Friday, April 30, 2010

Ouzel Falls - April 27, 2010

Tuesday was so sunny, warm and calm, we just had to get out and enjoy the day. We haven't hiked much in the Wild Basin area just north of Allenspark, so decided to head up to Ouzel Falls. As novice birders, we now know it could have been named American Dipper Falls, but I'm glad they went with the more exotic sounding "Ouzel."

The hike is recorded to have 950 feet of gain over 2.7 miles, but since the access road was closed the distance ended up being a bit longer. For some reason the GPS in Mike's phone couldn't get a lock on our location, so we don't have a trail map or exact distances this time but we think our 7 hour hike covered about 7.5 miles round trip. With an ending elevation of 9,450 feet, the trail was completely snow covered by the halfway point. Micro spikes didn't help with the post-holing, so the hike was a better workout than we'd bargained for.

Just a few minutes past the trailhead, we came to the lovely Copeland Falls and played around taking pictures on the rocky shore. Interesting icicles hung from the edges of the waterfall, as well as from fallen branches near the water. As the trail continued along the North St. Vrain Creek, we passed snow-covered cascades with just a hint of flowing water flowing underneath. I especially enjoy all the little bridges in this area.

Further along, now in fairly deep snow, if was fun to see the "backside" of Longs and Meeker peeking out in bright sunshine to the north. We rested and had our lunch a short distance before Ouzel Falls, which we thought might be completely frozen, but the top section was flowing big time above the frozen ice formations below. It was so great to be surrounded by ice and snow, but no coats needed! We enjoyed our snack of raw almonds and dark chocolate (Green & Black 85%), climbed all over the rocks and generally goofed around for nearly an hour.

Gosh, how could it be almost 4 o'clock already! Gathering up our gear, we headed back down, stopping at Copeland Falls once more to do a long exposure shot in the late afternoon light. We made it back to Estes Park in time to watch the beavers along Fish Creek Road at around 7PM. What a great day!


Donna said...

Beautiful pictures, amazing writing! Thanks for sharing, Mike!

Mike Molloy said...

Thanks, Donna! Susan wrote this one up and I "developed" the pictures we both took.