Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
Tucked behind an old water-treatment plant (now Northside Park) and a recycling plant, quiet Heron Pond is the perfect place for solitude and stellar bird watching. Located on the South Platte River Greenway going north from downtown, the park is home to a huge variety of birds, including herons, avocets, kingfishers and red-tail hawks, as well as numerous kinds of water fowl. And because it's so quiet here, they aren't likely to be scared away by a dog let loose by an inconsiderate condo-dweller. There may be more scenic rides around town, but when it comes to Sunday solitude, Heron Pond soars above the rest.
Hot rod culture lives in Golden! From May until October, every first Saturday of the month, classic-car enthusiasts and John Milner wannabes roll up their sleeves and rev up their old cherry wheels to cruise up and down Golden Road. The action begins at 6 p.m. near an overcrowded Sonic Drive-In parking lot at 17191 South Golden Road; then, around 7:30, there's a group cruise into downtown Golden, with DJ Van Jeffries doing his Wolfman Jack from a van. Go on: Rediscover your inner Curt.
Hikes need not be relegated to weekends and vacations. What better way to de-stress after a long workday than by taking in a sunset on a brisk scenic walk? Alderfer/Three Sisters Park is close enough to get to in forty minutes and far enough to feel like an escape from the city. Part of the Jefferson County Open Space program, it's anchored by the rock formations known as the Three Sisters and The Brother, which overlook Bear Creek Basin. The park boasts over ten miles of trails, with most in the half- to two-mile range. Sisters, which weaves through large boulders for just over a mile, is the most strenuous. But keep your eyes open and leave the iPod at home, because it's a popular trail for mountain bikers, too.
Colorado hockey lovers were in a state of bliss when the Avalanche brought back icons Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote earlier this year. But because of their age, not to mention Forsberg's physical condition, neither can be considered long-term solutions for what ails the team — a fact reinforced in early March when both got hurt. Paul Stastny, in contrast, is the team's future. He's just 22 and looks about twelve, but he's developed into a prolific force around the net, leading the team in points, goals and assists despite his own stretch on injured reserve. Forsberg and Foote, as well as fellow elder Joe Sakic, who's also had some mending to do of late, will play a major part in determining how far the Avs go this season. As for Stastny, he'll be key in 2008 and hopefully for years to come.
Who needs sand and water when you've got snow and sunshine? The Beach at A-Basin is simply the place where snow meets parking lot, but it's become a legend in its own right. In years gone by, it was a venue for wild parties as people camped and tailgated overnight to get first tracks in the morning. It's said that people even pulled stunts like hiking up the mountain with a couch on skis. The scene has mellowed since then — you can't camp out anymore — but you can reserve a parking spot. So when spring comes, it's an idyllic place to pull in, turn up the stereo, set up your lawn chairs and grill, throw a couple of beers on ice — or snow — and spend a day at the beach.
During their glory days, the Broncos had plenty of players who were arguably the finest at their position in the NFL. Now they've got just one: Champ Bailey. Because of the Broncs' erratic, all-too-often anemic pass rush last season, the appropriately named Champ didn't rack up the interceptions he'd earned in years past. But he hasn't lost a step, and he remains a smart, instinctive defender, a vicious hitter and a role model for his teammates professionally and personally. As a bonus, he lured one of the team's most important off-season acquisitions: linebacker Boss Bailey, his talented younger brother. If there are any more Baileys like these two, send 'em over.