Cherry Creek at 11th, Denver 2009I’ve been wanting to walk along Cherry Creek where it borders the western side of the Golden Triangle. I set out Wednesday to do that, after dropping Todd off at the park-and-ride to catch the airport bus. (He’s in Baton Rouge today, having his six-week checkup. He said his right ear didn’t hurt at all during the flight.)

On the way, I stopped at Dozen’s to get tea, mostly to warm my hands, and passed Cherokee Dining. I was surprised to see the “Open” sign illuminated. A man’s arm was polishing the bar. I guess if I ever move to the GT, I know where to get my early morning buzz on.

I stood on the bridge over Speer and saw only one distant, dark figure on the creek path. Then I kept going, over to West High School, which is shaped like a big stone hug. Denver West High School from Speer 2009Denver West High School detail 2009Sunken Gardens Park fills the space between it and Speer. I took some shots of the school and walked down the concrete steps into the park, wondering how the land around Speer got so varied in height. Was Cherry Creek always so much lower than the street, or did the construction of the reservoir tame it into its current mild self?

Sunken Garden border, Denver 2009Like a little kid, I balanced along one of the narrow concrete borders in the park. At one time it must have surrounded a lake. I wondered if West High now used it as a playing field. There was a basketball court at one end, heavily decorated with graffiti, and a Mennonite Church beyond it.

It was a peaceful place, despite the constant traffic along three lanes of Speer, and there was space enough in the open, sunken park to breathe out forever, a rare feeling in a city. I heard the bell ring in the school all the way across the park: 10 am.Sunken Gardens basketball court, Denver 2009

As I crossed Speer and made my way to the concrete wall bounding this side of the creek, I spotted a homeless man, standing in a concrete alcove, arranging his belongings. He had a bright red blanket. I wanted to talk to him but was too chicken. When he noticed me, I finally turned away.

The sun came out, warming me, and dog-walkers and cyclists motored by across the creek, which gurgled and rushed some 10 feet below me. I balanced on the wall, feeling everywhere and nowhere the way I do on a plane.

Swingset along Speer at Bannock, Denver 2009At Bannock I crossed back to investigate the bright blue jungle gym. I can’t remember the last time I’ve swung on a swing set. The surface in front was speckled blue and spongy to match the paint job, and I bounced up and down on it, watching four teenagers around a table under the trees. As I walked by, I wanted to ask them why they weren’t in school. (Then I remembered I haven’t had a real job in fourteen years. Funny how, after so long, I still think of offices outside my home as more “real” than the one inside my home. I guess I should read more Dilbert.) One of the dark-haired girls was cupping her hands over a paper on the table. I told myself they were making some art.

It was getting late, I needed to check out the Native American Trading Company and get some lunch at Le Central. I battled the fierce wind up Bannock and found myself staring into the window of a building marked “Civitas.” Sounded like a nonprofit, but then why do they have a car and a motorcycle in their lobby?

I’m still not sure, but I liked this line from their website: “We value the richness, diversity, and vibrancy of cities.”Swingset detail along Speer at Bannock, Denver 2009

Leave A Comment

  1. BruceQ February 19, 2009 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    You are correct, there was originally a lake/reflecting pool in the Sunken Gardens. Also a pavillion designed by Jacques Benedict, for whom the park at 20th and Logan was named. Sunken Gardens is 100 years old this year!

  2. Beth Partin February 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    I guess that was once a popular conceit in Denver parks, because Alamo Placita Park also used to have a lake. Now it’s a garden, I think.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Cherry Creek Mosey

  3. BernardL February 20, 2009 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Very entertaining vignette, Beth. You made me wonder why the teens weren’t in school too. 🙂

    BernardL’s last blog post..Maintain

  4. Beth Partin February 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm - Reply


    Thanks for the compliment. They could have been in some art class at West High and have come outside to do something, I suppose. That wouldn’t have been allowed at my high school, but that was in the 1970s. Maybe high school teachers are more flexible now.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Crazy about Denver: David Brooks Loves Denver

  5. Concrete Polishing March 17, 2009 at 9:32 am - Reply

    Haha ^^ nice, is there a section to follow the RSS feed

  6. Beth Partin March 18, 2009 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Use the RSS button in the address window.

    Beth Partin’s last blog post..Capitol Hill, Denver: Walkabout

  7. […] Does it strike anyone else as funny that North High School (located at 29th and Speer) is west of West High School (located on Speer between 9th and […]

  8. […] Does it strike anyone else as funny that North High School (located at 29th and Speer) is west of West High School (located on Speer between 9th and […]