Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Sunday Snowshoe at Roughlock Falls

This afternoon we set out in hopes of getting in our first snowshoe of the year. Not exactly sure where it should take place we headed towards Kirk Road in Lead and thought about doing part of the Mickelson Trail but for some reason we kept traveling south. We debated heading over to the Englewood Trailhead but eventually we settled on the Roughlock Falls Trail, the place we were married. 

It's a beautiful hike and offers some really great photographic opportunities. Two things we really wanted to take advantage of today.

We parked at the trailhead, strapped on our snowshoes, wrangled up Wu and headed up the trail. It was late in the afternoon and the sun had already passed through the valley leaving it cloudy but remarkably warm. The path was narrow and packed and our snowshoes weren't a must but there was no way we were going to ditch them. Instead we widened the trail a bit and enjoyed the sound of our snowshoes moving through the loose powder.

Wu was in full maniac mode. He was off; rushing through the deep snow, rolling and burrowing. We hadn't seen him this happy in awhile. Each time we stopped to take photos he would come back to us and roll around acting like a walrus.

The trail itself meanders along the creek just inside the treeline for the mile up to the falls. About halfway up there was a snowshoe path leading into the woods and we headed that way. The snow was powder and the trail lead us closer to the cliffs that surround the valley. The woods were silent and peaceful. We hiked in for about ten minutes and still hadn't met the end and decided that with the sun so low in the sky we should head back if we wanted to see the falls before sunset.

We stopped a few times to take some photos and at one point I fell backwards into the snow. Wu thought it was great fun and ran laps around me as I pulled myself up and dusted off. Josh took to opportunity to laugh and take photos. Thankfully I didn't get wet! And we were on our way again.

The rest of the hike up was amazing. The sun was setting and reflecting an orange sheen off the water. The stream hasn't frozen over and with the heavy snowfall edging the running water it was like a page out of a storybook. Pristine. We were all alone on the trail and it felt like the whole valley was ours.

We came across a group of 15 or so Mallards were paddling and preening themselves in the stream. Happy to see them and share the afternoon we watched them for a few moments and moved on. It almost felt like we were interrupting something but they hardly even noticed us. Still, for a second it was like we were part of a world far removed from the streets of town. Nature is an inspiring and spiritual place.

When we made it to the waterfalls we took a few shots and tried to master 'waterfall photography'- apparently we still have a bit to learn. Regretfully, we headed back down the trail with the sun getting lower each moment. It didn't take us nearly as long on our way out as we had thought and we wished that the sun wouldn't set so we could keep on snowshoeing. It was a perfect way to spend our afternoon.

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