Saturday, December 20, 2014

White Ranch Park - The Perfect Showcase

White Ranch Park

Located northwest out of Golden, White Ranch Park is an open space that offers plenty of room to roam. Upon entering through an elaborate gateway, you'll discover a rugged landscape carved by Van Bibber Creek.

The lush environment is a birder's paradise that, after crossing an old wooden bridge, gives way to steep hillsides. Teeming with wildlife as well, the scrub forest is most definitely the domain of the mule deer.

Spring is busy. The place is bursting with renewed activity. Filled with cold runoff, the resilient Van Bibber rushes down out of snowy Front Range Peaks. Concealed in the canopy of fresh yellow and green, noisy birds are building nests.

Summer is hot and dry. Quiet days give way to afternoon thunder showers that quench the parched brook. As evening descends and temperatures cool, the park comes to life. A chorus of happy birds serenades the deer grazing on grassy, green knolls.

Fall is pretty. Jagged Devil's Thumb rises out of a hellish furnace of blazing colors. The rocky creek is barely more than a trickle and the birds have flown south. The horses are still out to pasture and rabbits have retired to the briar.

Winter is difficult. Devoid of life, the tradeoff for solitude is bitter cold. Punctured by frosted boulders, the frozen stream is an icy corridor winding through a winter wonderland. The bluffs are brown and serrated by rippled waves of windswept snow.

I don't like change but I've learned to accept it through nature. Over the past few years, White Ranch has proven to be the perfect showcase for observing the evolving seasons. The beauty of the park is its ever-changing nature.

No matter when we go, the varied landscape offers the explorer a unique experience. Depending on the light, weather and color, each season is distinguished by a distinct display of fleeting attributes. Except for winter, it seems to last forever.

Spring is a time for renewel

The Van Bibber rushes down out of the Front Range

A resilient, rocky creek

Summers are hot and dry

Black-headed Grosbeak sings his heart out

Mule deer graze peacefully

Steep, rugged hillsides

Fall is the prettiest time of year

Jagged Devil's Thumb Peak

The park is beautiful

The solitude of winter is bitter cold

Frosted boulders and a frozen stream

Gateway to a winter wonderland

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