Nature Friday ~ August 11, 2023

Welcome to this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join friends Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Remember to click on the link to see what others shared. Ok, let’s get started.

As we’re wrapping up the Dog Days of Summer (thank dog-I’m over that celestial phase), Mom has made a few trips to Sloan’s Lake so I couldn’t help wonder, what is it about that place that she loves so much. Elsa here and after doing some research, I think I finally get it, at least historically. Sure there are lots of great sniffs (between the Mallard ducks, Canadian Geese, not to mention a host of other kinds of birds and critters), it’s a plethora of fascinating sights and sounds to check out.

One fact we were unaware of is that Sloan’s Lake is the biggest lake in Denver, it is also the city’s second largest park. It  contains playgrounds, tennis courts, athletic fields, boat docks for launching water skiing craft, boats in general, kayaking launches, basketball courts, a multi-use walking/biking trail that surrounds the entire lake, along with some picnic areas where families can gather and celebrate birthdays and the like. Do you realize how many crumbs fall on the ground that could potentially get left behind that the squirrels don’t devour? Let me just say, Mom no longer lets me sniff around the picnic tables for just for that reason-she says sugar isn’t good for me (so I apparently have to suffer).

Sunrise – Sloan’s Lake

Sloan’s Lake is one of the best parks in Denver to catch a beautiful sunrise (or sunset) with a beautiful backdrop of the city’s skyline to the east or mountain foothills to the west. And of course, the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival celebrating the Asian American Pacific Islanders culture is held there in July. If you missed our most recent post sharing pics from the festival, click here.

Sloan's Lake

On Mom’s latest walk around the lake, she discovered some leftover Dragon Boats moored in the lagoon. She said the surface was very calm and the clouds beautifully reflected on the water.

Sloan's Lake

I told her she’s getting a bit obsessed about the lake but to each his own, right? The two boats on the right though kind of reminded me of the Loch Ness monster. Come on, am I wrong? But she was right on about the reflections that day.

Sloan's Lake

You’re probably wondering just how did Sloan’s Lake come into existence in the first place. Even Mom didn’t know about its origins. Seems that before the 1860s there was no lake there, because the South Golden Road ran through the area, which  connected Denver to the nearby western suburb, Golden.

So let’s take a look at the history of Sloan’s Lake, shall we? In December of 1866, under a newly passed piece of legislation known as the Southern Homestead Act, Thomas M. Sloan applied for and received a land patent from then President Andrew Johnson’s administration with the intent to use the land for agricultural purposes and cattle-raising. It is widely reported, though never confirmed, that Sloan dug a well which inadvertently tapped into an underground aquifer, and he woke the next day to a portion of his property being flooded which then flooded a portion of that road. A realignment of the road, now known as Colfax Avenue on the southern portion of the park and lake occurred. For folks who don’t know, Colfax is known as the “longest continuous commercial street in America” as the major east-west thoroughfare for the western portion of the city. But according to a gold rush era stagecoach driver, Bill Turner, there is some dispute to the origins of the lake. According to Turner, the lake appeared sometime between when he left for Kansas in June 1861 and when he returned in early 1863 according to reports appearing in the Golden Transcript newspaper in 1909. It is possible that Sloan occupied the land prior to receiving his patent, however, it seems highly unlikely that Sloan would have applied for a patent if it was underwater and even less likely that a patent would have been granted under the Act.

In the summer of 1881, a small amusement park and swimming facility opened to the public. “Manhattan Beach”  was the first amusement park to open west of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the park suffered a devastating fire 17 years later but was rebuilt as “Luna Park” later in 1908. Mismanagement and competition from nearby Elitch Gardens and the Lakeside amusement park, led Luna Park to close in 1914. A body of water called Cooper Lake (origins unknown), was a separate body of water southeast of Sloan’s Lake, fell under the jurisdiction of the federal WPA (Works Projects Administration created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930’s as part of the New Deal) and a plan was hatched to dig channels linking the two bodies of water, creating the Sloan’s Lake we know today. The combined size of both lakes is 177 acres (0.72 km2), reduced from its initial 200 acres, since portions of the lake were filled north of 25th Avenue and west of Sheridan Boulevard.

So that’s the history that Mom discovered about her favorite place, but let’s see some pics of what else is going on around Sloan’s. Mom discovered gobs of Barn Swallows vigorously defending their mud condos and new babies. You can barely see a little head peeking over the nest, no doubt wondering why she felt it necessary interrupt his breakfast since its parent flew away as soon as she saw Mom move closer. Birds? More like little piglets-what messy houses, but apparently quite strong. I’m not sure I’d issue a building permit, but it seems to suit these birds.



Sloan’s Lake is a refuge many other birds as well. Canadian Geese have a huge presence there as do many other kinds. This Mallard seemed to yell at Mom to move along and let him sunbathe in peace. He looks like he’d make a fine Christmas dinner to me, but I digress. Yum, drool {smacking my lips at the mere thought}.

