I've always found Upper Cascade Falls difficult to photograph, primarily due to the precipitous, and at times, vertical landscape that encircles this natural wonder. I think a drone mounted camera would be the best tool to photograph Cascade and other falls. Maybe I should give Mike of Ouray By Flight a call.
But last week I was determined to try again... to capture the airy feeling of vertigo that washes over me when standing near Upper Cascade's 150 foot drop.
With legs already shaking from pushing up 2500 feet of elevation, I decided to play it safe and laid down on my belly right next to Cascade Creeks big tumble and inched my way out to the edge. I was worried about dropping my iPhone, which helped take my mind off the precipice. I got a couple shots then inched back away from the edge, thinking "That wasn't so bad." A few seconds later I was overcome with what I can only describe as a severe case of delayed onset vertigo. I need a drone, damn it.
We hiked from home with Ruthie, using the Perimeter Trail to access the Chief Ouray Mine Trail...a steep south facing 13 switchback grind that can seem endless on warm days. A sweat I did break.
As I neared Cascade Falls and Chief Ouray Mine, the trail leveled out and meandered alongside a colorful rock bluff with intermittent views of Lovely Ouray and its snowcapped mountain surround. Beautiful rocks lay scattered at the bottom of the cliffs, victims of gravity and time. Sunlit, they hemorrhaged a blend of crimson reds, rusty oranges, rich umbers, and yellow ochre. Abundant splotches of green moss and lichen complemented the geologic wash of colors. I think I stared at the rock as much or more than the cross valley views.
|A random hiker-gal standing on the rock I belly-crawled out on in order to get waterfall shots. Intent to get a photo of the water and snow, she took a step back without looking...prompting a "HEY!" from me.|
|Above Upper Cascade Falls is a somewhat less dramatic water fall...perhaps "Upper-Upper Cascade Falls."|
In order to get to Chief Ouray Mine, we had to cross the creek and get our feet wet. Once on the other side I scrambled down a steep hillside...holding on to aspen saplings...and got the photo below. It gives a better idea of the two-stage drop.
Then on to an old mine-shack. It leans considerably, to the point of teetering on the edge of an abyss.
|Graffiti, written with chunks of coal left over from cookstoves|
Peace out, people.
Mark, Bobbie, and Ruthie...