Walkin’ Boulder: Looking for Wonderland

Walkin’ Boulder
By Sue Deans
The former editor of the Camera blogs about exploring Boulder on foot.

September 29, 2011

Last week I mentioned that on a future walk I planned to take the Wonderland Creek Greenway Trail east from Folsom Street, and from there to the Four Mile Creek Trail that makes a big circle around the Pleasantview soccer fields near 47th Street.

I tried to do that this morning but was not successful, even with the Map My Run app. I got to the stone marker for Wonderland Creek Greenway at Folsom and Norwood and headed along the creek toward 28th Street. I thought there would be a clear intersection with the other trail, or at least a directional sign, but I couldn’t find it.

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Looking at the map online, I realize now that I needed to cross 28th Street at Palo Park to find the connection. I will try it again soon.
I ended up on a path behind the Sunrise Assisted Living Center that went past the Elks Club. A pack of bicyclists were either training or having some kind of race going in circles around a track.

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So I walked back southward along 28th Street to Iris, then took Elmer’s Two Mile Creek trail back to Valmont and home. This is the park along Elmer’s near Iris. It also has some beautiful weeping willows on the creek banks, one of my favorite trees.

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Even though I didn’t find what I was looking for, it was still a good walk, 5.3 miles on a beautiful morning, and I found some gorgeous fall flowers you can see below.

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Can you Bear(foot) the Cold? Barefoot Shoes for Chilly Weather.

In the past, barefooters have sulked at the end of the warm season, burying their no-cushion-needed shoes deep in the back of their closet so as not to remind them of better barefooting conditions during the snow, ice, and bitter cold of the winter months. This season, minimalist shoes include warm, insulated uppers (no mesh!), making barefoot shoes wearable year round.

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Vibram FiveFingers has showcased the men’s KSO Trek in previous years, but this year introduced two new shoes with leather uppers for casual or active use. The Trek LS is a lace-up leather shoe that features retro sneaker style with enough warmth to keep those toes happy. The Bormio offers a five-fingered leather boot, allowing you to barefoot even the coldest of days while making your way to the office, lunch meeting, or coffee shop. No leather Vibrams for women just yet, but your best cold-weather option might be the Komodo Sport with some cozy Injinji socks for added protection.

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Merrell launched a line of barefoot shoes sans separated toes last season and is continuing their minimalist revolution with more insulated styles to keep you protected and on your bare feet this fall and winter. The Lithe Glove for women and Sonic Glove for men features a softshell upper for the active barefooter, warding off the chill yet allowing your feet to breathe simultaneously.

While none of these shoes may be ideal for the 5 inches of fresh powder that might accompany your day, during the dryer, colder months a barefoot shoe with more insulative materials other than mesh will do wonders. Autumn and winter barefooting at its best is brought to you by Vibram FiveFingers and Merrell Barefoot. Stay warm and stay barefoot!

Walkin’ Boulder: Folsom and Norwood

Walkin’ Boulder
By Sue Deans
The former editor of the Camera blogs about exploring Boulder on foot.

September 19, 2011

I started out today doing my habitual North Boulder circle route, north on Broadway to Lee Hill Road, back to Yarmouth and south on 19th Street. I changed direction this time and from Broadway I turned east on Iris and then headed north on Folsom to see where it went.

It goes through a beautiful shady neighborhood of large lots and large houses. I followed Folsom until it split off and became 26th Street, and there I turned left on Norwood toward Centennial Middle School, where there was some construction noise that piqued my curiosity. If I’d turned right, which I’ll do on a future walk, I would have been on the Wonderland Creek Greenway Trail, which hooks up with Four Mile Creek Trail and goes past the Pleasantview soccer fields near 47th Street where my granddaughter sometimes plays.

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And a little further up the road is Wonderland Creek.

