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Boulder Creek Path

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Today, early in the morning, while the air was still cool and before the August heat and humidity had set into the Colorado atmosphere, I went on a run along the Boulder Creek path. Most mornings I go for runs on the path, mostly because I know it pretty well. I can anticipate every incline, every dip, every change in trail and every bridge. This may seem boring to some people, but, in fact, it is the exact opposite. Though the actual path never changes, the Boulder Creek dynamically fosters many different people and all their different pursuits, which thus makes the creek itself a constantly changing scene.

Beginning at the top of the canyon and running 5.5 miles to the very east end of Boulder, the creek path is shrouded beneath layers upon layers of beautiful trees. Combined with the fresh mountain water, these trees keep the path comparatively cool to the rest of Boulder (which can be pretty hot in the summer!). The creek path is dotted with several notable Boulder bulidings, including most of the north side of campus, the public library, Boulder High. A paved concrete walkway lined with a trail, the creek’s greenery and soothing sound of rushing water are certainly calming. But it’s not Boudler Creek’s beauty that makes it one of my favorite places. It’s the fact that the creek is a welcome home to anyone and everyone, and offers space for anyone to participate in whatever activity it is that makes them happy.

Of course, runners and bikers love the creek path—for its distance, its temperature, and the ability to dip their legs in the water after a tough workout. There are, however, many other types that I see along the creek. Fisherman cast their lines into the currents. Painters set up their canvases along the banks. People lounge on the benches, either chatting or reading or listening to music. Yoga classes congregate in the nearby parks. People clad in robes practice Tai Chi. Once, I swear, I even saw a drum circle forming in the park near the library (keep in mind, people, this Boulder. Drum circles, slacklines, and aimless hippies with cute puppies are not uncommon sites).

The creek is a huge hub for students. In the hot months, people gather in Ebin G. Fine park with their towels, sunscreen, giant tubes and water shoes to tube down the creek. Kayakers start at the top of the canyon during high water seasons and paddle all the way down to where the rapids end. Some calmer swimming holes beckon kids to jump in and cool off—one is even deep enough for people to jump off a 7 foot concrete wall.

Basically, Boulder Creek is a place where it is totally acceptable to be in your element—whatever that element may be. You could be riding the rapids, hanging out with friends, going for a bike ride or sketching the Flatirons, and you would be effortlessly melding into the scenery behind you.  The constantly changing river flow parallels the spirited ventures of creek visitors. This is what I love about the creek- it lets you be whoever you want; it lets you be truly happy doing whatever it is that makes you truly happy. For me, the creek is where I run, it is where I collect my thoughts as I stare at the Flatirons glowing in the morning sun, where I find my peace in the morning before I start my day.

What will the creek become to you?

International Affairs, Anthropology • Colorado Springs, Colorado