Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mill-Castle Trail

Some people like to sleep in when they're on vacation. Frankly, I'm one of them. But then I think about the great things I could do if I weren't sleeping, and end up spurning the comfort of my warm bed and soft pillow. Such was the case on our last day in Colorado over spring break, when I got up before dawn to head out and snowshoe some of the Mill-Castle Trail.

Mill-Castle Trail
Temperatures had been unseasonably warm all week in both Denver and Crested Butte.  The sun was still partially obscured by thin clouds when I hit the trail, but with no wind to speak of the conditions were perfect.

Mill-Castle Trail
As usual, some dead wood caught my eye.  I can just get lost in the textures and patterns sometimes, and in this case I was also captivated by the colors.

Mill-Castle Trail
The trail slopes very gently over its first couple of miles, and while the snow wasn't fresh I thought there was exactly the right amount to create a beautiful late winter scene.

Mill-Castle Trail
The Castles themselves start playing peek-a-boo about a mile in, then the trail opens up into a valley that gives an unobstructed view.

Mill-Castle Trail
This is not a bad place to own 160 acres, though I imagine you can't reach it on anything with wheels for seven months of the year.  Of course, the five months that you can are probably totally worth it.

Mill-Castle Trail
The direction of the sunlight actually made the formation opposite The Castles more visually interesting.  More shadows and contrast.  And another nice little cabin in the foreground.

Mill-Castle Trail
Just a couple of miles in I decided to turn back and follow Mill Creek for a while instead of sticking to the trail.  This gave me the opportunity to get a little running water in the foreground of the scene.

Mill-Castle Trail
Traipsing through the snow on the south side of the creek meant breaking trail a bit, but the warm day made that a lot easier than it could have been.

My dilemma shooting aspens in the winter is always whether the images are more interesting in color or black and white.  I'm still not sure I have an answer to that one.

Mill-Castle Trail
Mill-Castle Trail
Nope.  Still decidedly undecided.

Mill Creek Road
The thin clouds of early morning had given way to mostly bluebird skies when I made it back to the trailhead.  Four miles in three hours isn't going to break any speed records, but speed was far from my goal.  Breathing some fresh mountain air and spending time in some wilderness were what I was after.  Mission very satisfyingly accomplished.

2 comments:

Tom Crosman said...

Nice. I grew up in Gunnysack. Love Mill Creek and the Castles.

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks! It's definitely a beautiful area. I need to plan a longer hike there in the fall sometime!