Sunday, May 31, 2009

May a month of contrasts

Katie in fields of Arrowleafs on way to Windy Point

Walking into Muddy Creek Falls on snow drifts

Muddy Creek Falls
May was quite the month of contrasts.
We skied hard on great powder for the first two weeks of the month, then we’ve closed the month out with some pretty nice hikes with temperatures in the high 80s.
On Saturday we went looking for wildflowers on the 10-mile loop in the Highwood Mountains, climbing Windy Peak by way of Thain Creek and hiking out Briggs Creek.
We saw an incredible variety of wildflowers, with the bouquet dominated by the Arrowleaf Balsamroot that covered the hillsides. We were surprised to see creeks running clear, and most of the snow off the high points. There was a bit of snow on the range’s two highest peaks, north faces ---- Arrow and Highwood Baldy.
The roads are in great shape. The Forest Service is busily working on Thain Creek Campground that got wiped out by a flood several years ago.
We saw lots of young hikers and horseback riders on the trail.
The temperature was in the 80s.
On Sunday we decided on something more mellow, a hike into Muddy Creek Falls west of Bynum in the Rocky Mountain Front.
The big surprise was the snow in the canyon slot in front of the falls. We had to climb over and walk atop the frozen snow.
We saw different kinds of wildflowers on this hike. The old mining track road was covered in blue lupine.
We were surprised to see three other sets of hikers in this area because there is no trail.
A lightning-caused small fire burned above us in the timber on the north side of the Muddy Creek Canyon.
This is always a perfect hike. The canyon rock gives the hiker a southwestern U.S. experience. I think it is the best short hike on the Front.

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