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So there is a major construction project going on at Centennial, which must be one of the last ones from the 2006 bond issue, passed by voters to upgrade schools in the Boulder Valley School district. The school district has an extensive website on the three-phase, $296.8 million bond program, which planned improvements to every school in the district. www.bvsd.org/bondproject/Pages/default.aspx

At Centennial, the first phase includes renovating the front entry, main office, science rooms and upper corridors, along with new boilers and unit ventilators. The second phase, shown here, is a new gym, locker rooms and art room, scheduled to be finished by the middle of the school year. The project is costing about $7.3 million.

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Across from the school there appears to have once been an apple orchard and some beautiful old apple trees remain, now laden with fruit. Another tree nearby was showing some very preliminary signs of fall color.

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I love some of the little touches on people’s homes. This wooden gate and fence have a rustic look that echoes the house they surround.

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This gorgeous new home is under construction nearby on Norwood. These homes have a fabulous view behind them as they sit on a ridge overlooking Boulder and the Flatirons. This picture of the Flatirons was shot a block or two away, from the top of the hill at 19th and
Norwood.

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A friend I talked to the other night lives on Neher Lane, down the hill from Norwood, an unpaved road that heads eastward from 19th Street. He called the street “Fred’s driveway.” Boulder newcomers may not know that famed syndicated cartoonist Fred Neher once lived there. Neher drew a cartoon called “Life’s Like That,” which appeared in newspapers for 43 years. Camera history columnist Carol Taylor wrote about him recently: www.dailycamera.com/features/ci_18271504. Neher donated his archives to the University of Colorado before he died in 2001 at 97.

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From there I took 19th Street nearly all the way home. Today’s walk totaled 5.2 miles.

Walkin’ Boulder: Ciclovia!

Walkin’ Boulder
By Sue Deans
The former editor of the Camera blogs about exploring Boulder on foot.

September 18, 2011

I am just starting to do some serious walking again. I gave myself a week off to recuperate from the half marathon in Anaheim, but last week when I planned to get started again, I had to deal with some family issues that kept me driving back and forth to Thornton and Westminster. My dad was in the hospital twice after a serious fall and pneumonia, and now is recuperating in the medical center at the seniors complex where he lives. He seems to be recovering quickly but at almost 86 he’s pretty impatient with therapy and dietary restrictions!

On Sunday, Sept. 18, I decided just after noon to walk downtown and check out the second annual Ciclovia, a project of Boulder Green Streets that closed off Pearl Street to auto traffic between 15th Street and Folsom from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The stroll of a little more than 3 miles was pleasant ““ the weather was beautiful and it felt good to be out stretching my muscles again.

I’ve always loved the way many old cities in Europe have closed off their narrow streets to traffic. Our four-block Pearl Street pedestrian mall is a good example of how that can work to bring people downtown.

Pearl was barricaded at 15th Street, and just beyond were some lovely dancers who drew a crowd of onlookers.

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For the most part, the crowds weren’t too large when I visited between 12:30 and 1:30, but I’m told they increased a little later as a fashion show and parade created more excitement.

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Lots of kids’ activities were going on, such as chalking the street, hula hoops, a climbing wall, a kayak pool and a bike riding course ““ even baton twirling! I didn’t know people did that any more.

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Pedicabs were available to transport people back to their starting points, or cars, or wherever. What a great idea to chauffeur senior citizens short distances, especially if they are carrying bags of groceries or packages from shopping.

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Most of the food was down toward Folsom. A tentful of vendors gave out samples of their wares, a few food trucks stood by, and Hanuman Chai was baking cookies in this solar oven!

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I walked back westward along Spruce Street because it was shadier, but moved over to Pearl at about 16th Street when I heard a loudspeaker announcement about the parade coming up later. There I saw Rotary colleague Alexia Parks, who told me a “green” fashion show was about to start so I hung around for a few more minutes. Emcee Ryan Van Duser, Boulder’s “out there guy,” kept the commentary lively. The clothes included “eco-fabrics,” local designers, vintage and active wear.

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I had been in the sun long enough, so decided not to stay for the parade. The festivities continued until 4 p.m. I’m sure a good time was had by all!