A quick hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park, and then up to Parker to tour a museum. That was my plan. But as I drove north on Routh 83, it began to rain. When I pulled into the park, I was having second thoughts. But the rain soon turned to light snow, and I was there.
I walked my usual route along the trail that overlooks the old lake bed, then continued to the base of the dam ruins. It’s here that I’ve always turned around and gone back through the canyon. I’m not certain why I decided to explore further—I guess I was just enjoying myself. I climbed up onto the rim and hiked the Rimrock Trail.
I had the trail and the view to myself most of the time, but a determined jogger or two went by occasionally. I heard one them point out a turkey to his companion. I was watching as I rounded a bush and saw a small flock on the trail. They saw me and began walking off into the tall grass. I went back around the bush the other way and herded them back onto the trail. Then I stood quietly and took this video.
The snow continued off and on until I was drenched. As I climbed down into the canyon at the north end of the park, it had let up. The sun came out eventually. I walked the length of the park back on the inner-canyon trail. When I reached my car, I’d gone a bit more than six miles. And I was wet, sweaty, and splattered with mud. I skipped my museum plans and headed home.
It happens often, when I decide to ignore less-than-ideal conditions and hike in the cold or wet, that I see more, and more interesting, wildlife. I suspect this is because there are fewer people around. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I went.