Posts tagged Fort Collins
Back in 2002, I stumbled upon a photograph of Horsetooth Dam that I found really striking. At the time, I was doing a lot of bike training in the foothills west of Fort Collins and happened to ride by the dam several times per week. The scene looks really different now, so I thought this would be a great subject for a before and after photo note.
I had to do quite a bit of calling around to locate the photo since the website where I originally saw it has only a low-resolution version. Thanks go to Kara Lamb and her interns at the US Bureau of Reclamation for finding and scanning the original A.E. Thompson photos for me.
Here’s a photo of Horsetooth Dam from 1949, at the end of the construction phase.
Horsetooth Dam is the northern-most of the four dams that create Horsetooth Reservoir. It’s the large water storage reservoir just to the west of Fort Collins, Colorado.
The dam and reservoir were completed as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project (NCWCD & USBR) – a federal water project that carries western slope Colorado River water to the cities and farms on the eastern slope in Northern Colorado through Colorado’s largest trans-mountain diversion project.
Several large sinkholes were found under a few of the dams in the 1990s. This news made a lot of folks in the Fort Collins area pretty nervous. If one of the dams were to fail, Horsetooth Reservoir would likely sweep away large parts of Fort Collins, then a city of 125,000.
Here’s a current view of Horsetooth Dam taken from the same location. In this photo, the reservoir is about 95% full.
For more information, visit the Bureau of Reclamation’s Horsetooth Dam page.
Each June, Rocky Mountain rivers and streams experience what is referred to as the “June Rise” as the snowpack rapidly melts and swells watercourses from Canada to New Mexico.
This year, Northern Colorado has an exceptionally large snowpack that has persisted late into the spring due to colder than normal temperatures. Since temperatures here have become much warmer in a short amount of time, the snow is finally melting – and melting fast.
This weekend, Bobby and I hiked up the Big South Trail in the Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins to see the Cache La Poudre River rampaging through its upper canyon. It was quite a sight. The entire stretch of river was a boiling cauldron of water, bubbling over giant boulders and smashing against granite cliffs on its way out of the steep and rugged canyon it is contained within.
The Big South Trail follows the upper reaches of the Cache La Poudre River as it spits off from Hwy 14 several miles below Cameron Pass. It follows the river through the rugged Comanche Peak Wilderness Area before entering the northwestern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park ten miles from the trailhead.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s office has ordered the river closed to tubers and small inflatable craft due to conditions on the river. It appears that our local authorities are tiring of rescuing people who get carried down the river and trapped in “strainer” trees or other obstacles.
|Cycling Fort Collins, Greeley & Loveland – a map and guide for road and touring routes in Northern Colorado.$12 - Available soon.|