Over my 11 years of employment at Denver Water, I’ve been to some pretty amazing places.
I’ve stepped down into a ditch to see the connection, or tap, from a Denver Water main in the street to the customer-owned pipe, or service line, that brings water into homes. I’ve walked around inside massive storage tanks.
But it wasn’t until I visited my first reservoir and dam that I created a bucket list: To visit all seven of Denver Water’s major reservoirs with recreation areas.
My first reservoir visit was way back when I was a child. My dad drove us up to Gross Reservoir for a picnic — before I even knew Denver Water existed or that the reservoir was a source for drinking water.
The road up to the reservoir was terrifying. It’s a narrow dirt road with a steep drop on one side. At 10 years old, I was sure we were going to tumble off the road. Once we reached the picnic area, I was amazed by the peaceful views.
I visited the same reservoir again in 2009 during my new employee orientation tour where we took the same narrow road on a charter bus and then walked from the top of the dam all the way to the bottom on incredibly steep stairs.
Since then, I’ve photographed interns enjoying an educational day out on Dillon Reservoir. I’ve taken new employees to Williams Fork Reservoir. I captured the Journey of Water at Cheesman and Strontia Springs dams. And last year I learned about dam inspections at Antero Reservoir.
With one last reservoir to go on my list, I decided the best way to get my family out of the house and still practice social distancing was to pack up my trusty camping gear and book a spot at Eleven Mile State Park.
We ventured up the busy canyon, full of fishermen, campers, hikers and tubes. We avoided the crowds and parked at the far end of the parking lot near the dam.
There, we climbed on top of my car, took in the view of the 88-year-old structure and I pulled out my list.
All seven Denver Water reservoirs with recreation visited.
And then that evening, while sitting at my campsite under the stars, I got a head start on a new bucket list: To photograph the Milky Way at each reservoir, starting with Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir.
One down, six to go.
For a beginner photographer, capturing the Milky Way could be a challenging venture, but one I look forward to.
Denver Water understands the value its facilities hold for the community, especially as other areas around the state and nation open for recreation.
If you find yourself itching to create your own bucket list adventure and visit one of Denver Water’s reservoirs, including Waterton Canyon, be sure to help us all stay healthy by practicing social distancing and wearing masks as you pass by fellow outdoor enthusiasts and staff.
For more information or updates on the status of Denver Water’s recreation facilities, please visit denverwater.org/Recreation.