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Old 06-23-06, 11:21 AM   #1
DnvrFox
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1800 Homes or 1600 acres of Open Space and a Great Trail for 50+'rs?

1800 Homes or 1600 acres of Open Space and a Great Trail for 50+'rs?

Our county (Douglas County, CO) has, over the past few years been either the fastest growing county (in population) or near the top in the entire US of A. As a result there has been a tremendous building boom and pressure on open lands within the primarily agricultural, national forest and cattle county.

Several years ago, the voters in the county imposed upon themselves an "open space" tax, as did the voters in the various small cities within the county. In addition, all of the profits from the Colorado Lottery have been designated for open space and similar projects. So, literally 10's of thousands of acres of open space have been preserved through land purchases, agricultural easements and nature conservancy trusts.

Recently, there was a 1,500 acre area near my home which was to have been developed with 1,800 houses. However, the city of Castle Rock and Douglas County were able to purchase the land for 11 million dollars, and got an additional 100 acres donated from a neighboring development.

So, it is now called the Hidden Mesa Open Space, and it just opened 2 weeks ago.

There is a wonderful mtn bike trail which I took for the first time today. This trail has a number of "technical" sections on it, and some very steep parts. It took me almost 2 hours to go the first 3 miles, but, then , I am not much of a mtn biker.

But, WOW! What a high. I was the only person I saw for 3 hours. My own $11,000,000.00 estate for that 3 hours! Loved that mtn biking.

From the mesa, you can see Pikes Peak 30 miles southwest, Devil's Head and Mt. Evans 25 miles to the west and Long's Peak 70 miles northwest.

The area is home to deer and pronghorn antelope. I saw only tracks. There are about 4 million prairie "dogs" and they have erected telephone pole like devices to provide perches for raptors to see and consume the prairie dogs. I saw one raptor sitting surveying the mid-morning's meal. And I saw one lizard, and a lot of bunnies.

Here are is a map and some pictures from my little jaunt today - which amounted to 8 miles, but seemed like 30.

















The mesa I biked up is in the background. This is the trailhead.



DOUGLAS COUNTY OPEN SPACE MAP



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Old 06-23-06, 12:44 PM   #2
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Ain't dat cool? I wish that I lived close enough to try it for myself. I haven't had my mountain bike out for about a year but that looks do-able for my skill level.
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Old 06-23-06, 12:55 PM   #3
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Being into hiking as well as cycling, those pictures were simply stunning! Thanks for posting them!
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Old 06-23-06, 12:59 PM   #4
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that's a great success. in an age where everywhere you look it seems like land is being developed it's great to hear of actual land being protected and valued.
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Old 06-23-06, 01:19 PM   #5
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Terrific photos, thanks for posting them. Almost nice enough to make me put away my road bike and start riding on the dirt
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Old 06-23-06, 02:14 PM   #6
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Terrific photos, thanks for posting them. Almost nice enough to make me put away my road bike and start riding on the dirt
Come join me for a ride! Just a few miles down I-25!

Thanks all. It is really nice to have some responses after you post a bunch of pictures, etc.
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Old 06-23-06, 03:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Come join me for a ride! Just a few miles down I-25!

Thanks all. It is really nice to have some responses after you post a bunch of pictures, etc.
Bloody Hell Denver. Sorry about the explitif but that is real Off road.-- More pics please.

Dare say there are a few hills to make it "More" interesting
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Old 06-23-06, 04:02 PM   #8
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What a treasure. Great photos and it looks like you have more great rides ahead of you.
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Old 06-23-06, 04:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by stapfam
Bloody Hell Denver. Sorry about the explitif but that is real Off road.-- More pics please.

Dare say there are a few hills to make it "More" interesting
Sorry, that is all the pics.

From the "flats," you go up about 400 feet in elevation climbing up the edge of the mesa to the top, which is flat but has some very rocky areas. It is hard to show how steep things are in pictures. But, I did walk the bike up a bit on the steep and slippery parts.

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Old 06-23-06, 04:07 PM   #10
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That's absolutely amazing that the communities got together and protected that land. Great pics. We have no mountains around here but some pretty big holes that actually look like that. Maybe I'll drive over and try my bike on some of that type of landscape. I'm impressed of your accomplishment!
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Old 06-23-06, 04:55 PM   #11
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Great pics, as everyone said. A quick question: what were you carrying in those panniers? They look stuffed to the gill. Wouldn't that be extra weight? Or did I miss something in the ride description?
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Old 06-23-06, 04:59 PM   #12
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I bet the cougars will help your sprinting technique. Very nice photos! I am glad that your community had the vision to do this.
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Old 06-23-06, 05:33 PM   #13
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Great pics, as everyone said. A quick question: what were you carrying in those panniers? They look stuffed to the gill. Wouldn't that be extra weight? Or did I miss something in the ride description?
I keep the panniers on all the time - I am so used to them they would be lonely without me. They are Arkel "front" panniers (smaller) mounted on the back.

What's in them?

Left pannier - one small foldable backpack for when I go to the store and buy more groceries than the panniers will hold (which is 2 bags per pannier). 1 lock and cable, Wallet, cell phone, windbreaker. I skull cap for Colorado winters. 1 Balaclava for same. Car keys.

Right pannier - One sweat shirt that I wore (and then removed) because at 7:00 am it was quite chilly.

When I lead bike rides and I use this bike, I generally throw in a couple of extra tubes.

And in the wedge - a tube, patch kit, tire levers, 1st aid kit, multi tool. Oh, and I forgot - somewhere I have a kitchen sink.

BTW, this is the bike I rode my first "Ride the Rockies" on in 1998 - WITHOUT THE PANIERS AND REAR RACK.


My utility road bike has two similar panniers, but made by Blackburn.

My "real" road bike has only a way oversized wedge.

Dnvr"Not known for traveling lightly"Fox

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Old 06-23-06, 05:43 PM   #14
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I bet the cougars will help your sprinting technique. Very nice photos! I am glad that your community had the vision to do this.
Yes, Mountain Lions AND Bears have been known to frequent the area. Also, of course, coyotes and foxes and rattlesnakes, etc. I didn't see one snake today.
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Old 06-23-06, 06:45 PM   #15
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May this space remain

FOREVER VACANT OF BUILDINGS
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Old 06-23-06, 10:33 PM   #16
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If only I had a place like that for mountain biking. Oh well, one can dream.

Keep it comming.
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