Ok, let me tell you a story. My friend Kayla and I have similar interests in terms of taking photos. I enjoy the challenging aspect of getting that one random photo that came out amazing. For her, I’m pretty sure it’s passion all the way around.
Ousel Falls has a short trail that you can hike through. There also happens to be waterfall nearby if you walk downwards. We both heard that this waterfall was frozen and I’ve never seen a frozen waterfall before. That became the trigger in wanting to start an adventure. We’ve been separately interested in wanting to go take photos there and during a conversation one day, we just planned a last second outing to do it.
Let me start with this. I was totally unprepared.
It was really cold. We thought we could walk it from the bus stop, and we almost did. We had a short distance left, but the cold started bearing down on us both to the point where I called an Uber. Luckily, while Uber is not prominent on the mountain, there was a driver nearby. We got our heat on, and thanked the Uber driver for his ride. We then started our hike.
I’m going to say that I felt like I was smart in what I had with me. I had a bag with an extra hat, gloves, thermal and wool shirt, water, snack bar, and a few other items. You just never know. But as I mentioned in my last post, I recommended you to spend the money on really good boots if you’re going hiking. ESPECIALLY in the winter.
I chose what I wore because the boots were waterproof and “slip resistant.” The reality was that the ones I had on were more designed for a work environment. They weren’t made to hike any trails, but they did have some sort of tread on them, and I thought I’d be ok.
I was wrong on epic proportions.
I nearly fell off this mountain trail numerous times.
I don’t think that it would have been as difficult in the summer based on what I was wearing as footwear. During this period however, I was slipping and sliding all over a narrow path that led to our destination. Most of the trail was iced over and the elevation would sharply change at some points because of the snow. The trail itself doesn’t have any rails, so if you slip and you start going off the trail, there was a very real possibility that you could slide down and potentially introduce yourself to a tree. For the most part, I caught my footing. But I did fall down a few times and had to crawl back up.
I ended up giving Kayla the lead and I let her know I was behind her. She had the right boots, and I was concerned that my losing balance would cause her to lose hers. I pretty much struggled through the entire path.
When we finally got to our intended destination, we had a moment of silence. We were staring and looking around. It was pure bliss. We had done it. We stayed there for a little while and just relaxed. It was about an hour and a half, maybe two hours into our journey, and we still had to get back before we started losing light.
If you didn’t figure already, I “slid” the whole the way up too. There was even a section I had just decided to crawl up on the side of the path on all fours on knowing I’d fail to successfully walk up this specific section of the trail. Going down to the waterfall was a lot easier than I thought it was at the time, thats for sure. It was much harder going back up.
Officially I will be working in Yellowstone at the end of April. I’ll try to make it a summer trip to see the difference.
As for mentions about boots… I haven’t bought any yet. I posted on social media asking what kind of boots would be good to purchase for both seasons. The answers are so various. Some people just say to get a good pair of hiking boots in general. If you know you will slide around in the winter, to look at purchasing Micro-spikes or crampons for them. I’m still gathering information, but I’ll update this section when I make a decision!
Here are a couple additional photos I took. Unfortunately it was ridiculously bright that day and I hadn’t been in that scenario. Typically when I’m out and about it’s been snowing. And it’s been forever since I practiced modifying my shutter speed and ISO settings, since most of my photos are “intentionally” random. My photos aren’t as amazing as Kayla’s. You can visit her post about Montana here. That girl got skill!