And with this, the fourth of thirty-one falls is complete.
The election of 2016 has given rise to many reassessments. For me, one was the need to spend more time in the mountains, away from the madness of people. Good thing I have this long running project to distract me, get me into the back country, and provide hours of hiking during which to think and make plans for the next four years. Stay tuned for more hikes and photographs coming this weekend as I seek to to work off the gluttony of Thanksgiving.
Another long lay-off between waterfall posts. It is what it is. Spring is returning to the Rocky Mountains, and so am I.
I hiked up to Fern Falls on a foggy Sunday morning, not seeing another human for hours. Climbing the last switchback before these falls, however, I did hear the low bass huffing noise of a bear somewhere upslope of me. After my initial response, consisting entirely of freezing in place and straining my ears to place the noise, I broke out into song, in the hopes that my atonal vocals would prove unappetizing. I never saw the bear, but I did see the rapidly flowing waters over Fern Falls.
It’s interesting how differently areas that are so close together, can be so different in the Park. Since the big floods in 2013, I’ve visited three falls in this corner of the Park, McGregor Falls, West Creek Falls, and this weekend, Bridal Veil Falls. Approaching both McGregor and West Creek Falls, the valleys were scoured from the floods. Great piles of stones and boulders littered the stream bed. Trees were ripped up from their roots and snapped like matchsticks. Since those two hikes bracket the approach to Bridal Veil Falls, and are under a mile as the clouds fly, I expected the same.
But it was as if there had been no floods. No sign at all of the damage that is still being repaired elsewhere. The river bed was the same overgrown groves of aspen and pine. Cow Creek still wove its way around boulders from pool to pool, hiding itself under mounds of snow and ice. A remnant of what was just months ago, and a reminder that the floods may damage, but that damage is part of the process and doesn’t even act evenly.