Birds - Mallard

On a sad note, once again the city posted caution signs about the water being off limits due to another case of Blue-Green Algae. It always makes Mom sad when she sees the signs but understands with the recent warm temperatures, lack of wind, lots of sunlight and plentiful nutrients like phosphorus from fertilizer runoff, those conditions almost always create a new fresh bloom. It’s pretty gross, isn’t it? Can’t imagine anyone wanting to be out on the lake but people are people and Mom said she saw a few kayakers and people fishing from the shoreline. The sign cautions people and pets to avoid any contact with the water. You don’t have to tell me twice. I would rather set my hair on fire than get into any water, even if it wasn’t under a closed order.

Sloan's Lake
West View of the Lake

Health effects in people and animals when they come in contact with infected water whether by touching, drinking, or when airborne droplets are inhaled can cause various problems, such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation; allergic reactions or breathing difficulties, and even death in pets if they consume large amounts of the contaminated water.

On a separate note, because Mom and I monitor the number of days until the official arrival of Autumn (42 as of today), we came across this view near the Ranch earlier this week. We’re not sure if it means we’re transitioning quickly toward Indian Summer or if trees are simply stressed, but it sure peaked Mom’s interest since Autumn is her favorite season.


Both Mom and I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Rest assured though, we’ll be getting out to enjoy more slices of nature and maybe even return to Sloan’s Lake if it’s not too hot.



Hope springs eternal from this black, fur-coated, award winning correspondent. Wish us luck.

Whatever you do, we hope you enjoy it.


Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

51 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ August 11, 2023

    1. Thanks, guys. She got lucky that morning and actually had a decent camera with her for a change. 😉

  1. What an interesting story about the lake – I imagine there are a lot of bodies of water in the middle of nowhere that people have no idea HOW or WHY they are where they are! We have some yellow leaves on trees here too but we are SURE it’s not as much a reminder that Fall is not too far away as it is of STRESS due to the lack of “regular” rain around here this year. It’s been HOT and DRY and trees, shrubs and definitely our lawn are showing signs of saying “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! BRING ON FALL!”.

    hugs, Teddy and Mom Pam

    1. Just goes to show you can strike it rich if you dig deep enough, eh? 😊 We’re with you…bring on autumn Mother Nature. STAT!

  2. Beautiful pictures and fascinating history. I am always amazed at how birds can create nests that seem to sit like that on a slim beam. Wonderful that you captured a baby!
    That green sludge is definitely gross and I would not go in, that’s for sure.
    Have a fabulous weekend!

    1. Thank you. Birds create the most interesting nests, that’s for sure. Talk about architects! Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Yes, our wetlands also has problems with algae and even without that the water is not altogether safe for people to play in. There used to be model boat people who used the wetlands to sail their motorized boats, but not anymore. I often wonder how the ducks and swans survive. Apart from that, the photographs were great, and I enjoyed looking at them, and the history of the lake was interesting. I think my camera is about to sue me for abandoning it. Only 18 days to the start of Spring.

    1. Thank you. These bloom events are exacerbated by climate warming and will likely increase. It does give one pause as to how the birds survive and thrive. Your weather start improving for the upcoming season soon. Good for you!

  4. Elsa you look a little like Rita Skeeter in the Harry Potter movies with your fashionable glasses! We too have the algae but not much this year since it’s been windy and not super hot. Sloans Lake is beautiful. Chester and I have favorite places too and Chester gets excited when we turn down the street. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Thanks, you know I kinda DO look like Rita Skeeter come to think of it! Too funny. We hope you have a lovely weekend taking in all your favorite places.

  5. Those skies, all so beautiful and different. And that nest means some business doesn’t it? Nature!

    It’s kinda nice to see autumn peeking through.

    1. Nature has this ability to provide some amazing opportunities to see things outside the box, so to speak. I’m fascinated as to how creatures are able to function with a pile of sticks and spit!

      Autumn can’t arrive too soon for our tastes. We. Are. So. Over. Bloody. Summer.

      1. It’s art for free.

        That’s because these creatures are much more resourceful in many instances than their human counterparts.

        I understand LOL

        1. Especially in this neighborhood where the vast majority are entitled millennials who manage to grate on your last nerve. 😈

            1. Tell me about. Nothing worse than a whining millennial except one who also is a trust funder and think the world owes them special and pampered treatment. 😵‍💫

  6. Elsa, Do. Not. Go. In. Sloans. Lake. Shark! Did you notice the shark fin in the picture with the sunset? And if the shark doesn’t get you, the green slime will! Agh!!!
    Oh, and Mom said the leaves on our trees turn yellow and brown and fall off when it’s this hot, too. We’ve got quite a few down. But no sharks.

    1. We’re glad you have no sharks! A lake across town had a caiman (a kind of alligator) that someone dumped in. Things were pretty exciting for a few weeks while they tried to capture it. I promise you, there’s no way I’d ever get in that water. I’m no ordinary fool. 🤣

      P.S. that isn’t a shark’s fin, Mom checked-it was some branch that a boat dislodged. The lake is pretty shallow as far as lakes go, maybe only 10 feet deep.

