|« No Soup for You! NEXT!!||End of summer »|
Not too long ago, I went for the last hike of the season to Josephine Falls, one of my favorite hikes up a narrow little cañon. The trailhead is located on a one way dirt road that is closed to traffic 6 months out of the year. We almost didn’t make it up to the cañon as we have had torrential rains in August and the road had severe ruttage as a result. If I could have turned around, I would have. But… like so many things in life… the only way out was through. So we bumped and banged our way along (again… just like life…) until we finally reached the trailhead. The trail begins in a little wooded glen next to Bear Creek and climbs steeply up a ridge a short way later, and this climb continues to the end of the trail.
This trail, like so many trails in Colorado, was once a road back in the homesteading days. It is always remarkable to be hiking in what looks like a remote, inaccessible area by modern standards, only to stumble upon cabin ruins from an old homesteader. One of my favorite unexpected ruins is the old Jack Rabbit Lodge, off of Dome Rock Trail (now closed half of the year for spring lambing of Bighorn sheep). Jack Rabbit was a private resort for fishing, hunting, and “other” sports… with the obligatory brothel out back. It is located on the bank of a stream that must be forded several times. Often, this stream is running so fast and so deep that the only way to cross is on horseback.
But the most amazing thing about all the ruins on the trails is the stories that go with them. And many of the most colorful, steadfast characters of the “Wild West” were indeed… women. That’s right… women… many of them widows with a brood of children to raise to boot. I am amazed at the wits it would take to survive on one’s own as a single woman in the west, eking out a living on an isolated homestead with few neighbors, often masquerading as a man just to survive. The fortitude of these women I find so inspirational. It makes me realize, with all our comforts and convenience, just how soft we’ve become…. and how very far removed we are from the fantastic efforts of just basic survival.
One of the things I like best about this trail is the story it tells… the storms it has weathered. Literally. Several years ago, there was a severe ice storm that felled many trees and made the trail impassable for many months. This single storm changed the entire face of the cañon, and the trail up it, as well as the creek down it. At present, the trail tells the story of the drought we have endured for the past 8 years. There is a section of the trail I call 'the ghost trees' as clearly half to two thirds of each tree has died, with only the top branches still green and pulsating with life. The lower half of the trees looked like bared skeletons stripped of skin, flesh, and muscle. And yet… these trees continue to endure…
I took a few photos on this last hike of the season for Josephine Falls. Click here to view some of the photos (you can click on any picture to enlarge... however... then the entire page will need to reload once again...). The falls are quite unusual as they can only be seen in the distance, except for the lower portion of the last fall. The drought is clearly seen in many of the pictures with sun-bleached tree skeletons dotting the hillsides. The aspens were indeed quaking as they do in even the softest of breezes. Although still summer, with wild flowers still in bloom, the first kiss of autumn has arrived too. But it is the sky… the deep sea blue of sky that touches my heart this time of year.
Until next time…
No feedback yet
Comments are not allowed from anonymous visitors.