Floating the South Platte

Among the wide variety of outdoor activities that are available in and near Metro Denver is the opportunity to float the South Platte River.  Yesterday, granted another warm, sunny day along the Front Range, my wife and I pulled our our inflatable raft and enjoyed a winding, two mile excursion through South Platte Park.

Launching at C-470, below Chatfield Reservoir, we floated northward through the Park.  While we had to negotiate a number of rapids and narrow cascades,  most of our journey was a slow, peaceful drift, hemmed in by riverside marshes and woodlands.  Female mallards and common mergansers ushered their broods across the calm segments, belted kingfishers, black-crowned night herons and double-crested cormorants flew overhead, red-winged blackbirds called from the reeds, killdeer and spotted sandpipers foraged on the sandbars and yellow warblers flashed among the cottonwoods.

Floating trips offer a unique perspective of riverine ecosystems and give one an intimate appreciation for the force of moving water.  Regardless of one's skill (and ours is modest), the floater finds himself at the mercy of the river and must respect its power; patience, common sense and proper gear (including flotation vests) are always in order.