hiking

Set my watch-alarm – no need today – woke early to other 4WD vehicles struggling up the boulder-littered trek to Bridal Veil Falls.  Cool morning temps, dusky predawn sky.  Telluride HIKE day!

Mile drive (from last night’s sleepover).  Parked; positioned third roadside.  Spots fill fast (& ranger patrolled).  You’re late, you hike – an additional 2 ½ miles UP.  Crawled thru the gate at Bridal Veil Powerhouse (built in 1907 to power Smuggler-Union Mine).  Would snap a pic of the Falls on the hike return.  Tall evergreen (pine & spruce), lush undergrowth (fern & wildflower) AND….waterfalls.

Would see more waterfalls on today’s trek than any previous Colorado hike in my life.

Relatively short 5.4 miles roundtrip.  Blue Lake wasn’t my original hike destination – one left turn when I should have veered right, log-crossed Bridal Veil Creek.  Bluest blue water, absolutely no regrets.

Open meadows of wildflower, canyon wall backdrop.  Waterfall, waterfall, waterfall.  WOW.  Top 10 Colorado hike location.  If only Telluride were closer – so many hikes, so little time.  I see a week-long backpack adventure in my summer future.

Unleashed Ro early on (slept much of the drive home).  Up trail, down trail.  Run, run, run.  Poised high on rocks above, bouncing thru field flowers trying to flush out wildlife (chipmunk & grouse).  Happy dog, happy life ❤

Altimeter topped at 12,400ft.  Mountain walls reflected off Blue Lake’s quiet clear surface.  Crazy beautiful.

Dropped off trail.  Waded thru a tall cascading waterfall, explored an abandoned mining cabin.  Bridal Veil Falls tourist shot snapped – check, done.  $3 shower at Town Park in Telluride, money well spent 🙂  SUPER FUN DAY!

Left early/drove 7 hours straight to avoid next day’s holiday traffic crunch.  Reward?  Monday cookout at Ash & Tom’s.  Burgers & pasta salad [black bean burger/non-cow eaters].  Afternoon’d w/ daughter at the family puzzle du jour.   Happy Labor Day 2017!

 

 

Blue Lake Trail-Telluride

 

 

Louisville ⇨Valley View Hot Springs

Labor Day: unofficial start to Autumn.  For us snow lovers…almost made it thru another summer 🙂

3 day holiday.  Staying ‘local’ this year, road trippin’ Colorado’s Western SlopeTrip highlight: hiking in scenic Telluride – yep, another high-elevation ski town mountain-etched by massive canyons [the San Juans].  Aspen, Crested Butte & now Telluride – been an outstanding Colorado summer.

Friday 5pm.  Work ends, holiday begins.

Packed, picked up the Pup, on the road by 6 – along with most of my Front Range neighbors.  Argh.  Camping holiday.  Needed to check into my site by 10pm.  Valley View folks were mighty nice to hang around ‘til 20-past.  Otherwise would have started my adventure with a hefty night hike, parked on the wrong side of a chained cattle-gate.  As it was, struggled to pitch-tent in the dark.  Mighty remote.

Woke Saturday morning to quiet Colorado paradise.  Dry arid landscape, mix of evergreen & cacti.  Natural hot springs tucked between the Great Sand Dunes & Gunnison National Park.  Hiked thru fields of sunflower, lapsing 30-45 minutes at each naturally heated pool.  Meadow Pond, Waterfall Pond, Top Pond, Party Pond…whole lotta warm-water bubbling.

Pupster begged, no one around.  I relented.  Happy dog-paddling pup.

Valley View Hot Springs ⇨Telluride

 

Our most remote ponds are up a short, but steep trail. Most take about twenty minutes to trek the ¼ mile trail to the Top Ponds. Guests agree these peaceful, bubbling warm waters make it the trip well worthwhile. It’s a series of three (almost four) ponds flowing one into the next. The top-most pond fills about two feet deep and offers ample space to find a corner to one’s self. Its water cascades down to join more warm source water beneath a large tree providing shade throughout the day. Water temperatures vary dramatically as these ponds mix with more snow-melt and runoff than our other sources. In recent months, temperatures ranged from 98°F to 107°F.

Showered, on the road by 1pm.  Quick detour in Villa Grove.  Small 3-building town – but one of those buildings advertised pie.  Never miss an opportunity for pie ❤

3 hours of winding byway.  Poncha Springs, Gunnison, fuel/sanity break in Montrose.  Ridgway, Placerville, Sawpit, Telluride.  Campground, no room in the Inn.  Soooo many people…Telluride Film Festival.  Who knew?

Opted to drive toward Bridal Veil Falls – tomorrow morning’s hike launch.  Mile-half of dirt & boulders (4WD trek).  Secured an overnight pull-off, clouds grayed, evening skies opened.  RAIN.  Car-camped high above Telluride.  Nite 2 elevation: 10,000ft+.

 

 

 

Master went to Grasshopper.

Too much time on the road Monday in Wyoming.  Wanted to hike this weekend, just didn’t want to drive to get there.  Ash recommended Herman Lake, an alpine hike above tree-line – chock full of wildflower & only an hour-half from home.  Check, done.

Early Saturday start.  Full tank of gas, backpack, Ro in the backseat.  Beautiful Colorado day.

Handful of exits past Georgetown, one away from Grays.  Dirt trailhead parking lot right off exit 218: Herman Gulch Trail.  Steep hike on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail), BESTEST way to celebrate National Dog Day 2017!

Forewarned ‘bout 2 Start complaints: highway noise & a HUGE initial climb.  Check & check.  Butted right against I-70, traffic noisy/distracting/easy-to-hear from Colorado’s east-west thruway.  Drops off quarter to half-mile in.

1000 foot grind UP UP UP from the parking lot.  Think daughter felt vindicated after I shared my elevation stats.  AND no Colorado switchbacks this trek, just a direct push UP.  Settled/caught my breath, sucked down a liter of water, elevation bit shy of 11,000ft.  Trail emptied into high alpine meadow.  AWESOME hike!

Steady gradual UP ‘til our lake destination, never really noticed.  Mountain decorated/dressed in colour.  Lush summer vegetation.  Evergreen: pine, spruce, juniper.  Wildflowers EVERYWHERE, every shade.  Absolutely beautiful.

Good for the head.  Surrounded by sheer MASS, felt small again.  Inner peace.

It’s not Herman Lake’s size, but its location – spongy tundra border, framed-in by Pettingell Peak.  Cold wind blew, snow a short 3 weeks away.  Nature knows.  Backed against a boulder, Ro tethered to my belt, lunched in the Colorado Rockies at 12,000ft.

No other place on Earth ❤

 

UPDATE:  Home by 2pm Saturday.  Grocery shopped, cleaned house/laundry, Sunday church – AND Patsy Cline.  Ok, not THE Patsy Cline (she’s been gone since 1963) but a 2-hour two-Act matinee of the lady’s music at Longmont Community Theatre.

I’m not just ‘marathon man’, I’ve got an artsy side too 🙂

 

 

Today, Tomorrow & Forever‘, a Celebration of Patsy Cline (audio only)

 

 

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