Thursday, June 14, 2018

Drippy Church Mountain hike

Ready for our Thursday outing
Interestingly, as I was getting ready to write this post, I looked up our first wilderness hike from last year, and it was only eight of us heading up to the Church Mountain meadows. Today was similar, except that we had fourteen of us, and we expected that the weather would improve as the day progressed. That was what we hoped, anyway. Light rain and mist greeted us at the trailhead.
Columbines are in bloom
Not far from the trailhead, I saw that these native columbines are in abundant bloom. It was green and lush everywhere we looked, except for when we looked up.
Our environment on the trail today
There were only a few times today when we cast a shadow on the trail; most of the time it looked like this. Not really raining, but a heavy mist hung on us most of the day. I kept expecting that any minute it would begin to clear, and we would have at least a tiny view of the gorgeous mountains that surrounded us, but it was not to be.
At the meadows
We reached the meadows and saw that they are still covered in deep snow, and it became obvious once we left the shelter of the trees that it was not just drips from the trees that kept us wet, it was raining lightly.
Today's lunch spot
We decided to climb up to a place where the trees might shelter us while we made a quick but satisfying lunch stop, rather than head out onto the snow and slog a ways towards our usual place, when there would be no view at all. It was not really cold, but everything was damp and once we stopped, everyone began to get uncomfortable. We didn't linger there for long.
Melanie's picture from our lunch spot
The amount of snow in the meadow is similar to what we saw last year, as you can see from the above link. Other hikers had gone farther; you make out their faint tracks across the snow. Who knows how far they went? We were ready to take our return trip back to the cars once we finished our lunch.
On our way back
Although everyone isn't in this picture, I wanted to document our beautiful surroundings as we headed back. Most of us were warm enough, even if we weren't exactly dry. It was good to be moving.
We saw this relative of the Indian Pipe family, an interesting fungus. The plants of the Indian Pipe family are saprophytes, meaning that they have no chlorophyll and they feed on dead organic matter in the soil. You can read more about them here. I've seen them many times on these trails, and they are always a curiosity. Melanie took the above picture; those are her trekking poles in the background.
Almost back to the cars
As you can see from this picture, a light rain never really stopped, but we didn't mind too much since we were soon to be warm and dry. We only hiked around six miles round trip, but there was plenty of elevation to make up for it, with a steady uphill hike of somewhere around 2,500 feet (800 meters).

I was grumbling about the wetness of the day, but we no sooner got in our cars to drive home when the sun began to emerge from the clouds. And about halfway home, we realized that the rain and clouds did not extend to our home turf. We had driven more than an hour so that we could hike in rain, while it was DRY at lower elevations. But it was very beautiful nevertheless, our first High Country hike of the season. We will be back to Church Mountain again this season.


  1. We are now home and my wine is consumed. Let me know what you think.

  2. It looks lovely despite the moisture. Or perhaps in our drought ridden state I mean because of the moisture. I love how your band of hikers added splashes of colour to the landscape too.

  3. It seems to me that this is one of the few days you've hiked in the rain.

  4. You are pushing the boundaries of high country hiking a bit, at least for this year. Just think how much prettier it will be when the snow is off the meadows and they are in bloom!
    But you got your hike in nevertheless. I love the greenness of that last photo.

  5. Great photos. You always see such glorious vegetation! I love that photo of the mist in the trees and the person walking on the side of the mountain. A hardy bunch indeed!

  6. sorry the weather didn't cooperate, but that shot looking up into the trees is just GORGEOUS.

  7. What's that? Grumbling about the rain? ;)

    Well, it still looked beautiful. I've never seen anything like those pipe fungus. Love the ferns you have there.

    Enjoy your weekend. :)

  8. Wow, snow in June!

  9. That fungus is new to me...never heard of it nor seen it before today in your photo.

    Love the misty shots...beautiful. And of coure favor Colorado's state flower...the columbine.

  10. What a dramatic contrast - the snow and all that green!


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