Saturday 7/30 – Rifle Falls, Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs

I got up pretty early and after washing up at the rest area and getting coffee at Starbucks, I headed to Rifle Falls.  This is a gorgeous waterfall I had never heard of, it’s free and it’s not a long hike like many are.  Well it’s almost free.  You have to pay for vehicle in State Park is all.  The falls are accessed through the campground.  It’s a short hike after parking and the spectacular!  There are also some caves and cool trails to hike there.  It was still early when I finished there which was good because I wanted to get an early start on Hanging Lake.  I ended up wasting an hour of my day by taking the scenic route through the National Forest.  (I did that many times on this trip) but I got to Glenwood Springs/ Hanging Lake around noon.  I packed my backpack as light as I could with water, sunscreen, a hat, a bandana, bug spray etc and took off up the mountain path.  They say it’s about 2 hours to the top and back but it took me more like 3 hours to get to the top, and 2 more hours to get back down.  Going down isn’t that much easier than going up.  It’s almost easier to go fast, but there is a good distance between steps and it would be easy to twist an ankle or break a leg, so you have to be very careful. The forest service lists the trail is “difficult.”  Being fat and old, it was quite strenuous to me but I did it!!!  lol!  At the end I was rewarded with a most beautiful double cascading waterfall and clear lake.  It was good to say I did it.  By the time I got down from the canyon it was about 5:00, I was starving, hot, sweaty, dirty and my muscles were overtaxed.  I decided to splurge on a nice dinner and a hotel with a bathtub and call it a day.

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