There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Rocky Mountains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rocky Mountains. Show all posts

12 August 2017

Bear Creek Falls

A Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Christian all call water by different names, but it's all still just water.
These words echo in my head as I start the early morning hike up to Bear Creek Falls in Telluride, Colorado.

No more than ten minutes on the trail before I realize that my bear spray is still on my bed. I laugh uncomfortably to myself, say a pray for safety, and continue on. I have my intuition that will protect me.
For a Saturday morning, the trail is unbelievably empty. I see only a few other hikers as they pass me quickly and are gone from my view. I have this place to myself as I make the 2.5 mile journey to the Falls. I arrive as the sun starts to peak over the mountaintop.

I bathe in the waterfall spray.
No one intrudes my meditation principles up here. I rejuvenate in the clean air and forested beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Clouds start to form on my way back down, changing the landscape in dramatic fashion so that it feels like a new hike on the descent.
I knock out a 5 mile roundtrip hike before most people eat breakfast on a Saturday.

20 April 2017

The Durango Railroad

Trains are my favorite way to see the world. You get the old world nostalgia seeing the steam rise from the locomotive. Walking past the connected cars as you look for the stairs that will lead you to your seat.

Hearing that final "All Aboard!" call as The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad gets ready to leave the station.
The cars jostle rhythmically back and forth as we make our way up the mountains. Town fades into the distance, farms roll past my window, the ground starts to show the snow from winter.

I get lost in thought as the conductor tells stories of Durango's past.
Higher and higher we rise, and you can open the window to feel the cold slap your skin as you look down the at the sheer cliff's edge. We make hairpin turns as we carve through the mountainside. It's awe inspiring.
We come to the half way point and exit the train so that the engineer can maneuver the train in reverse to turn us around. As we walk in the snow along the river bank, you notice the greenish brown color of the water.

We learn it is from the mines that are still in the canyon, leeching out the toxic remains into the water. It's a sad reminder of the environmental cost of mining.
The train is finally ready for us to head on back. I take one last look at the mighty engine, it's robust machinery and strong back metal frame.
Train 473 is ready to ride the rails once again, bringing safe passage to it's occupants back to the city of Durango.

15 February 2017

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

The train depot, built in 1896, is where I pick up my ticket before getting ready to board the train that will take me on the second highest tracks in the USA.

The Leadville Colorado railroad train, already at an elevation of 12,500 feet, will rise another 1,000 feet on this train ride.

That's high my friends.
As I board, I find that I have my own seat in the caboose, all to myself. I sit back in the chair, open the window, and let the Rocky Mountain air cool my skin as the whistle blows.
The beauty of the Arkansas river valley below is stretched out before me as the train makes a wide turn that shows off her power. Two of Colorado's highest peaks, Mt. Ebert and Mt. Massive, create a spectacular view. A female deer and her young doe stare at me for a moment before hopping the tracks and disappearing into the trees.
After a bit we come to an old water tower, marking the mid-way point of our ride. You can see the Climax Molybdenum mine and Fremont Pass from here. I feel like I can see the entire State from this vantage point. A light rain starts to fall.
I head to the dining car to get a snack and see the other train cars. I walk drunkenly along the rickety cars, loving the side to side motion as the train rolls along.
The rains passes almost as quickly as it arrives. The air feels even fresher, if that was possible. My smile is not contrived, but a true reflection of how happy I find myself in this moment.
So, if you ever have the chance to ride a train, any train, I highly recommend it. The sweet sounds of "All Aboard!" may be just the ticket you are looking for.

18 November 2014

Hanging Lake

Heeding to the multiplicity of Internet warnings about limited parking at the popular trail head after 9am, I rise shortly before five to secure a spot. Good thing too, as I became a little confused as how to actually get to Hanging Lake from the Interstate.

Arriving a little after 6 in the morning, I find only two cars in the trail head parking lot, one of them being park maintenance. Rubbing my hands together for warmth, I take off along the Colorado River, following the short paved trail that leads to the start of one of Colorado's most popular hikes.
As the sun rises and lights up the tips of the mountain peaks, I stop to search for signs of Rocky Mountain Sheep. None can be found with these eyes, but I've no doubt of their presence above, and am certain that they at least smell, if not see me.

A less frightened creature, a squirrel, busy with the quickly approaching Winter, pays me no mind as he gathers a large mushroom top and scurries it up a tree to his home.

After about a 1/4 mile in, the trail starts it's steep ascent. I buckle down and focus my footsteps on the trail and my controlled breathing so I make it to the top.
Being only two miles to the lake, I make good time on the climb up, and stumble over the rocks to enjoy the sun hitting the water. The waterfalls cool the sweat dripping off my backside in buckets, even though it's only a little past seven now....
The hikers from the other car in the parking lot are heading down the trail as I arrive.

Perfect timing.

I have some breakfast as curious fish cross my lens before becoming skittish and dart underneath the protection of downed tree limbs.
Popular for a very good reason, Hanging Lake is a short but strenuous hike in Colorado's Rocky Mountains, and worth every step....
no matter what time of day.

 

07 September 2014

Hyperlapse through the Rockies

The fog was thick this morning at 5,280 feet. For those not in the know, that's one mile above sea level. My lungs feel a slight tightening pinch as I step outside, but I shake it off. I have adventure ahead of me.

I rev up the truck engine, navigate my way out of the Mile High City toward Interstate 70 and the incredible Rocky Mountains. No more than five minutes on the road and I'm above the fog, with nothing but crisp blue morning skies ahead.
It's funny that I've never been on this road before, since Colorado is my neighbor to the East. Regardless, I'm just happy to be back in the mountains. Armed with a fun new app and my girlfriend TP in the passenger seat, I hyperlapse my way through the Rockies for a weekend full of new adventures.