Going to the Source of My Paddling Water

06 Jul

I have many miles of bike trails in Fort Collins and neighboring cities of Loveland, Windsor and Greeley. They allow me to follow the Poudre and Big Thompson Rivers on a bike or inline skates. On January 31, 2010 I decided for a little bit further bike exploration – the South Platte River north of Denver.

My photography destination was the output of Denver sewer. In typical winter conditions it delivers practically all water into the South Platte (up to 200cfs, see flow data).

I drove to the Platte River Trail parking at 104th Street and switched to my bike: a tripod on bike racks and a DSLR camera in Kata KT DR-467-BR backpack. It was a test of this setup for biking. It worked pretty well. I am going to try it with a mountain bike on some easier trails.

I followed the South Platte south for about 8 miles. The river looked quite nice in not so nice winter conditions, quite shallow with some rocky spots, chutes, diversion dams and hundreds of ducks. Above the confluence with Sand Creek I reached my destination.


About 200 cfs is coming out from Denver sewer. The entire river is covered by a dense foam for several hundred yards.

It wasn't easy to photograph this scene due to heavy smell, but, hey, my background is in environmental engineering. Camera: Canon EOS 5D on a tripod. I checked this location on a map for late afternoon shooting, but didn't anticipate a bridge shadow. I was a little too late.


The river above (looking upstream from a trail bridge): practically dry with a flow just of a few cfs. Camera: Canon PowerShot G11 (shooting from a bike).


The river below (the confluence with Clear Creek). Camera: Canon PowerShot G11. It was already after sunset and getting cold.

I am going to do more photo exploration of Denver by bike, but will wait probably for a warmer weather. Green vegetation and more water in the river would be nice too. Concerning paddling I prefer to stay as far downstream from Denver as possible at least with low flow conditions during winter.

Related posts:
Northern Colorado Fitness Paddling
New Year Paddling – 22 Miles to Fort Morgan on the South Platte River
Car Photography Session on the South Platte River
Colorado Water portfolio
C-470 to Union Avenue and Union to Florida Avenue - paddling the South Platte River in Denver (Canoe Colorado trip reports)

paddling with a camera

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