Yesterday we had a visit from my father’s cousin and her husband. They live in Golden, Colorado just outside of Denver. We went out and had a nice lunch at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Since we went in their car, it was a break from our routine and none of us remembered to bring a camera. We explored the hotel afterwards and then went for a walk along the riverfront in town. When they came back to the RV for some coffee we still forget to take even one picture. We will probably go down and visit them in Golden sometime next week.
Later in the afternoon we got some very heavy rain and high winds so we just stayed inside and watched.
Since it has been about a week since we have done a “real” hike today I picked one of the easier ones. We headed down to the southeastern corner of the national park to the Wild Basin Area. We did the 9 km return trip to Ouzel Falls. The trail follows North St Vrain Creek past several small waterfalls and cascades to gently climb 950 vertical feet to Ouzel Falls.
Since it is the weekend the park is very busy, although I think it will even be busy during the week. This is a very popular trail so we managed to get to the trailhead by 8:30 am. It was a good thing we did because I think we got one of the last 4 spots in the main parking lot which can probably hold about 40 cars.
Because the road into the trailhead is single lane, very narrow and dirt, if this lot is full you have to park quite a ways from the trailhead in several small overflow areas.
Our first stop was Lower Copeland Falls.
Then of course Upper Copeland Falls.
We tried to get down to the creek whenever there was access.
Somebody put a lot of work into these steps.
For some reason, there is a hiking pole stuck into the end of the log in the center of the picture above.
More hard work on the path.
One of the destinations on the trail where some people turnaround is called the Calypso Cascades. It was nice but I am glad we continued.
Our only view of a mountain on this trail.
And our first view of the falls.
The trail used to continue via a bridge across the creek. Last year a flood washed the bridge away so everyone just scrambles up the rocks long the creek edge to get closer to the main falls.
This is the place that most people stop.
The more adventurous climb up near that guy over Jennie’s head.
We picked a nice flat rock for an early lunch at around 11:00 am.
I saw that some people had managed to find a way up to the top of the falls by going farther up the canyon so off I went.
The jumble of logs, below, is at the top of the falls.
Looking down to Jennie. I tried to get her attention but the water was too loud. I even threw a twig down, not too close to her, and it just happened to land on a very surprised chipmunk.
Climbing back down to Jennie.
By now it was around noon and we could already see the dark clouds moving in so we headed back.
There were still lots of people heading in.
As we neared the car it started sprinkling enough that some people put there rain jackets on. We didn’t bother and it stopped pretty quickly.
This was a really nice hike. The climb was very gradual and even though we were good and tired at the end we were not wiped out.
Back at the RV we had a relaxing afternoon. After dinner the heavens let loose again to a heavy downpour with lots of thunder and lightning. It made for a nice sunset when it stopped.
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