On the Trail: When it rains
July 7, 2006
The afternoon rainstorms of the past couple of days have doused biking plans more than once, but they’re a godsend for area hikes.This summer was shaping up to be a long, hot dry season before July hit. And the brown could have set in early. Instead, new, green life is bursting everywhere.Those who could draw their eyes away from the magnificent Maroon Bells on Thursday noticed lush leaves everywhere.Spruce needles were breaking into new growth, grasses were sprouting with new vigor, and the wildflowers were putting on a show.There were fields of bluebells. Bunches of wild roses. Patches of Colorado columbines strutting a magnificent blue. A pika patrolled a particularly showy hollow as if to stake its claim to the best flora.All that liquid from the sky is not only sustaining the living things, it’s feeding creeks, which are now rushing along with new energy and pouring over cliffs in magnificent waterfalls and cascades.Near the campsites along Crater Lake, braids of a small stream cut between sturdy evergreens, overflowed their banks and gurgled down the middle of the trail. We didn’t mind sharing the path.The little tributaries twisted and turned until they came to rest in the lake for a while. Down lower, Maroon Lake’s glass surface broke into little circles from rising trout feeding on the insects multiplying in the moist environment.We found a perfect lunch pad on some rocks with a view of one of the waterfalls and munched on dried salmon, bagels and cream cheese. We sipped a little water of our own. It rained on our heads just enough to cool us down.