The Battle Wagon left Denver around 6:30a and arrived at the Lower Trailhead parking lot at 7:45a, taking the last empty spot. I geared up and hit the trail.
It was a steady uphill in the shade for the first half-mile. At first I was enjoying the quiet and lack of crowds, but then I started wondering if there was potential for being breakfast for a mountain lion. I soon passed some hikers and assumed the mountain lions would opt for the stragglers. I didn’t see anyone else until I was near the falls, which took about an hour to reach.
I played photographer for some fellow hikers and sat on a rock in what appeared to be a camp site, listening to the sounds and rehydrating. After finishing a Cliff Bar, I applied more sunscreen and headed back down. It was a bluebird day! The temps were mild and comfortable, though I could envision this being brutally hot later on.
This hike was a practice in focusing on the things that I know for a fact (what-is) and turning off my brain from endlessly and painfully mulling over the things that I can’t possibly begin to guess (what-if); a practice in staying present.
Nearing the parking lot, I began to see streams of people ascending, one group of about 20. Another instance where I’m glad I arrived early! Sadly, I was done hiking well before Cuisine of the Himalayas opened for the day. Next time!