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Sunday, 30 July 2006
Thursday: The GREAT day!!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

Thursday is when everything came together.  Thursday is the reason for this blog, the reason I don't want to ever forget this trip!!

The dayhiker's guide said this route would be the shortest way to see the best scenery, and once again, they were right on.  I saved this for the last, because I thought it would be the longest, but after the fiasco that was Tuesday, I knew I could handle this!!  Plus, I was much better prepared:  2 apples, 2 liters of water and some other food in my pack today.  Kind of heavy, but....

The day starts out like yesterday, but no waiting for the sun, I take off immediately on arrival.  Start out with the same route, and I saw the cutoff coming, but my GPS beeped me to make sure I didn't miss it.  God bless my GPS!!

Hiked up to my highest level yet, 10,711 feet!!  I'm up above the snow line now!  Wasn't a real easy climb, but better than Tuesday's steps, plus it was still early, still cool, and I'd had plenty of rest.  Once I hit the top at mile 3, it was easy-peasy downhill all the way to the end at mile 10.

And the scenery!!  YOWZA!  There were spots I just wanted to sit and stare all day long!  The first pretty spot was probably the best, I think someone should change the official name of this place to "God's Easel."  I'm on a little path cut into one side of the valley, and the other side is just amazing!  Slanted back just like an easel, and there is just beauty everywhere!  Snow in different places near the top is melting, forming little streams and waterfalls all over the place!!  I just sat and watched for ten minutes, it was better than TV!

I took a shot or two of the place, which brings me to the day's one bad spot:  My camera started acting up early in the hike, the batteries were going bad.  Hey, I'm prepared, right?  Pop in a spare set, and they don't work!!   ACK!@!!  So, I pop the originals back in and hope for the best, and decide I need to curtail the shooting for the day.  It didn't occur to me that it was still early, and the flash wouldn't be needed much later on.  I probably could have shot all I wanted and been okay.  In the end, that one set of batteries had shot 219 photos and movies!!  Not bad, eh?  Still, I wish I had a movie of "God's Easel."

After that view, I have a permanent smile plastered on my face as I continue on.  What's that??  I figured it was a badger as I tried to get a shot without using too much power.  Shucks, he's gone right over the edge and hid somewhere.  When I got back to Cozad I looked at numerous pics of wildlife, and now I think it was a "Hoary Marmot" that I saw, the pic on Wikipedia is darn close to my memory.

As if that wasn't enough wildlife, just a couple minutes later I see two elk!!  Yay!!  Seen only two all week, and those were both from the car, and far too brief. 

However, I would rather have seen these guys in a nice open meadow or field, not on the side of a cliff with very little wiggle room!  I say "Excuse me, may I squeeze by?" but they just keep going down the path.  I think they were far too big to follow the marmot off the side, and I don't want them pushing me off!  Between my fear of being knocked off and my need to conserve batteries, my two pictures are pretty crappy, but at least I have proof I saw 'em!!  Finally they reach a wider spot where they can climb up above the path and let me by.  "Thanks, guys!"

Not as much excitement the rest of the trip, and the further I go, the more people there are.  I am so glad I got up here early and beat the crowd!

Saw still more pretty lakes, and an amazing waterfall called "Fern Falls." I did get a movie and a pic of the falls.  Boy, all that rushing water was noisy!!

Now it's starting to get pretty hot, and I'm getting pretty tired!  Thank goodness I'm not climbing!  I spy a car through the trees and think "Yay, I'm finished!"  I walk a ways before I see I have another 0.7 miles to go to the bus stop.  Ugh.  Just like Tuesday, the little bit at the end is always the worst!!

A long bus ride back to the car, and I say good-bye to the park.  I do some geocaching in town, and notice a heavenly smell coming from a restaurant.  I mark it with my GPS, go back to the hotel, get cleaned up and into shorts and sandals, and follow the GPS back.  The restaurant is called "Hunter's Chop House," and it was great!!  I'll see if I can find a link.....
Link to Photo Album Thursday

QT video of Fern Falls

Posted by marshallmd at 2:17 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006 3:48 PM CDT

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