Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rifle Part 5

We are beginning our final week in Rifle. We've had a good trip, and if all goes well, plan to head back through Moab, Utah to tour a few of the desert towers and see some different sights before pushing for home. This may also help to break up the drive a bit so the journey is not too arduous. Highlights from the last week:

We toured the Rifle Falls state park and were pleasantly surprised. It's a scenic hike with three pretty waterfalls at the mouth of the gorge and there were plenty of interesting caves to explore. I didn't have a headlamp with me, but I used the flash on my camera so Elise could briefly see the stalactites on the roofs of the caves. This is a photo of the three waterfalls.

Elise "posing" in front of the waterfalls. The spray was impressive and I had to be careful to keep my camera from getting wet. Also, all the leaves on the surrounding trees and plants were covered in a hard coating of calcium from the waterfall spray, which pours over limestone.

The roof of one of the many caves.

Feeding animals is always a popular pastime. In this instance, we didn't have any "horse" food so we had to improvise and fed the horses the last of our grapes. They were skeptical, but took a liking to them quickly. On the way home, we brought a bag of apples and fed them for quite some time!

The weather has been hot! We traveled to a state park called "Harvey Gap" hoping to spend the afternoon on a beach. The man-made lake was disappointing and, since the water levels were very low, the shoreline was very mucky - yuck! Luckily, a nice volunteer loaned us his canoe for the afternoon, so we were able to paddle around the lake, swim from another shore and watch people fish. We saw one fellow catch three large-mouth bass. Here's Elise in her life preserver getting ready to go on the boat.

This is a photo of Elise dangling her feet in the Rifle creek beside one of the cliffs she climbed at. There were trout in this pool and she enjoyed trying to spot them!

Our climbing has improved over the last week. Both Pam and I completed routes we'd been working on and Elise continues to climb short "routes" at the base of the walls. People always find it quite amusing to see her decked out in her harness, shoes and chalkbag! This is a photo of a fellow we met named Patrick climbing on Defenseless Betty (5.12a) on the Project Wall.

There's lots of wildlife around here. I woke to deer in our campsite the other morning and the racoons continue to plague us. They are so brazen they get onto the picnic table while we are still in camp! We have to watch our food like a hawk. This is a photo of a bee with colouring I'd not seen before - red!

We hope you are all doing well and plan to be home between September 8th and 12th.


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