He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice as fragments; who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow. (NASB)
Castlewood Canyon State Park South of Denver Colorado
Unprepared. No water. Not wearing the proper footwear. Not wearing insulated water repellent clothing. No walking stick. No food. No Kleenex. Unprepared. Never hike unprepared. Never.
We know the risks in Colorado of hiking unprepared and yet, we did it. A 2-3 mile hike in the mud, snow, and ice melt of Castlewood Canyon was an adventure. Dangerous. Falling on sloped melting ice. Shoe sucking mud on the trail. Walking through knee-deep snow to avoid the water on the path. Slipping into the freezing creek up to our ankles. Dog rescued from falling into a fast cold snow melt creek. We experienced it all in two hours as we made our way through the trail.
I have driven by this park on Highway 83 many times, but never hiked it. It bordered a lake built for recreation by homesteaders and used by settlers from Denver until the 1930s, when the dam burst. The park borders Cherry Creek as it traverses southeast Denver towards Colorado Springs. Massive boulders line the valley carved by centuries of waters and floods.
The last 50 feet of the trail were the most treacherous. We had met a prepared hiker on the trail and he warned us of the ice slope we would have to climb. “Gnarly”, he said. We hauled ourselves up hand over hand using a sturdy railing over solid ice without the proper equipment. Foolish, unprepared hikers. Lucky hikers. We will try again in the summer. Prepared.
When have you been “lucky” on a hike? How have you been unprepared for what is ahead on the trail? In your life? Would you do it again?