Saturday, January 28, 2012

Timberline Falls

The mountains finally got some snow this week. So while most of Denver headed to the ski resorts (at least it seemed that way looking at the traffic on I-70), Josh Futterman and I made plans to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park for some snowshoeing. This was sunrise from Table Mesa Road in Boulder.

The ranger I talked to yesterday said it wasn't supposed to be too windy today. He lied.

Looking north toward the Mummy Range.

Nice view of Taylor Peak.

The Loch was easily the windiest area on the whole hike. Hard to tell from this shot, even though you can see the snow whipping around on Andrews and Taylor Glaciers. But it felt like getting sandblasted on the uncovered parts of my face.

This poor guy's hat blew off when he was about halfway across and made it all the way to shore. I was able to grab it for him, then asked if I could take a picture of his snotsicles because they were so awesome. I don't think I actually used the word "snotsicles," though.

Josh led almost the entire way. His poles were a greater asset for breaking trail than my camera.

The best part of having a companion is so they can provide some scale for your pictures. And so they can give you some of their food when you didn't bring enough. And some of their sports drink after you lost one of your water bottles sliding down a slope. And the whole trail-breaking thing mentioned above. And to make the whole day more enjoyable in general.

Not surprisingly, the going got tougher as we got higher.

Josh somehow spotted this ptarmigan against the snow. If I were a predator, I'd starve.

I understand Timberline Falls is somewhat more dynamic in the summer.

This was the "trail" leading from the falls up to Lake of Glass and Sky Pond, our planned destination. After four miles and 1,400 feet of elevation gain, I wasn't really feeling up to tackling this. Josh graciously agreed to turn back.

The Loch appears deceptively tranquil, but the wind was just as bad on the return trip. At least it was at our backs this time, but iceboats would have made the crossing go much better.

Josh said this picture looking back towards the Sharkstooth formation from the Glacier Gorge trailhead wouldn't come out because I was facing the sun. So I had to put it in here. Nyah, nyah nyah!

We covered the roughly eight miles in almost exactly five hours. It was easily the most tiring snowshoe trek I've ever done, and one of the more exhausting hikes in general. But still a blast as always. Here's to living in Colorado!

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