|Hiking||8.00 Miles|| 6 Hrs || ||1.68 mph|
|1,183 ft AEG|| 1 Hour 15 Mns Break|| || |
This hike gets Five Kokopelli's, I see now why this is one of the most popular trails in the area. We ended taking advantage of the free roadside pullouts probably a 1/2 mile or so from the trail head, above the bridge.
Where the trail/old jeep trail first leaves the creek side we intentionally stayed creek side via an easy to follow trail. It was an easy to make decision because the actual trail looked pretty choked with rocks. Staying close to the creek we noticed that much of bench above the east bank is/was being used as pretty nice camp sites. Eventually this trail throws you up to rejoin the actual trail. As a side note on the way back down we tried coming back on this path but ended experiencing another stretch of the creek equally as beautiful. Both had a bounty of different falls and camping on the east side seemed accessible there to. The latter trail got a little hard to follow and ended up bringing us back up again to the actually trail head less than 1/8 from the first trail did. We opted to just stay on the 285 for the rest of the portion that we had missed coming up.
We saw a lot of black furry caterpillars that one bold brown/Cinnamon colored stripe, will identify soon (Wooly Bear/Tiger Moth larvae; A myth, apparently debunked is that the size of the stripe could determine severity of coming winters). I need to identify a snake we saw that we spooked, without intending too, but jumped into the creek water and swam like he was born to, he was small probably a juvenile, purplish gray with dark spots with an overall dark colored snake, perhaps a type of Garter snake. There was a good apportionment of bipeds, though not overwhelming, perhaps a little pushy at times. We drank the spring water right from the mouth of the spring. The water we drank we collected in a Ziploc bag we brought with us, not expressly for this purpose, because I never imagined Wendi would drink it but she sure did. It helped that a complete stranger filled his container first cause I am never the example she trusts when comes to what she should consume, I will likely eat anything. Case in point, I am still trying to determined whether the vine we are seeing are in fact really Canyon Grapes so after squishing on my inner arm and waiting for reaction, then on a subsequent day putting one under my tongue also no reaction I finally yesterday ate one. They were small but seemed to be visually ripe, but bitter and not grapey at all. I suspect the early winter might have had an effect but who knows. We also, and this was drive up to the hatchery after the hike, got to see a herd of Elk on the roadside. We pulled over and watched them graze. Add to the mix plenty of squirrels and a pair of Steller's Jays.
We crossed the creek near top, just passed the intersection with the Highline and after scrambling under a log that block the patch we approached the springs form the east. In doing this we came across a man-made catchment that had what I assume had it's own spring water feeding it. The wall was very mossy and wet and the water very clean, and a quiet spot. I am not sure if every one finds this spot but we did. The main springs are by contrast a busy little spot and gushing with water. The experience of drinking the water was like drinking the filtered water from our refrigerator except of course without the loss of all the minerals.
Aside from the falls there was another naturally occurring feature that caught Wendi's eye that I was really impressed with. On the way back down she caught glimpsed of huge fallen tree that once choked up the creek but now has been beaten by the many years of sediment and rock that rose against it. Now the tree is just another of the many beautiful falls that this creek showcases. The cascades over the glistening curves of the tree make a very singular sight. I was amazed that the tree has survived long enough in the water to accumulate so much sediment. I imagine that the water must have surged at some point but none the less a very beautiful scene.
If you're looking for fall colors there sections of the east bank that had some striking reds and yellows but they were in sections where the trail had left the creek. I went off trail a bit to get closer but I was left wanting to get even closer but there was no trail and the pine needles seemed at least a foot deep. I returned to the trail. Oddly enough some of the best examples of fall colors found on trail was the Poison Ivy, I had to resist the urge to collect the leaves.
|The Tree of Understanding, dazzling, straight, and simple, sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It. - Wislawa Szymborska, "Utopia"|