2010-11-12 39 -104
An oil field right off Colorado Blvd and E-470.
1. Bike it up. This trip will be record setting for me. Northernmost location I've biked to--practically to the NE graticule--and I will be utilizing trails in Thronton I've never been on. Tallyho!
Awesome ride. Ended up being about 45 miles round trip. The first couple miles were along the South Platte River, which was pleasant enough. Saw a flock of turkeys that have been hanging out around Northside Park for the last couple weeks. There is still construction being done to the river bed for some reason at the Platte River/Sand Creek junction that requires a very short detour along some packed soil. No big deal.
Mile 12 brought me to Platte & 104th, where the trail ends. (The paved trail ends. A dirt trail continues ahead to who know where. Adventure for another day.) So leaving the river trail, the next mile and a half were along a busy highway with a wide shoulder, on to which I settled.
At about mile 13.5 I found the Riverdale Trail/Prairie Dog Habitat. Omg prairie dogs! Hundreds of them! All barking and scurrying around, dodging, ducking, dipping, diving, and dodging! It was a veritable orgy of prairie dogs. One ran right in front of me and I thought I would hit it! I took a quick, lousy picture and continued on.
The next couple miles took me through the Thornton Recreation Center, which is a huge friggin complex sitting in the middle of it's own huge friggin park.
On through some residential streets, and then around East Lake Shores Park, which was a packed gravel trail through a wildlife preserve. A lady was walking two greyhounds through it. She was standing smack in the middle of the trail, one dog was testing the limits of its retractable leash by nosing around well off to the left of the trail, while the second dog was doing the same thing on the other side, looking like a mirror image of the first. All told, this dog and lady combo was sprawled out over about 12 feet across the foot path. I hollered a good morning at them = "Get outta the way you nutter!" and she collected her canines and stepped aside.
By now I'm at mile 18.5 and Lake Village Park connects me to the Signal Ditch Trail which is a pretty little thing that wraps through some residential areas and past this one improbably large house, slightly out of place in the middle of an apartment complex, but well secluded by the trail itself as the outermost barrier, then what honest to god looked like a moat but which was probably the actual Signal Ditch, and then a huge friggin lake, on one bank of which the residents had created a large sandy beach, complete with a tall blue twisting water slide. It had spires and wings. I think a royalty lives there. A minor royalty. One that can only afford estates in suburban Denver, Colorado.
Signal Ditch takes me through mile 20, where it spits me out back on the road by a large elementary school. Here, I'm pretty close to Colorado Blvd, which I get on and follow past the "Now Leaving the City of Thornton" sign, past which the boulevard turns small and two-laned, and I'm riding on the shoulder.
At mile 22.5, I arrive at the site, just south of Colorado and E-470. I had some food and drink, snapped a photo or two, tried to tweet my location  and otherwise get a GPS reading, but I guess my signal was poor because I got a different reading each time I tried!
Shortly, I turned around and did the whole thing in reverse. I kind of hated the last 12 miles or so. I was tired and hungry. Fortunately, I got a flat tire around mile 33. During the time it took to patch the tube, I was able to recharge my mental batteries enough to carry me the rest of the way home.
All in all, this is the kind of adventure that, for me, geohashing is all about. I ventured into new areas, down new trails. I got a little unsure of my bearings once or twice which added to the thrill of exploration. There were adversities to overcome, and I felt very satisfied by the end of it all.