Sunday, April 01, 2012

2012 - March 18th - Hanging Lake Trail, Spouting Rock & Dead Horse Creek; White River National Forest

On day two of my cousins being in town, we headed for a Colorado favorite: Hanging Lake.  (Day one's adventure can be found here.) It's best to avoid the area during the summer months as the parking lot is often full.  Though it was a weekend day, the weather was not going to be nice.  I was hoping that it would detract the crowds.  I was lucky to visit on a very "dead" day last spring.  Of course, it was a week day and the weather was a little cool back then as well. 

Brian had to head back to the Front Range to study; he's in the last semester of his graduate program.  So, I thought it would be a good idea to go some place that would be on his way home and just have him follow us out there.

I think we all slept in a bit after the previous night's fun, which was probably good.  We hit the road by late morning under cloudy skies and I knew that we'd be facing rain in the afternoon when the cold front arrived and possibly more light warm air advection stratoform precip before then.

It's funny traveling with Brad and Brian.  Both are avid fishermen and they look at the rivers like I look at the skies.  I think there is a mutual respect of each other's passion.  

The parking lot was half-full as we arrived around noon.  Brian didn't have a lot of time to waste, so we immediately began our trek up the hill.  I decided to keep my camera stowed on the way up the hill to save time and only shoot on the way down, so Brian could go ahead if he was running short on time.

We found the trail to be muddy and quite icy in spots.  I witnessed several people fall on their hikes down.  Though the previous night's revelry did have some impact on my constitution, I trudged on up the hill and remained steady on  my feet.

There was more snow than on my previous trip, so that subtly altered the character of the trail, which was nice.  Another strange thing was that the water level in Dead Horse Creek was lower, but it was flowing in more areas.  Last time, the creek disappeared beneath the earth for several long stretches.  Perhaps, though the water level was lower, the ground was frozen which resulted in more surface water in spots.  That is just speculation.

It rained and snowed occasionally, but never heavily on the way up.  After reaching Hanging Lake, I waited for people to cease climbing out onto the long log which floats upon the surface and then paused for a few pictures.  Brad and Brian stared into the water and watched the trout (or char, perhaps) swim about.

I'm not sure what it is with Hanging Lake (and I found this last time as well), but I was having trouble being happy with my compositions.  On the bright side, or dark side I suppose, it was dark enough for longer exposures, so that is a plus.  Here are several pictures that I'm not necessarily sure if I like.  Enjoy. 

After hanging out at Hanging Lake for a bit (get it?), I wanted to show them Spouting Rock.  So, we hiked a little farther on the trail... it only takes a couple of minutes.  I was happy to see a giant ice pillar next to the falls, which still emerge directly from the face of the rock.  At some times of the year, an additional waterfall pours off the top of the cliff.  The ice pillar is a result of that flow.  We spent some time looking around and I took probably too much time trying to get some good images.  I have trouble deciding which ones are more presentable, so I've posted quite a few.  

I could tell Brian was ready to get on the road, so I tried to put my camera away, but not before getting a few more shots.  I was crouched behind a rock, against the wall to get the best angle when a woman walked up.  Apparently she didn't see me until she was right on top of me, because she jumped about a foot in the air.  I captured a couple of good frames from that spot, though.

The drizzle continued as we began our trek down the canyon.  I stopped once more at the top of the falls over Hanging Lake for a couple of shots.

Rain & Snow obscuring the view.

On our way down, I ran into a young lady that didn't have a camera.  I awkwardly tried to explain how to get to my blog.  (Hope you got a chance to check out the photos!)  It made me realize that I need to have an easier name than "bigskyconvection" ... thus my eventual pull toward "alwayschasing."  Too bad I'm paying for hosting on the former and everything is already locked down there, including all of my old blog entries.  Eh, I'll figure it out some time... anyway, back to the trip.

Poor Brian did biff it once on the way down and luckily, I believe, didn't do any further damage to his arm.  I saw plenty of others fall too on the icy path, but I remained on my feet.  It was very difficult not to stop at every little riffle in the creek and take pictures, though I did stop at a few.

Once at the bottom, Brian headed back to Denver and me and Brad wandered on in to Glenwood Springs for a late lunch.  We were referred to Vicco's Charcoalburger.  I was hoping for a place to sit down and eat but I didn't realize it was a drive-in until we arrived.  At that point, I was too hungry to go some place else.  We originally planned on eating outside, but the cold front arrived at that moment...  FROPA! ...and ruined any thought of that.  It was incredibly windy!  So, we ate in my car.  Honestly, I wasn't a big fan.  Both Brad & I had mushroom & Swiss burgers.  They use fake American-style Swiss cheese, though, which is awful.  The smoke sauce was decent, but the burger overall was kind of disappointing.  The chocolate malt was runny and unpleasant as well.  We had full bellies, though, so I suppose that's all that really mattered.

On the way back, we battled light rain and wind with occasional bursts of heavy snow.

We topped off the evening by watching John Carter of Mars, which was pretty good.  A lot of it was shot in Utah and I recognized several areas which I told Brad we'd be driving by on the next day.  Our plan was to visit Arches.

Here's a useful map:



Brad Pascoe said...

Dann, great pictures of the lake. I didn't realize you were such a food critic though :).

sknr31 said...

the pile of snow underneath the water fallin is sooo awesome! The first couple of the pond/lake are gorgeous, nice posts! Were there any fish in that lake? since they were fishermen.

Dann Cianca said...

Brad: Food is worth exploring too. It's part of the adventure!

Skinbot: It's a big ice pillar, slowly being eroded by the water. There were some small trout/char in the water, I believe.