Tommy and I took a hike along the Chatfield Dam Trail at Chatfield State Park. Here is some trail info from the Chatfield State Park website:
Permitted uses: Foot and bike
Miles paved: 2.4
Miles non-paved: .3
Total distance: 2.7
Degree of difficulty: Easy
ADA accessible: Yes – Asphalt
Comments: Access trailhead at Dam Overlook parking lot. Connecting trail links include the Highline Canal Trail, Columbine Trail, and Centennial Trail.
Pets: Yes, on leash
The trail overlooks the Chatfield Reservoir which is located just south of the town of Littleton, CO. The reservoir was built in 1967 as a way to provide water to the Denver area, and prevent large floods. The intake structure is one of the highlights of the trail, as it is massive, and seems to be high security. The Dam and surrounding area is a great place to get pictures of the Southwest metro area and concertina wire.
I originally had the idea to post my top 10 photos of the year after listening to an Improve Photography podcast about the subject. The purpose is to post your top 10 photos each year, and see how you are progressing, or potentially regressing as a photographer. Instead of a top 10, I will do a top 12 and provide my best photo that was taken in a given month. I may go back and do previous years as well.
This year, due to the arrival of my son, I haven’t had as much time to go out and shoot. Outside of a trip I was able to make over the summer, I haven’t really had any personal time.
Egli House is an interesting abandonded building at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The Arsenal is a wildlife refuge just north of Denver. The best part of the refuge is the free admission. The visitor center is new and worth stopping in. I took this photo on a cold cloudy January morning.
This photo is of a volunteer worker welding something at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, CO. My brother-in-law worked here for a while and was able to give a behind the scenes tour. I really like all the different lines in this photo.
Tommy was born at the end of March. I took this photo when he was 12-hours-old. I have tons of other pictures/videos from this time. These are some of the most backed up files I have.
My parents flew out to meet Tommy in early April. My dad and I were able to catch a baseball game between the Padres and Rockies on April 10. The game was pretty good for the Rockies. There were back to back home runs for Car Go and Arenado in the first inning. This was also at the time where Trevor Story was hitting home runs at a ridiculous rate. He hit a home run in this game well. This was a rare Rockies game that was worth the price of admission.
In May, we attended a family wedding in Redstone, CO. This whole area is my favorite in the state. It is our go-to place for vacationing in the mountains. This was also our first family vacation. The photo shows coke ovens, which are alongside the major road that goes from Carbondale to McClure Pass. These ovens were used in the production of coke fuel from the coal in the area.
This was taken during a trip to the east coast at the end of June. I have always wanted to take the tour of Monticello. These gardens were the inspiration for my own “Jefferson Garden” at home. There will be more on that in later blog posts.
This was one of two hikes I was able to do with limited time in Shenandoah. There were lots of pictures to choose from in July. Hopefully the others make it on this site.
Arrowhead is easily the nicest course I have ever played. I was able to play this course at a decent price as part of a work golf tournament. I didn’t want to play this hole long, so my tee shot ended up short of the green. In the past, this area was full of brush/rattlesnake habitat. Recently, they decided to open up that area and make it into lower cut rough.
In September, we took a trip up to the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad.
This was Tommy’s halloween costume.
This shot is of an unusual hot air balloon over Chatfield State park in Littleton, CO
This is one of the photos I took of Tommy for the purpose of Christmas cards.
In 2016, I didn’t have the best photos, but had some of the best memories. I hope that I’ll get some personal time to do some more landscape/nature photography in 2017. There will definitely be lots of pictures of Tommy as he grows up. Also, in 2017, I will be getting in to Aerial Photography/Videography. More on that in later posts. Happy New Year!
While writing this, I found a few photos that were just outside the month boundary. If it was within a couple of days, I was ok placing them in the wrong month.
As part of a new series on this site, I’ll be posting reviews/reports of hikes around Colorado that are at least minimally stroller friendly. There are no good resources for these sort of hikes online. Hopefully someone else in my situation will somehow stumble upon this site. A lot of trails have a good bit of elevation gain, and typically have some sort of “natural stairs” or are very narrow and difficult to maneuver a stroller through. There are some resources for wheelchair friendly trails in the area, however these are usually low elevation gain paved trails. The trails I’m looking for are a superset of these.
Recently I decided on visiting Roxborough State Park just outside of Littleton, CO. The Fountain Valley Trail is located adjacent to the visitor center and seemed to be the most favorable place to go for a hike in the park. The trail is a nice loop that takes you through the north side of the park. It is a 2.3 mile hike that takes 1.5 to 2 hours and is rated Easy to Moderate. There is a lot of wildlife in the park, with a large concentration of deer, rattlesnakes, and even mountain lions. I will only visit the park in winter to avoid coming in contact with an angry rattlesnake. On this hike, I only really saw some birds, but there were all kinds of strange noises in the brush along the trail side.
The Parking Lot @ Roxborough
From the trailhead, there is a short walk to a fork in the trail, this is the beginning and end of the loop. I would strongly suggest taking the right side of the fork. Not being familiar with the trail, I took the left. On the day we went for the hike, the conditions were pretty good. The temperature was increasing steadily to almost 60 degrees, but there were still some snow/ice in parts. This was a bit of a challenge to get through, but Tommy went to sleep right at the start of the loop and didn’t seem to mind at all. This side of the loop had the best views.
The more scenic side of the trail, from the start of the loop
View of Red Rocks along the trail
Nice view from the trail
Mountain Lion tracks?
Packed snow/ice along the route
At roughly the midpoint of the trail, there are some buildings that were constructed in the early 1900s by Henry S. Persse. It looked like the stone house was open, but I decided to just look in from the outside. Seems like a good place for danger noodles to stay warm in the winter.
Another reminder of rattlesnakes
A 2 story stone house built by Persse in 1903
Cabins built by Persse
On the way back, which should have been the way forward, there was a steep incline to walk up while pushing the stroller. This was the only real strenuous part of the hike.
It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this was a bit of a challenge pushing Tommy and all his support equipment. The folks in this picture got a pretty good laugh at watching me struggle to push a sleeping baby up a hill. It was clear that this was my first time on the trail. This side of the trail didn’t feature any red rocks, but did have some secondary trails to view points. These were impassible with the stroller, so I had to skip them.
After the climb, there was a slight decent back to the end of the loop, which really ought to have been the start. This is where Tommy woke up and took in some of the scenery before heading back to the parking lot.