The columbines were at their peak!
JJ, Ozzie and Brent (the young man who lived with them his senior year in High School and is now 23 years old) came roaring in to the cabin on their motorcycles last Wednesday. They had been to Illinois to leave Ozzie's Dad's ashes with his parents. They were on their way home and decided to spend a few days here with us. Brent is a huge "Woodsy Loresy" fan so was in "heaven" when he got here.
Erin had told him a lot about her adventures up here so, of course, one of the biggest recommendations she made was to go to Aqua Fria. Bob was sure there was still too much snow on top (10,500 feet above sea level) and the lake would still be frozen so we shouldn't even bother trying. Well, that was challenge enough for Ozzie so JJ, Brent, Ozzie and I took the 2 four wheelers and set off to see how far of the 6 mile trip we could make. Ozzie and I were on the blue one and JJ and Brent took the red one.
JJ and Brent as we started out on our adventure.
JJ at the forest gate very near where we saw the bear later in the day.
We made it to the Helena Trail and then up to the first side hill with no problems. Then, as all you who have ridden the red four wheeler know, it could not pull both of them so JJ did a lot of hiking! We waited for them at the first big switchback and JJ got on the front of the blue 4 wheeler.
Ozzie, Me and Brent at the point over looking North Park.
The Forest Service has not maintained the road AT ALL and all the dirt has washed out around the rocks and it is a mess! A truly tough bumpy ride! We made it to the top without seeing a speck of snow. Right on top I think I saw a small drift back in the trees but nothing on the road.
A view of how most of the road looks nowadays. A real bumpy ride!
I informed Ozzie I would walk on the part going downhill right where the old road came in and he was happy to let JJ and I off to walk. I videotaped Ozzie and Brent coming down that part of the road which is littered with boulders.
Coming down over the last part of the rocks. The big ones were around that bend! More video of the big ones on the way home in my next blog.
We rode on down and never saw any snow until we got to the big dip just before you go up the hill and down into the lake. The snow drift there was so small it didn't even cover the whole road. Again JJ and I had to get off and Ozzie picked his way down the rocky hill to the drift. Brent did not attempt the hill but went around some trees and came down the side of the hill. The rest of the way was a piece of cake!
The only snow we had to deal with on the way up!
We made it to the Aqua Fria! What a view!
We walked around, took pictures, ate a little trail snack and climbed around in the rocks down toward the falls. Brent and JJ waded in the barely unfrozen lake. They didn't last long and did some major whining about how cold it was. We must have been up there about an hour and a half enjoying the sun and how nice and warm it was for June and not much wind, either. A perfect afternoon!
Wading in melted snow. It's a tradition. Brrrrrrrr!
JJ and I posing on some of the big logs by the lake.
A big crack in the snowbank that is always right next to the spillway.
JJ and Brent climbed up a rock slide to sit in their little nook. I have a video of their climb you can see in my next blog.
Me sitting on a BIG rock by the falls. You can't see them but they are to my right and below the rock and snow.
Snowbanks on the shore of Aqua Fria.
A view out of the canyon into North Park in the distance.
Ozzie playing on the big rocks next to the lake.
We came home with 3 of us on old blue and Brent on the red one. That road is REALLY bad! We tried to go on the Helena trail over to Beaver Creek but a tree had gone down recently across the trail and we weren't prepared to clear it away. So we came on down. Shortly before we got to the Forest gate, Ozzie pointed out into the trees. I was looking for columbines or a deer or moose but didn't see anything. We all stopped and JJ and Ozzie both said at once "Did you see that bear?" Neither Brent nor I did. JJ saw it in a tree right near the road and then they both saw it running away! Luckily it was away and not toward us! Dang! I really wanted to see a bear in the wild. We had seen a lot of bear poop and now at least some of us saw the real thing. Didn't get any pictures either!
The 3 of us on "Old Blue" I still am trying to figure out how to do some video stuff. This is really a still picture!
We went over to the old yurt platform and took a few pictures--no wildlife, though. Kenny saw a whole herd of elk there a week ago but not us! The mosquitoes were vicious there so we didn't last too long and came on home.
At the Yurt. The mosquitoes were so bad JJ had to put her hood on!
It was another great time. I feel so blessed to live here in "God's Country" and that I am still able to do these fun adventures with my family!
Check out my next blog to watch more videos and pictures of our trip!
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