Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bridge of Heaven 6/26/2015

I try to make it up to the Bridge of Heaven every year, at least once.  This trip was a special treat due to getting to see a sow black bear and her two cubs.  But, first things first.

It's a fairly easy hike of 8.4 miles round trip, with quite a bit of elevation gain.

In all my trips up here, I don't think I've seen it this green.  Just like a lush garden - THANK YOU LORD FOR ALL THE SNOW AND RAIN!

Not too far up the trail I met the bear family.  They didn't know I was around.  One of the cubs was up an aspen tree digging in a depression for all he was worth.  I don't know what he was after, but I was sure he was going to push himself off that tree.  He was about 15 feet up so it would have been quite a fall.  But, those little claws hung on.  This is a screen grab from a video, so it's not the best.

It was a beautiful morning - bluebird skies and views to forever.  The lupines were in full bloom.  This is why I hike!

This trail is known for the mountain sheep in the area.  I wasn't disappointed this day.  I saw 8 or 10 ewes and kids.  No rams made an appearance.

From the Bridge of Heaven, I've always viewed this mountain to the east and wondered what the views were like "up there".  Today I found out - fantastic.

Nice sunshine filtering through the trees on the way up.

Views, views and more views.  This is why I like the trail so much.

Just before the Bridge of Heaven, the trail makes several switchbacks up the steep mountain side.  The switchbacks make it more of a hike than a climb.  But, today they were buried in snow.  I've never seen this much snow up here this late in the year.  We had a record snowfall in May and lots of it was still hanging around.  So, plan B would have to be figured out.  This slope is steep enough that I didn't want to try it without crampons.

Plan B round was to head up through the trees on the left right to the Bridge.  It's a lot steeper than it looks in this photo.

After lounging around at the Bridge of Heaven it was time to head on up the mountain to the east.  This is the trail that leads that direction.

It was unusual to "loiter" along the trail this late in June.  There were no thunderstorms at all.  It was a rare treat to take so much time on the trail.  Thank you Lord!