Friday, October 23, 2015

Horsethief Trail Hike with Grandsons - to Bridge of Heaven 9/19/2015

A week before this I had a great hike with my grandsons up Bear Creek Trail.  Since their mom and dad were still hunting we decided to go hiking the second weekend as well.  I'd told them about the mountain sheep and the bears I'd seen in an earlier trip on the Horsethief Trail, so that is the one they wanted to do.  We didn't see any mountain sheep or bears, but we saw another critter that is seldom seen while hiking.  Follow along and you'll see it too!

Somehow we missed the usual trailhead shot.  But, this one was just up the trail a bit - so, it will do.

It was a cool start to the morning, but it would soon warm up as we headed up the switchbacks. There's a side trail to the valley edge with great views of Whitehouse Mountain.  There's a touch of fall going on over there!

Soon we were on the switchbacks.  Nice impromptu shot of my oldest grandson, Garrett.

Snack break taken with the Gopro.

A look down on Ouray.

As we tramped along, Dylan said, "what's that grandpa? - it's a mountain lion."  I quickly sat down and took a photo as quickly as possible.  He was about 50 yards away and did not even look at us.  He just walked to a steep dropoff area and disappeared over the edge.  I've often seen their tracks on this trail, but this is my first sighting of one.  Up at the Bridge of Heaven we ran into a hiker that had passed us on the way up.  I told him we had spotted a mountain lion just after we'd seen him.  He kind of acted like he wasn't sure I was telling the truth.  So, I asked him if he wanted to see the picture.  Of course he then believed me and asked if I'd email him a copy when I got home.  We exchanged info and I did sent him a copy.  On the way down, he was again ahead of us.  He must have told everyone he met about the lion.  They all had to stop us and see the photo.  This lion was quite the celebrity. We definitely traveled closer together after coming across this critter.

Great views abound on this trail - eye candy all over the place.

Lunch at the Bridge of Heaven.  The boys got compliments from one older hiker about what troopers they were and how few young men their age are out enjoying nature.  We all agreed that this was far better than video games or TV....PERIOD!  This was a rare time in all my trips to Bridge of Heaven that the wind wasn't howling.

Bridge of Heaven sign shot.

Zoom view of Wetterhorn (right) and Uncompahgre Peaks. 14ers

The rugged landscape to the north.  Courthouse Mountain upper center.

Red Mountains and Ironton Park to the south.  It looks like fall has arrived there.

There's a bit of fall up here too.

Mmmm - this is why I hike.

Looking back to Ridgway, Montrose, and Delta.  Grand Mesa is way off in the distance in the upper right.

Headed back down after a fantastic hiking day.  Memories are etched in our minds and hearts that will last forever.  It doesn't get any better than this!  Thank you Lord!