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[cdt-l] An early winter's tale



The weather in Colorado has turned into winter; but
not the Colorado winters I have become accustomed with
over the years. Instead the weather has been akin to
what I grew up with in Rhode Island. The powdery snow
coming down as gentle flakes has been coming down as
sleet instead.  Black ice covers the roads as night.
A layer of ice coats windshields in the morning.
Instead of intense sunshine and vibrant blue skies the
day after a snow storm, has been a constant grey sky
with mist everywhere since this past Thursday.
It is the kind of weather that can be described as
raw; the weather is felt to the bone.

It is with this type of weather that I went to the
mountains. The hike for the day was a casual one to
Ouzel Falls in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mtn
National Park. The falls were chosen for a few
reasons. The falls are pretty to look at, the
elevation grade is gentle, the hike is only about 6
miles R/T. A person joining us for the day has been in
Colorado for only a month (from Indiana). This hike
was a perfect intro hike for someone new to Colorado.

After my usual breakfast for a day in the Colorado
backcountry (dark roast coffee, a bagel sandwhich), we
drove up to Wild Basin and parked at the trail head.
The last time I was at this trail head was in July.
Considerably less cars on this grey November day.

As mentioned, the day was overcast, with the sun
trying to peak out. The woods had a slight coating of
snow. Some of the trees were even glazed over with
ice.
We walked up the trail head into the pleasant woods.
The day was relaxing, if not overly dramatic. Good to
be outside - stretching the legs and being in the
cold, invigorating air. Our friend was enjoying the
hike, with a break every now and then to let her not
get too winded at 9000' elevation. 

Reached the falls, admired the way the ice formed
around the gushing water. As we relaxed and enjoyed a
bite to eat, it started snowing.  No matter, brought
my trusty thermos full of hot mocha. Ate some
chocolate and we packed up and made our way back to
the car.

We ended the day by going to the Estes Brewery.
Celebrated the first hike of winter with a dark
porter. I am sure there more hikes (and post-hike
beers)will follow.

A few pics at:
http://gallery.backcountry.net/cowint04

Mags

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The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched
--Thoreau