I awoke in Grand Junction with all day to get back to Denver, for my flight home. It is roughly a four-hour drive on I-70, so, and my flight was early the next morning, so I had time to kill.
A friend had recommended a stop, “some waterfall hike thing” off the side of the highway, and again, all day meant…sure, why not? I’ll get in one last hike before the end of the trip. A bit of Googling told me it was called Hanging Lake, and it was going to be just about 90 minutes from Grand Junction. The drive TO the lake was something else…
It started to mist, and then rain, and it was a bit chilly. It’s what I imagine the Pacific Northwest would be like – which is kind of my dream location after Manhattan.
The hike was actually pretty hard – steep, the steps were just random rocks, and as things were wet, they were slick. It’s narrow, and it was getting muddy, but still, I pressed on. There were mini waterfalls and bubbling brooks and rolling streams the whole hike up. It was not a good time to have to pee.
I was tired, wet, a little cranky, hungry…but when I reached the top, it was all totally worth it. It was like a movie, where there’s a hard path to walk, and then you reach the summit that opens up into a magical view.
What goes up must come down, and on my very long hike down, I got soaked. It was definitely raining now, and I could barely enjoy the sounds of the rushing streams since I had to rush as fast as I could back to the car.
The storm followed me all the way to Denver (I actually got caught in blizzard-like conditions going through Vail), and had I not taken the two hour hiking detour, I’d have made it without getting stuck. It was completely worth the (what turned into an) eight hour drive from Grand Junction. I mean, where else could you see a waterfall off a highway?