Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Pilgrimage for Mary in May

Six of us went on a walking pilgrimage last Friday of Memorial Day weekend. We decided to walk from Arvada to downtown Denver, a distance of a little over 8 miles. We parked at a commuter lot in Arvada so that we could take the RTD home again. Our plan was to leave Arvada early enough so that we could make it to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in time for noon Mass. Unfortunately, we left about an hour after we had intended to leave, so we were compelled to begin our hike with a brisk walking pace.

We began on urban sidewalks, passing by quaint houses with lovely gardens.
We crossed over Wadsworth Boulevard on the new Grandeview overpass.

Walking along Grandview Avenue in Arvada.
Walking enables you to see things you wouldn't normally see from a car. The eldest son immediately took the lead and frequently had to wait for his slower companions.

The urban setting quickly gave way to the Ralston Creek bike trail, where we enjoyed nature just a stone's throw from the sounds of highways.
Ralston Creek is flowing rather high today.

Signs of industry just off the trail.
So green and lush, it's hard to believe we're in Colorado!

The trail passes under a railroad bridge.

We enjoyed seeing nature and walking in the cool morning.
We had a bit of a shock when we saw Nessie, popping up her head to see who was invading her turf.

Much to our relief, it wasn't the Loch Ness Monster after all.

A bit of Arvada's Gold Rush history. This is located at Gold Strike Park, where there is a lovely bridge and the Ralston Creek Trail connects to the Clear Creek Trail. This is also the site of the first documented gold strike in Colorado in 1850.
The first of four beautiful pedestrian bridges.

We've left the Ralston Creek trail and we're now on the Clear Creek trail.
The overpass for I-76.

Clear Creek is especially high today.

After following the bike path under I-76 and seeing examples of local artisans, we once again left the trail for Tennyson Street, which took us past lovely houses and a great view of Lakeside Amusement Park.

One-half mile to Tennyson Street.
Lovely view of Lakeside Amusement Park.

Couldn't resist snapping a pick of St. Clair's.
Tennyson passes under I-70 and we followed it to 46th Avenue, which is a lovely, wide and tree-lined street for most of the nearly 2 miles we spent on it. As we neared the city, we began to see more Italian and Mexican restaurants. We spotted more than a few tamale places to which we'd like to return.
Some of our group were lagging behind.
While others were leading the charge.
Who decided to paint the funeral home?
Thanks for waiting, guys!

The first sighting of downtown. We're a bit over half-way there!

We're getting closer! Union Station can be seen above the end of the street.
Are we there yet? I'm getting hungry!
We'll have to go back to this place, for sure! But it was getting on towards 11:30 and we had to get to noon Mass. Crossing the pedestrian bridge over I-25. Feel the rumble! My husband gave me a kiss as I was looking at the traffic and a trucker blew his horn as he passed underneath. I nearly jumped out of my socks.
Ever onward. Despite what some critics have said, I think this is a beautiful bridge and it was incredible to walk across. But on the other side we found...
A Christmas tree made out of kidney beans? Some people love it; some people hate it. Here's a video of the artist talking about this work. Straight from the horse"s mouth.
Yours truly.

The Platte.
The next bridge we crossed was this pretty little bridge which crosses the Platte River. Further down, you can see yet another bridge, (the tall white mast) which crosses the train tracks near Union Station and the 16th Street Mall.
We decided to hitch a ride on the free Mall Ride to get to the end and closer to our final destination of the cathedral. The shuttle covered about 1 1/2 miles in ten minutes, helping us cover the final distance in a shorter amount of time in order to get to Mass on time.

The FREE Mall Ride!

The shuttle dropped us off near the state capitol building with it's gold-leaf covered dome. It was just a short walk up capitol hill to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass during World Youth Day 1993.
A new statue commemorating JPII's visit to the cathedral.

Schedule of Masses.
This statue of Mary's Assumption is on the east side of the cathedral.
The interior of the cathedral.

Finally, here's a shot I took last winter when our homeschool group had a tour of the capitol and we were able to climb up into the dome. You can see the cathedral quite well from up there.

After Mass and visiting with a friend,* we walked back down 16th Street Mall to look for a suitable place to celebrate our great achievement. We dined at Rock Bottom Brewery, Giovanni and I had their beer on tap, while the kids enjoyed their home-made root beer. The meal was scrumptious and worth every mile (8.5) we walked.

After that fine repast, we walked a couple of blocks to find our bus ready to leave for Arvada. It was a very lovely and enjoyable pilgrimage for Our Lady!

*Funny and true story, and one I hope a dear reader will be able to solve: Our friend was telling us that she spent last Christmastide in Cambridge, England, visiting her son, who is a fellow at Cambridge. While there, she went to a parish church, where she waited in line for confession one afternoon. She took up a conversation with a fellow penitent, who, upon hearing her accent, asked her where she was from. "Denver," she replied.

"Oh, I know someone from Denver," said the penitent.

"Oh, really?" said my friend, thinking to herself that Denver is a pretty large city.

"Yes," she said, and she proceeded to relay our family name to our friend.

Just curious: anyone out there been to confession in Cambridge lately?


SAHMinIL said...

Love the house in the tree!!!

Anna said...

I loved these shots!! what a great idea, and you captured it splendidly!

Jennifer V said...

Our family was talking about hiking this weekend and we never considered an urban hike. What a great idea! I'm wondering how long it took you to do this. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie said...

We left the Park and Ride at 8:50 a.m. (about an hour after we had planned to leave!) and we arrived at the cathedral at 11:50 a.m. We ended up taking the shuttle for about 10 minutes (1 1/2 miles) but retraced our steps to the restaurant afterwards, so our total walking time comes to about 3 hours and about 8 1/2 miles!