See the birds? Roone spotted them in a lichen-made nest just near the falls.
Since this was our vacation hike, it should go without saying that this was my favorite activity of the trip. I enjoyed everything we did, but hiking just speaks to me.
The Trillium Gap trail head is on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, so we were able to drive that again. I took the driver's seat this time so Jesse could enjoy all the views. We made it to the trail head by 8am and I was sure that the small parking lot would be full and the trail congested. I was delighted to find that I was wrong on both counts. There were plenty of parking spots and we hiked mostly in solitude, (except for our bear bells ringing and children being loud). This was truly a gift for us because the trails just become overloaded with people. In fact, on our way down the trial we probably passed a good fifty hikers going up (some in flip flops, others yodeling).
The rewards of this hike are two-fold, that at the end of 1.3 miles are the beautiful Grotto Falls and that the return trip is all downhill. This means that the ascent is all uphill. The trail was rocky and full of tree roots, making it a bit cumbersome, but the views of the forests, streams and rhododendrons were wonderful. The falls were a fun place and we lingered for a bit for a few photo ops.
We promised the kids this would not be a hiking vacation. It's the middle of summer anyway, and Jesse and I didn't want to suffer ourselves. The kids know we love hiking, though, and when we were planning the trip they knew that mom would get one hike, for sure. This was it, and it really was perfect for us. A quiet, morning hike under three miles with waterfalls that you can walk behind. It even left us enough time for another activity that day, but I'll leave that for the next post.