Steelhead Falls in winter

January 31, 2017.

This was my second visit to Steelhead Falls this winter and in this lifetime. This winter has brought snow down upon all the land. I was delighted to see this popular swimming hole in a quiet time of year.

The trail was absolutely treacherous, as old footprints turned the fluffy snow into sloping death ice. We were grateful for our Yaktrax but wished we had better traction on our feet. My hiking buddy Amanda asked, “What would you do if I slid into the river?” That led into an interesting conversation about decision-making, the ten essentials and when/how to call for help. I think she was only partly joking when she asked.

The trail continues for a ways beyond the falls, although this was clearly where most people turned around. We had plenty of time so we kept walking, exploring the beautiful canyon country.

We hiked off-trail to investigate some interesting rock pillars upslope. Birds swirled overhead. It was so peaceful and lovely.

As we meandered back around the pillars, searching for a way back to the trail, we stumbled upon THIS:

Simultaneously the coolest thing ever and the freakiest thing ever. I’m pretty sure Amanda said something about cougars. I just wanted to check this carcass out from all angles. I’d never seen one that intact before, with fur and soft tissue and blood. So interesting.

The remainder of the walk was way less exciting than that. We made it back to the car without having to retrieve anyone from the river and all was well. A great winter destination!

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