Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cascade Falls in Ouray

We turned off Main Street in Ouray, past the old Ouray County Court House, onto 8th street and into the small dirt parking lot of Cascade Falls Park.   There were only a few cars so we hoped we wouldn't meet a passel of people at the falls.   The sign said the hike to the lower falls was an easy one, short (1/2 mile) but steep.    Right up my alley!

We climbed along a trail that was sometimes dirt, sometimes rock alongside the falling stream.   We really didn't encounter anyone until we arrived at the bottom of the falls.   There was a small family playing around in the water so we waited a few minutes until they decided to leave.   We had the place to ourselves after they scrambled down.

Since it was August, the falls were not running at full force but we were glad to see that it still had a fairly decent drop.    This is the last in a series of seven falls carrying snowmelt off the mountains and down one of two flumes through Ouray.

This trip had given us plenty of jaw dropping scenery and overly exciting experiences so I was really happy to be able to enjoy this quiet and peaceful side to nature.   Sometimes the beauty is hard to capture on "film".   Beauty often is the sounds, the smells, the textures beneath our feet and hands, things that you can't see.

We sat with our feet in the pool for awhile just listening to the falling water then climbed back down the way we came.

Dave went ahead of me (my choice) and at one spot I had to step down from a fairly tall rock.   There was a sturdy tree directly in front of me so I reached out and steadied myself by holding its trunk.  Immediately I realized that this tree was in the perfect spot for everyone climbing down from this particular rock.  The place my hand naturally rested on was rubbed smooth from countless hands
touching that exact spot for exactly the same reason.   The rest of the trunk was green with no other markings to make it stand out.    But this tiny spot was marvelous.....

Sometimes man's unthinking use of nature reveals unexpected beauty.  I wonder how many people noticed it.  

We came down off the trail and decided to take a different route home.   We crossed the creek and drove along a dirt road on the opposite side heading toward Ridgway.

We usually take rt. 550 which is a beautiful road but this little county road gave us some fun wildlife viewing.

Deer were eating apples in a house's side yard, oblivious to us watching.

Well, not all the animals we saw were wild.     There were these two fields of bovine that we'd not seen before....I've never seen a herd of Yaks before, have you?

There were about 50 Longhorns in this pasture.   I wonder if they ever stab each other while grazing....   Dave says they should wear safety glasses.

Ah, but it looks like those humongous horns are useful in itchy situations!


  1. Glad you were able to hike to the second fall:) Very pretty and so nice you were alone! We have had some really beautiful "varnished" pieces of wood from people using them as hand holds. But that was gorgeous on your hand hold. Good you noticed. What a nice buck! Can't say that we've seen any yaks recently:)

  2. Yaks are a surprise aren't they?! There are some around here (MT, WY) too because I saw a yak products vendor at the local farmers market. I'd like to try some yak jerky or a yak burger!

  3. Seems like Ouray is a destination for gobs of RV folks this year. I really saw great potential for some cool pictures in that clear stream you hiked up. The yaks are super fun and what a cool surprise!

  4. Always nice to have a lovely spot to yourselves to better appreciate all that nature shares with us. Great shot up the slot of the falls to capture the little piece of blue sky. I love the spirals in the hand hold and the different colors all that "help" brought out in the wood. My mother always said the secret to life, success and relationships was Pay Attention. Rewards like your tree trunk make it sound advice to this day. Thanks for sharing it.