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Rifle Creek Ice

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.

Misty Fall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Icicles and a waterfall.

Ice & Water by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The waterfall is in the shade while the ridge above is receiving the first sunlight of the day.

Left Fall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I spent some time looking for more intimate scenes in the creek.

Flow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A small bridge on one of the hiking trails in front of the falls.

Bridge & Waterfall by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking down Rifle Creek from near the falls.

Rifle Creek by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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.

Over the Edge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A view of the valley below from the top.

Rifle Falls State Park by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The sun finally reached Rifle Creek below the falls.

Turbulence by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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.

Ice Cave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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.

Walking on Ice by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking up at some very large icicles.

Hanging Ice by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I hiked along Rifle Creek to the Upper Ice Cave I stopped for a few photos.

Caught in Rifle Creek by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

An ‘Ice Ghost’ in the Upper Ice Cave.

Ice Ghost by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Sunlight was striking the other side of the ice giving it a nice blue glow.

Blue Ice by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Outside view of the Upper Ice Cave.

Upper Ice Cave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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.

Ice Fishing by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

>> Rifle Creek Ice Photo Gallery

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