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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Ouzel Lake

September 18th, 2008 · No Comments

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Water connects us to this Earth, so we naturally love it. Of all the lovable forms in which water comes to us, I love lakes the most.

Because of a book I just found, my hike today took me to Ouzel Lake. It’s in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The genesis of the hike dates back to Monday night.

That’s when I went to Boulder Book Store to hear a talk by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, who is on a book tour for his new book, The Stuff of Thought. As a writer, I find him one of the most thought-provoking people around. A few years ago we corresponded over my web page, “Inuit Words for Snow” at http://www.mendosa.com/snow.html

I would have liked to have him sign my copy of The Stuff of Thought on Monday night. But since it’s on my Amazon Kindle, I couldn’t figure out how. I did shop at the store for other books, which is probably why they host these events. I saw two books that I just had to own.

The first was a brand new illustrated edition of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. The second was Colorado Lake Hikes.

I didn’t previously know that either book existed. The Colorado Lake Hikes book inspired me to hike today to Ouzel Lake for the first time.

At 10 miles out and back, it’s a longer hike in Wild Basin than I had been previously been willing to make. But because of the limited elevation gain, the hike was easy. I started at 8,500 feet and climbed to only 10,026 feet.

I had made the 5.4 mile hike to Ouzel Falls several times before. But the waterfalls were especially beautiful today:

Ouzel Falls

Ouzel Falls

Just past the falls I found this view of Ouzel Creek:

Mini-Falls on Ouzel Creek

Mini-Falls on Ouzel Creek

Here is another view of the creek:

Ouzel Creek with Turning Aspen

Ouzel Creek with Turning Aspen

Further up the trail — into territory where I had never hiked before — for the first time I saw Ouzel Peak, which is on the Continental Divide, peaking at 12,716 feet:

On the Trail to the Lake with Ouzel Peak Ahead

On the Trail to the Lake with Ouzel Peak Ahead

About noon I reached my destination:

Ouzel Lake

Ouzel Lake

I truly had an ouzel day. In addition to the falls, the creek, the mountain, and the lake, I saw for the first time the bird that gives its name to all of these landmarks. I was purifying a liter of water from the creek with my Steripen Journey when the bird appeared. The ouzel feeds on the bottom of these fast-moving, rocky streams.

As I hiked back down the trail, I kept watching the clouds. The weather bureau had predicted afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. But fortunately only a few drops of rain fell on me.

Since the skies were dark, I had to use my flash for this shot of a pinedrop:

Pinedrop and Rock

Pinedrop and Rock

Wild Basin is 40 miles from my apartment — the closest part of Rocky Mountain National Park. Many people think that it is the most beautiful part of the park. I know that I found a lot of lovely water today.

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