some point by taking pictures from one of the lookouts at many different times of day.)
(Some of the mule deer that make Bluffs Regional Park their home.)
During the summer this area is home to many rattlesnakes. As a result I tend to shy away from it during the summer months as I really don't get along with the rattlesnakes too well. Given it's closeness we will definitely hike the Bluff many times this fall and winter!
Our day was pretty much a normal kind of Thursday for us. Nancy is continuing to recover from her hospital stay of the prior week. Her biggest challenge right now is getting up and about and getting stronger. Today was the best she has done in terms of spending time out of bed. Hopefully she will continue to work hard and get her strength back.
Thanks and peace to all! ~ J.

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