Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jun 21 – Ice Park and Hot Springs

It was a grey and cloudy day. Instead of hiking the whole perimeter trail that runs all the way around Ouray we were just going to do a few of the shorter more interesting sections.

It turns out that we only did one section and then decided to hit the hot springs.

The trail I selected, the Ice Park Loop, also turned out to be a bit of a dud. It was supposed to have good views of a gorge of the Uncompahgre River as it falls into town. The description said that you walk out one side of the gorge for about a mile, cross a bridge and walk back long the other side.

Well, on the walk up the first side we didn’t see the river once.

We started climbing the trail from the road. You can barely see Jennie in the top left corner about 1/3 in.


When we got to this spot a couple coming down the trail complained about the mosquitoes. So I quickly went back to the car for the bug juice.


It worked great. We were being swarmed at times but even Jennie never got a bite.

This is what the trail looked like until we got to the bridge.








Just upstream from the bridge is a small dam that feeds water to a small hydroelectric station in town via a long penstock.




We then followed the penstock back to town. The problem was that it blocked what little view there was.


I couldn’t hear much water running.


I almost ran into this little guy hanging by a thread from a tree.


There were a few views as the road climbed above the penstock for a while.




The trail is called the Ice Park Trail because, in the winter, people come and pay to go ice climbing here. I had seen a small white pipe running along the edge of the cliff. I finally figured out what it was for. Every so often I saw sprayers coming out of it so I guess like a ski hill has snow making this place has ice fall making.



As we got back close to the road I saw that there was a platform and railing along the penstock. It was one of many sections of the ice park. I headed down to walk along it while Jennie stuck to the road.


This was supposedly the learning / teaching area. You can see the a bridge across the destination road in the background.




It turned out that the best views of the hike were from the bridge.



We sat on some benches just downstream from the bridge for lunch.


I had thought about renting a Jeep for the day in Monday. I looked online and the websites seemed to say that they do not rent to non US citizens for insurance reasons. I went in to one of the company offices to see what was up.


It turns out that European car insurance does not cover rental cars. I think it was the first time a Canadian had asked because I assured her that my insurance does cover rentals in the US. To convince her I had to go online, using her computer, to show her the details of my policy, the coverage limits and the explicit statement about US rentals. She printed everything out and said OK.

So we have a two seater Jeep rented for Monday but all they had left was one with a manual transmission. It has been a while but I should be OK.

She asked if I had any previous 4 wheeling experience. All I could say was that we had been up to Yankee Boy Basin yesterday. She was very surprised that we had made it to the top in the CRV.

On to the hot springs which are just at the north edge of town. The pools are artificial but are fed by a spring. They have many different temperature pools. Of the three we used, one was normal swimming pool temperature, one was warmer and one was hot tub temperature.

Time to break out the waterproof camera. The warm one was just right for Jennie.



Guess which one this was.


But she got in for a while.


I actually liked the coolest one the best.


After about an hour and a half we were thoroughly pruned up and head home.

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