Weekend Hikers...Plus Message Board › changed conditions this season
|A former member||
Due to rather long hike and climb (almost 13 miles) in Boulder foothills last weekend, a few words of caution for those who (like me) have not hiked or climbed in Colorado much since drought.
Water levels are much, much higher, and currents of some waterways already very rapid, indeed. What were dry gulches are now rivulets, previously trickling streams are now creeks, and former creeks are now rivers. Note this assessment is based on situation last Saturday (March 8), when run-off was (is) yet not at peak. Worse, edges of creeks, streams, tributaries are often obscured by ice, snow and accumulated debris. (Strongly recommend using ski pole, or long stick, to find exact edges of waterways, and to ascertain safety of some crossings.) What were adequate footways over and in waterways are now far more iffy. Wooden planks/bridges are rotting or rotten; some wooden crossings are not long enough (even for current water levels!); crossing stones are not nearly as well grounded (gravel under many crossing stones has noticeably shifted, reducing balancing utility of such stones); stones are already slimey with algae, etc.; some footways - stone and wood - have been swept away, and some wooden ones broken, by rapid currents; and some water crossings (stones and wood) are entirely or largely submerged. Certainly any who plan to hike with kids need to be cautious around waterways.
Willife caution. Poor mountain weather has driven many animals lower. But despite cold, BEARS are now very much awake! Was surprised to see large adult on opposite bank of Bear Creek (formerly Skunk Creek), about 2 miles (south southwest) of NCAR in Boulder foothills. Fortunately, it seemed far more interested in a mule deer same side of creek, than in me, further away and on opposite bank of very rapid, cold and deep creek. Also, dumb luck that I did not have any food, nor even juice, on me at that point in hike/climb.
Final note: Many canyons in foothills (particularly northern foothills - Golden and further north until at least Lyons) are closed (until June) due to eagles' nesting. (Do try to take photos/videos of eagles' hunting - wonderful sights!) When planning trips, include flexibility so as to be able to take other canyon's trails, should some of the areas you had planned to traverse, turn out to be closed for human access. Particularly in areas around Boulder, would suggest taking some money (exact change - $1.75 - or bus pass) along, so as to be able to use RTD buses (if you cannot circumnavigate along trails) to return to near where you parked, prior to trek.
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