ADF Dedicant Path: Nature Awareness 1
I’ve been actively seeking out natural areas near me for months. I have yet to really explore what’s available far out of the metro area due to time constraints. I hear that there are some good hiking trails around Boulder, where I go to school. However, I don’t live in Boulder and driving there for any purpose outside of school isn’t convenient.
When I moved to the Denver area, I thought that it would be the best of both worlds – nature and city. Instead, I live in a suburb that isn’t conveniently located to much of anything city or nature-related. There are a few grocery stores near by, but I don’t feel much better off here than I did when I was in Wyoming as far as access to city stuff. It takes forever to drive anywhere in city traffic. It’s kind of ironic that I used to think the two hour drive from my old Wyoming house to Denver for yearly mall shopping was a long journey. Now I am here, technically in Denver, yet I spent two hours today just going to Whole Foods for groceries. One hour of my time lost just with driving there and back.
I’d say I miss Wyoming, but I really don’t. It was nice that I could easily drive out of the town and find nature without much ado, but the wind there was fierce and made being outside unpleasant most of the time. I also wasn’t terribly impressed with the scenery. It was flat and full of tumble weeds.
I was spoiled having grown up in Montana. I am terribly picky about my scenery. If it’s not Montana, it isn’t good enough. I miss it there so much! Most of my family is there. I might have ended up back there too if they hadn’t moved to Wyoming while I was away. After getting married, I insisted that my husband promise to take me back to Montana as soon as possible. I thought this would mean in a few years, after he finished school in Florida. But my family moved while I was away and being near them was more important than Montana. Then life happened, as it tends to do, and my family made it back to my beloved Montana before I could.
The promise is still pending, not forgotten. I will get back there eventually! I will have some land and a horse. And pretty mountains everywhere. ❤
In the mean time, I am trying to make the best of the Denver situation. In my old hometown, I could drive ten or fifteen minutes and be in the untamed wild. Here, I can find a few parks, open spaces, and nature preserves within a reasonable distance, but they are not the wilderness I am used to. No matter how wild a particular spot may seem, seeing houses and streets on the horizon is disappointing.
My DP homework for this week was to seek out a nature spot that I can return to easily on a regular basis. Over the summer, I discovered one of the few non-concrete trails of a substantial enough length for jogging in my area. It happens to be around a lake and nature preserve, which means no fishing, which is nice. My previous jogging trail was shorter and crowded with swarms of old fishing dudes with their fishing dude posses.
Today, I took some time to walk around the lake and observe the area more closely than jogging with headphones allows. The wildlife in the area is diverse. There are several species of birds, bull snakes, bull frogs, and coyotes. There are signs all along the trail warning about coyotes in the area, but I hadn’t seen or heard any until today. While walking access a bridge that I don’t normally cross when jogging, I heard a whole lot of racket coming from the tall grass. At first I thought it sounded much like one of my own dogs (who has a unique sort of barking and yipping), except in stereo. Then it hit me that it was probably coyotes. There must have been at least two or three in the tall grass. I didn’t make an effort to look for them since I didn’t want to draw extra attention to myself, but it was pretty exciting to hear them as I walked past.
I walked towards the lake itself and found a quaint look out area with several large boulders on which one could sit. I stayed there for a while and appreciated the light breeze while watching the ducks on the lake. On my way back to my car, I took several pictures: