Oh yeah, standing on the edge of a crumbly precipice, taking in the depth and magnitude of the elevation gain this quad-burner hike ascended us to. Oh for a Zip-line return route, as opposed to the thousands upon thousands of knee-bends it would take to get us back to the safety and ever loving arms of Sue Bee II. If you look real close, you'll see Highway 550—all Million Dollars worth of her—way, way, waaaayyyy down, some 3,000 feet at the bottom of the canyon.
Sunlight was hit and miss through gaps between thunderheads; I was digging the patchwork quilt of light and shadow. If you want to be a photographer move to Colorado, it's soooo easy here.
|The quick way down...|
I was like a kid in a candy store with our own private volcano to explore, with its seductive and subtle lavender, rust and burnt umber cinders. A few spats of rain brought reminded us of the forecast for "heavy thunderstorms and flash floods." Get thee down, man! Further exploration would have to wait for another day...which meant, Lord, we've got to climb this "Mo" again.
|I so wanted to stay and play here...|
|Bobbie enjoys the different perspective that comes with hikes in new territory...more "dots" connected|
Red Mountain was in our view on the way down; it helps to have something pretty and familiar to look at when knees are aching. Vast fields of tundra was ours alone to wander...so vast it almost swallowed little Bobbie up. Good light came and went as if it couldn't make up its mind, and thunder rolled in the distance.
We made quick work of the Alpine Zone. It always feels safer from lightning when back trees, but unfortunately, it's not true. Finally, a blush of orange from an early bird.
There is a sinister feeling of "being watched" when we hike through aspen groves. I wonder why?
As evidenced by Crystal Lakes surface, the predicted rain commenced just as we arrived back to the car...nothing serious, just another blown forecast.
But then, shortly after arriving home, it sounded like a helicopter was landing on our roof! What a cloudburst...rain falling straight down in sheets and layers...a true monsoon. These things usually pass, but not this time; the thunder cloud wasn't moving. Lightning and thunder ricocheted throughout The Crevice as if the Battle of Gettysburg was going on. We couldn't hear each other it was so loud, and had to yell.
Below is a photo of what Sky Rocket Creek normally looks like this time of year...just a trickle of water through the white area. We have climbed the creek's falls several times in order to access The Blowout area above it—another extinct volcano, rich in color, volcanic tuff, and hoo doo formations—and hardly got wet.
After fifteen minutes of steady downpour we knew what was coming, and took seats at the Imax and waited...
One second a trickle, and the next...whoosh, a flash flood. The photo is shot through our window and sheets of rain so it doesn't do it justice. We could hear large boulders being swept down with the current; huge logs...just an incredible display of force. Here is a brief movie I tried to shoot through the storm...
So I guess we dodged a bullet by getting home before this storm unleashed its furry. There's nothing more uncomfortable for me than to have to sit out a severe lightning and thunderstorms above timberline. It's a very helpless feeling...like a face to face meet up with a Momma Grizzly Bear.