Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Judd Falls

I didn't have high hopes for the weather conditions in Crested Butte this past Saturday given the morning's thick fog. But surprisingly, by 10:00 the sun had burned through most of the clouds. That meant just one thing: Time for a hike!

Mt. Crested Butte
Before leaving I got some shots of Mt. Crested Butte wreathed in some of the lingering clouds.  It almost looks like a volcano here.

Mt. Crested Butte
Less volcano-like when you zoom out a bit.  But still striking.

White Rock Mountain
I think this is White Rock Mountain to the northeast.  I wonder if it will still have snow once the aspens have leafed out?  I guess you can't have everything.

Gothic, Colorado
Judd Falls was the destination for me and Zak, which meant another trip down Gothic Road.  Unlike two months earlier, this time we could drive.

Judd Falls Trailhead
But we couldn't get all the way to the trailhead.  Pretty close, but it was clear if we wanted to proceed that some postholing would be in our future.

Judd Falls Trail
I thought I'd read that the falls were just half a mile from the trailhead.  But after half a mile from where we'd parked we'd only succeeded in reaching another trail marker.  Zak found a sign pointing the way to Judd Falls close by, indicating it was ... half a mile away.  That's what happens when you read too fast and don't take notes.  But I suppose it could have been worse.

Mt. Crested Butte, Snodgrass Mountain
The trail ran parallel the road, with the falls back in the direction from whence we came.  Which meant a really striking view back towards Mt. Crested Butte and Snodgrass Mountain.

Judd Falls
While the distance was modest, the wet conditions made the going somewhat slow.  We were wondering aloud if the trek was even worth it when the falls finally came into view.  Technically we heard them first, with an impressive roar matched by an equally impressive sight.  They were much taller than we'd expected, and probably at about peak volume with all the runoff.

Judd Falls
We spent a while taking them in before heading back to the car, making a quasi-legal shortcut through Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory property to save a little time and elevation gain.  At two hours to cover the two miles we certainly weren't breaking any speed records.  But that hadn't been the point.  Taking advantage of what turned out to be a brief window of somewhat clear skies was, a mission we definitely accomplished.

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