      Your fur-iend,
      Elsa 🐾

        1. No sharks in Denver, at least not the kind that swim in water. There are like some who play poker and drink lots of bourbon, but none that we know of in lakes. 🤣

  7. It looks like a great place to go walking. Nelson has never been swimming as Mom says the water these days is too uncertain. We are not a water breed anyway, so it doesn’t really matter much to us. Maybe one day we will go to some water where he can get his paws wet. The ocean would be fun. Bailie has been in that water and said it was fun.

    1. Even though I am a water retrieving breed (in theory-complete with webbed toes), I pretty much avoid all swimming in lakes and that suits Mom just fine. She’d never let me get in the ocean if I wanted to-she says she has to be able touch the bottom with her feet. 😉

    1. Thank you. Cooler temps will help take care of the algae but we’ve had some toasty days this week. I don’t think I’ve seen it that bad. Good thing the city monitors it all the time. With our intense sunlight coupled with the altitude, it’s going to be consistent in the future what with climate change.

  8. Mee-yow WOW Elsa!! Yore too ADOORBSS with yore Sunny Glassess an Bandana!!! ROVIN Pooochie Reeporter!!!
    That Blue-Green Algae lookss UCKY!!!! Mee wuud not go anywhere neer it!
    BellaSita meowed to mee back when shee was a teenager (inn THE 70’ss) shee went swimmin inn Lake Ontario. There were no signss up…back then there nevurr were!
    Shee swam fore a furry long time. Once shee went back innto change from Bathin suit to clothess; shee say this greeny-blue sumtin all inn her bathin suit. Shee had to towel off an dress an leeve to get back home… no shower…..
    Longs story short: She gotted FURRY sick! Furamilee Doctur came to House an looked at bathin suit an checked BellaSita. Shee had sum sorta Algae innfection! Shee was sick an inn bed fore 2 weekss!
    Shee NEVURR Went back innto Lake Ontario again….. **shudderss** Poor BellaSita!
    Miss Monika THE hiss-tory of Sloan Lake iss fascinatin!!! Wee furry sorry THE algae iss there…..UGH!
    Sunrise foto is speck-taculur!
    ***nose bopss*** BellaDharma an {{{huggiess}}} BellaSita Mum

    1. Glad you liked the sunrise pic. It was absolutely stunning.

      Yeah, exposure to Blyue-Green Algae can be quite dangerous-your Mum was lucky. I know smaller pets can die. It’s been bad because of the heat, lack of wind and overuse of fertilizers on run-off definitely don’t help. We hope you have a good weekend. 🤞🏼

      1. Mee-yow Miss Monika an Elsa wee had Blue Algae south of us last few yeerss an peepell lost Poochiess from lettin them run inn THE water….iss so furry sad!
        So far Caturday has been nice….sum fumess; but not steady. BellaSita an mee watchin a frend streamin a game on Twitch an watchin Football an just reelaxin!!!
        Hope yore weekend iss goin well there…..

        1. Blue-green algae will no doubt become ongoing events, given the increase in climate change.

    1. Thanks, our pleasure to be able to share our happy place. Hope you have a good weekend and the temps start cooling down soon.

  9. Beautiful photos. I love viewing birds in nature. Too bad when water gets polluted because birds also need clean, and clear waters to enjoy. I hope you all have a great weekend too.

    1. Thank you! That park and lake are so special for us (even if the Canadian Geese aren’t very friendly). All our cares and woes just seem to evaporate when we go there.

  10. wow that was interesting… we read about a lot amusement places who had to close, we wonder… are people not always their to find amusements? we dogs would go efurry day to such a place, that’s for sure. I har you for the swallows… we have a mud palace over our entrance and use the back door now, till they start in southern direction… maybe we can create our own step in poo &goode luck comes to you saying… with shit on your head, you can place a bet … happy weekend to the ranch…

    1. At one time we think there were many amusement parks in Denver but human nature (i.e. greed and incompetence) makes them less prevalent these days. Plus they’re expensive to visit now. We stick to the free park with the big lake and watch the birds and hope they don’t drop ‘stuff’ on us. Those swallows seem to be extra messy, just like the Canadian Geese. You need to watch where you step. 😉

    1. Yeah, you don’t want that stuff on your paws, that’s for sure. Besides, birds are far more interesting than getting wet. 😉 Have a great weekend.

  11. It sounds like a wonderful facility for locals….those photographs, especially the reflections, were stunning.
    A pity about the algae…..when we were in France the rivers and beaches in Brittany were plagued with the stuff..runoff from the industrial scale pig farms.

    1. With the warming of the planet and overuse of fertilizers, sadly we can expect many more blooms. Too bad, it’s such a great place to relax in a hectic city life. Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Mom is always amazed at the sheer numbers of different birds. Mallards, Canadian Geese, Commerants, Barn Swallows, the list goes on and on. Clearly the lake serves them all well.

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