Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Old Horsethief Hike May 23, 2014

This has been a very unusual late winter and spring.  My hiking territory had record snowfall this winter and it continues into the spring.  In fact it is still snowing in the northern San Juan Mountains on memorial weekend.  My hiking itch has really been giving me fits!  Finally I was able to escape from work for a day and "scratch the itch".  Rain was predicted so I did not get an early start and was indecisive about even going.  I had my eye on the mountains, which I can see from my home office window.  As the clouds lifted it was settled.  I hurriedly packed up and headed south toward Ouray.  I originally planned to hike the Twin Peaks trail. However, as I approached it looked to me like there was still quite a bit of snow in that trail area.  I looked across the Uncompahgre Valley and it looked much more favorable.  So, Old Horsethief was going to be the first real hike of the season.  The trail begins right beside Highway 550 just north of the main part of downtown Ouray, CO.

       The trail quickly rises on the switchbacks and soon the view of Ouray opens up.

The trail soon approaches what is known as the slide or washout area.  It's a totally different landscape that has the smell of sulfur and the trail hugs the mountain side with some cribbing to hold it in place.

  The cribbing

On further is a waterfall, than is sometimes just a trickle in the summer.

Unfortunately, due to rain, my hike was cut short and I did not make it to Bridge Of Heaven.  Oh well, it was great to get out anyway.  Parting shot across the valley toward White House Mountain.

Here comes the rain!