Thistledown CG, Natl Forest
We met back up with Mike and Kathy of Life Rebooted in Ouray to hike the Chief Ouray Mine Trail. The trail is about 4.5 steep, narrow miles with a gain of 2263 feet. We decided to combine it with the Portland Trail to add another 1.5 miles. The hike leads to beautiful secluded falls, an incredible overlook of Ouray, and the famous mine. This hike tops out at 10,030 feet.
We're up early and ready to go. Their Black Lab, Opie and Hurley came along.
Double checking the map once more before we head up.
Some interesting fungus and tree roots along the way.
This trail starts out steep and never lets up, switchback after switchback!
What a great view from up here!
Hurley & Me
This trail gets very narrow and sloped towards the edge as you get higher up. You have to be very careful of your footing as there is loose scree and the it's a long way down if you slip or take a wrong step.
Kathy staying away from the edge.
You have a few other obstacles on the trail too like overhanging rocks, trees and boulders.
Here's a great view of Ouray way down below!
Still a ways to go.
We took a little snack break.
It got hot very quickly and we were appreciative of this little bit of shade.
See that little blue building in the upper right corner? That's the Bunkhouse.
Here it is zoomed in. The trail goes right through the bunkhouse. It actually hangs over the cliff.
We finally made it to Cascade Creek Falls. We took another break and the dogs loved playing in the small pool area.
The edge of the falls looking down.
You have to cross the falls to continue on.
Another scary spot to cross.
Kathy hugging the wall as much as possible!
Lots of graffiti from the old coal bits inside.
Again, how did they get all this stuff up here! Especially the stove.
Out the other side you walk to continue on the trail.
At this point Mike and Kathy decided to stay put with the dogs as Steve and I tried to continue on so that we could find a geocache that was hidden at the mine.
Well the trail got even narrower, like 1 foot wide, and it was so windy we decided we were too uncomfortable to continue. So we turned back without the geocache.
The sky got cloudy and a little hazy.
This is where we connected with the Portland Trail. It was nice that it took us through some forest and ferns, but it also made things a bit humid.
A view of the enormous rock wall called the Amphitheater.
It was a great day and we were glad we could get together with Mike, Kathy & Opie for this hike!
On the way back to camp we passed by another rocky mountainside. I was never able to find out what it used to be. Someones house?
See the cute front door? Looks like it might have had a window at one point too.
Next up: A Rainy Hike and a Women's Mining Contest