One of our favorite six-mile loops takes us down a washboard dirt road past gravel works, old homesteads, and a marshy nature preserve. The Arapaho Bend Natural Area, a haven for migratory birds as well as our usual bands of year-round Canada geese, was reclaimed from old gravel pits and named after the Arapaho natives who once gathered under the cottonwoods. The homesteads, long abandoned, were among the earliest claims in this area of the city. But look past the still-active gravel works, ignore the hum of the interstate highway farther east, and see the reminders: concrete silos, twin sentinels of time; a loafing shed, slowly collapsing back into the earth; a drunken sloop of metal roof, creaking in the breeze. A chain-link fence surrounds the charred remains of the James Strang Cabin, hastily erected after someone started a “campfire” inside the house in 2002. Not much protection against human predators, and certainly not against time.