Sunday, June 03, 2012

2011 - July 12th - Rifle Falls State Park

I took a trip to Rifle Falls State Park early on a Tuesday morning in July (2011) with my friend Shannon. The weather was cloudy and somewhat drizzly and I was looking forward to some good waterfall photography.  We went early to take advantage of early light and also so that she could be back in Grand Junction for work that afternoon.

We arrived at the park before the ranger but there were several people there already.  After paying the lofty admission fee, we wandered in.  I was surprised by the size and force of the falls, which had looked smaller in pictures. 

Similar to Hanging Lake, which I've visited in this blog several times ago, Rifle Falls is formed by mineral deposits attendant in the water.  This is known as travertine.

I set up and tried to take longer exposures, but it was simply too bright out for my camera's aperture.  It is a point-and-shoot, after all. 

We continued exploring for a while under a light mist and found the entrance to a cave.  I had fortuitously packed my headlamp and an additional flashlight, so we climbed in.  We were surprised to find a large chamber where we could easily stand and walk around.  I set up a few shots with the tripod.

Shannon looking ghostly.

After leaving the caves, we hiked to the top of the falls and looked around for a while.  We decided to take different ways down and I paused behind a small stream for a close-up shot of the clear water.  It turned out to be one of my favorites from the day.

Back at the base of the falls, I attempted to get some longer exposures again.  The results were not great, but I'm going to share them anyway...

It was a little misty at times...

I'm usually rather ambitious when it comes to trip-planning and as a result, I thought we might have time to hike to Rifle Arch which is not too far away.  We left the park and headed on over, with an absolute turnaround time.  When we hit the trail, we hiked fast. 

It soon became apparent that we were not going to make it to the arch in time.  Both of us were huffing and puffing as we almost jogged along the trail.  Eventually, we settled on a view of the arch and then turned back. 

Rifle Arch

On the way home, we stopped at Sonic and I had a burger that had ridiculously hot jalapeños on it and we also came very close to running out of gas in her car.  It was nip and tuck but still fun.

Here's a map of the Rifle Arch hike.  We just kind of wandered around Rifle Falls, so a map wouldn't be useful.