I have now been to Cherry Creek Trail three times. The first two times I went off to the right. This time, I went off to the left.
Let me tell you, the right is much more beautiful.
Not because nature is doing anything wrong, I mean, how can Mother Nature screw up? She's freaking beautiful. No, the left side was less beautiful because of all the trash.
I'll get to that.
Let's start at the beginning.
I picked up a fallen rose from the soil below the rose bush on the property where I live, held it gently, and walked towards Cherry Creek Trail.
I trotted down the small hill to the trail when I got to the intersection, went around the bridge I had already taken a photograph of previously, and found a foot trail on the other side.
I wasn't even 30 feet into the trail when I came across a tent where a homeless person was living. I called out hello, but no one was home. There was a suit hanging from a tree branch, drying. The tent was not really a tent at all, but rather a cleverly put together wall of garbage bags hung between trees on either side. Out of respect for this person's belongings, I decided against searching further and turned around. About 20 more feet away I found a woman's shoe.
I placed my broken flower in the shoe and took this photograph. Why did I do it? Because even in decay there is beauty. There is new life. There is this sense of old meets knew as objects go through their wear-and-tear lives, and I love the juxtaposition of it.
I continued my journey onwards down the foot path, and found this particular weed. I did not know what it was called at the time, and mostly took a photograph of it to send to my family and friends to learn the name of it.
We have these types of weeds up in Wisconsin as well, and I always found them fun to photograph because of all the line work with the parachute seeds and the rough pods they burst from.
It was quite a process learning what this little weed or plant was called. I would like to state, on record, that I was totally down for calling them Puffies.
However, I like to know the actual name of plants I photograph, so thus began the Google process.
First, I Googled "Weeds that grow in Colorado" and got a bunch of cannabis products. Not exactly what I was looking for. Second, I Googled "Weeds that grow in Wisconsin" and read every single type of weed on this one website and didn't see anything that looked like a Puffie.
Third, I Googled types of seeds and discovered that the type of seed on the Puffie is considered a "parachute seed". Fourth, I Googled "Types of weeds with Parachute seeds" and got a plethora of websites talking about dandelions, but finally found one with a photo of a plant that looked like a Puffie.
End result? This plant is called a Milkweed.
I then turned around, saw this twisted tree, loved it, and took a photograph of it.
I continued my journey down the path and discovered about 3 more tents. I kept walking. I decided to let go of my flower, and took one final image of it on a rock near a fall. Since I already took a photograph of the flower in the shoe, I used a filter on it to change it to a piece of graphic art.
It was after this that things started to get sketchy. I continued my journey following the creek and came upon this huge homeless encampment. There was garbage everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. I imagine they would take garbage bags, empty them out all over the ground to find something valuable to trade or sell, and just left the garbage rotting on the ground. It was disgusting.
This encampment was on the other side of the creek than I, and down a pretty steep slope. The side I was on had what I would consider a cliff that sloped down to the creek, with the tents perched right on the other side. As soon as I came over the cliff into view of the tents, I heard someone whistle. If you've seen The Walking Dead, you would know why I felt creeped out hearing the person whistle.
Nothing happened. Phew.
There were also shopping carts everywhere. So if Target, Shopko and Walmart are all wondering where their carts are, well, I found them.
Anyway. Garbage everywhere. Tents everywhere. Creepy whistling. I kept walking.
There was some interesting debris in the creek and I knelt down and shot this image of this old wheel. Not sure if it's technically a wheel to drive on, like an old wagon wheel, or if it's part of an old piece of machinery, like a cog.
I decided at this point, for the sake of my safety and to quit disturbing whoever the whistler was, to turn around and head back to the actual, cemented trail. This is when I discovered the fence.
I had no idea when this fence began and ended, but it was holding me hostage from the rest of the world. I walked along the fence, waving to bicyclists as they gave me sideways glances accompanied with friendly waves, and eventually came upon a hole.
A hole makes it sound like it's small. This was more like a huge section of the fence was cut away and curled back. Right next to this entrance was a Target cart with a bunch of footprints and wheel marks in the sand leading up to the hill I was standing on.
I made my way down and through the fence and rejoined the rest of the world. I walked back the direction I had came, except this time on the other side of the fence, and came across groups of homeless wandering along the path. A majority of them were friendly, nodding and saying hello as I passed by. I passed by this couple arguing about who had used the last of something or other, and assumed they were talking about soap. Turns out they were talking about heroin.
I kept walking until this group of three males and one female looked me up and down and called me "pretty" in a tone I did not appreciate much at all. That's when I decided to walk home.
Maybe I'll venture the path again when I have a companion, but it will be a long time, if ever, I venture down the trail on my own again.