All the best laid plans. . . . After a failed attempt to see Mertensia Falls several years ago, I’ve poured over topo maps to find the best way to approach it off trail. It seemed straightforward, follow the isocline off of the trail, loop around to the river, and then up to the Mertensia.
Whoops, that contour line was impenetrable forest. Massive amounts of blow down and dead trees, rocks and brush, and a small cliff here and there. Back up plan, further up to Thunder Lake and around to the Falls just off the Eagle Lake trail.
Again, whoops. Small matter of a large cliff blocking that approach. In the picture, Mertensia is just around the corner beyond the rocks. Just beyond the cliff.
Thirteen miles hiked, some bush-whacking, not a single picture of Mertensia Falls. Back to the maps and the drawing board.
Marguerite Summer #1
See my previous post for why I think Marguerite is as disappointing a waterfall as it is. . . .
Fern Falls Summer #1
“I have a theory” As my neighbor, Marcelo, prefaces many conversations. In this case, I have a theory about Fern Falls. Or, more appropriately, I have a theory about Fern and Marguerite Falls. On all the maps I’ve looked at while doing my research for this project, this is called Fern Falls. This hike with Lindsey over the Labor Day weekend completes it in terms of 31 Falls. It’s a couple miles from the trailhead, up a pair of steep switchbacks on the way to Fern Lake.
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Fern Falls Winter Gallery
I awoke this morning to the sounds of birds twittering outside the window as the eighteen inches of snow that fell mid-week slid from the roof as the sun warmed it. Spring is just around the corner, but winter is still here, as the bomb-cyclone storm reminded us. Fern Falls is one of the more spectacular falls in the Park, on a north facing slope, so I expected the usual winter appearance of a falls. Small sections of falling water surrounded by cathedral-like ice and soft pillowy mounds of snow, undercut by a continual sound track of flowing water under ice.
A few miles hike in from the road’s winter closure, and I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Without knowledge of Fern Falls existence, you couldn’t have guessed it was there. It’s been a good winter, one that buries the Falls of seasons past in a hibernation of snow.
Colorado’s fall colors are having a bit of a rough year.
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West Creek Falls Spring Gallery
With my visit to West Creek Falls this past weekend, 31Falls, the project I thought would take me a year to complete back when I began, has finally reached the 50% completion point! I now have visited the various falls of Rocky Mountain National Park 62 times. A few of the metrics I’ve tracked for this project:
- Number of hikes: 31
- Total Mileage hiked: 229.4 miles
- Total Falls Completed: 8
- Bridal Veil, Calypso, Chasm, Copeland, Horseshoe, Lyric, Ouzel, West Creek
- Falls yet to be visited: 7
- Cascade, Columbine, Grace, Granite, Lost, North Inlet, War Dance
- Number of ‘good’ photos: 510
- Anticipated Completion date (on current schedule….): January 1, 2025!