First Creek at DEN Open Space

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In an effort to let my dog Annie get some exercise off leash while I’m restricted to 45 minutes of walking a day by the physical therapist, I have been searching for unpopulated open spaces near Denver.  As, if I break the leash law, I’d like to do it when nobody is around.  Today, albeit freezing cold, I found the best place…First Creek at DEN Open Space.

First Creek at DEN Open Space

First Creek at DEN Open Space borders the east side of Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.  It is essentially a long, narrow strip of land through which the chip seal Buckley Road travels.  I’m certain this initial description would not entice many to take the walk.  Particularly in the summer when it is scorching hot and there is a potential for encountering rattlesnakes.

Buckley Road at First Creek at DEN Open Space

On a snowy day in the winter during rutting season, however, walking this untouched, snowy road is a delight.  I wish I had may good camera with me as we saw countless deer and five snow dusted buffalo!  Of course, the buffalo were within the high-fenced enclosure, but as many times as I’ve been to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, I had never seen any.  It was a treat!

The deer were everywhere!  We saw three herds of at least ten each and others that crossed the road and dotted the dry grassy landscape.  I imagine there were at least fifty in all.  And despite Annie’s prey chasing instinct, she behaved and stuck to the road, albeit zigzagging back and forth!  I bet she ran five miles for the two that I walked. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend visiting this open space near Denver with a dog that chases wildlife.

Buckley Road

The road does have some potholes, and fortunately, the snow was just shallow enough to indicate the hazards.  If there were more than six inches on the ground, I might reconsider the walk, in favor of saving my ankles!  With my time limit, we didn’t come close to walking the 5 mile length of Buckley Road, but that will give me more to see another time. My only mishap was losing a glove while snapping photos of the buffalo.  For the life of me I couldn’t find it in the snow-covered brush.  Seems strange since it was a muted pink!

Oh well, maybe I’ll return next week when it is a little warmer.  In the meantime, this walk through First Creek at DEN Open Space was just what I needed.  I have been missing nature since my knee surgery, and seeing the wildlife brought a smile to my face.  Additionally, I succeeded in wearing out my crazy dog!  ETB

Annie at First Creek at DEN Open Space

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

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