Saturday, January 19, 2013
I was originally planning on visiting Rifle Falls the previous Sunday. However, when I woke up Sunday morning to leave, it was snowing pretty hard, which was not in the weather forecast the night before. I decided to change my plans and went back to bed instead. That brings us to today. I was up bright and early so I could make the drive to Rifle Falls State Park before the sun came up for the day. I made it to the park well before the sun came up and had the place all to myself until I was ready to leave a few hours later. It was pretty cold out, but I dressed appropriately and kept pretty warm, except for my hands which I can never seem to keep warm enough.
One of the falls and Rifle Creek in the dawn.
Icicles and a waterfall.
The waterfall is in the shade while the ridge above is receiving the first sunlight of the day.
I spent some time looking for more intimate scenes in the creek.
A small bridge on one of the hiking trails in front of the falls.
Looking down Rifle Creek from near the falls.
I hiked the loop trail to the top of the falls and took this photo looking at one of the falls plunging over the edge.
A view of the valley below from the top.
The sun finally reached Rifle Creek below the falls.
When I was done photographing the waterfalls and creek in the State Park I drove up the road a little further to the Rifle Mountain Park. I’ve driven through this park on a few occasions before but never taken the time to stop and explore. This is a very popular climbing area but there are also a few ice caves that I wanted to check out.
I started with the short hike to the Lower Ice Cave.
I recently purchased my first set of crampons so I could start photographing ice a little more in the winter and this would be my first time using them. The floor of the cave was a solid sheet of ice so I strapped them on and gave them a try. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but they worked awesome! I was quickly climbing all over the ice without worrying about traction. They will certainly come in handy in the future.
Looking up at some very large icicles.
As I hiked along Rifle Creek to the Upper Ice Cave I stopped for a few photos.
An ‘Ice Ghost’ in the Upper Ice Cave.
Sunlight was striking the other side of the ice giving it a nice blue glow.
Outside view of the Upper Ice Cave.
As I was driving back to Rifle to have lunch I had to stop for a photo of all the people ice fishing in the Rifle Gap State Park.