What it looked like from siesta.
Here’s the accounting for my day, this Friday after Thanksgiving:
Paid with the debit card: half a tank of gas.
Paid with cash: cappuccino at Jamoka Joe’s in Loveland, M&Ms at the gas station in Estes Park so I could use their bathroom.
Paid with gasoline: Bighorn sheep in the Big Thompson River canyon, bird of the day also in the Big Thompson canyon, wonderful outdoor adventure.
Paid with leg muscles and sweat: Ouzel Falls, 8 miles, 1000’ elevation gain, 17,000 steps, heaven on a slab of rock.
Took my downtime bluebird day and headed to the mountains to see about those good tidings. Was not disappointed. Was a bit surprised by the snow on the trail and wished I had some in-step crampons. Slowed things down a bit and did not reach my intended goal of Ouzel Lake. Another time. The trail, in Rocky Mountain National Park, was a glory of wind-rustled sub-alpine forest. My path followed Ouzel Creek and came along many waterfalls and fantastic ice sculptures over the creek. Finally, though, just past Ouzel Falls and still a mile from the lake, the trail simultaneously brought me out on a huge sunny rock and then immediately turned into a dark, snowy tunnel through the trees. I declared lunch.
Ouzel is the old fashioned name for the American dipper. So I named my lunch spot Dipper Rock. Did not think that I would see the namesake bird, but there he or she was on the Big Thompson on the way home.
After my hike, I drove into Estes Park where today is a big celebration with an evening parade. I was hoping for afternoon festivities and hot chocolate. But all I found was extreme crowding and chairs lining the parade route awaiting sunset. If I had wanted to stay for the parade, it would have all seemed very festive. But I hated the thought of driving the 30 miles of narrow, winding road down the canyon in the dark. So I called it a day. Had the added good fortune of tuning into a re-broadcast of a favorite DJ’s Wednesday show and listened all the way home.
In many places the trail had no snow (above), but in many places it was all snow (below).
Above, my picnic/siesta spot. I really didn't nap, for although a casual observer would have applauded my thermoconformer behavior of lizarding on a rock in the sunshine, the truth was that the rock was sapping as much heat as the sun was providing. Nice spot and warm enough anyway.
Nice hat. Reny's Outdoor of Bridgeton, Maine. Circa 1997.