I don’t get to walk on ice very often in my realm of hiking. Most of my activities are done in summer and fall, but occasionally there is an activity that drags me out into the wild cold wastelands to experience something new. Ashdown Gorge was that experience.
I had gotten antsy over the past few months when it comes to doing things in the outdoors. I have been extremely busy this semester with schooling and work and starting my own business. I had not the time to do any hikes and it was driving me crazy. So I decided to go on an adventure at seven in the morning in 18 degree temperatures to do something exciting.
Ashdown Gorge is located a few miles up Highway 14 on the left side of the road. The parking spot is where the huge land slide had occurred. We just parked on the side of the road and walked down the hill, but there is a better spot for parking on the left side of the road just before you reach the land slide area.
We arrived at 7:15 in the morning and headed down the steep slope. This was a bit precarious because there was no path and it was covered in snow. After a few minutes of crawling down the rock face we headed up the canyon.
Heading up the canyon means crossing back and forth over an ice covered stream. It is terrifying to creep across it for the first time hoping it is strong enough to hold you. There were plenty of snap crackle pop moments on this adventure but we made it with no incident.
On the hike you will encounter Coal Creek as it comes in from the right. Just stick to the stream that comes from the left. We did not have a path to follow, but we made it just fine. It takes a bit to get to the main part of the canyon, but it was obvious when we arrived. Due to the freakish cold weather we have been experiencing here these past few weeks, the river had completely frozen over.
The canyon is a narrow red rock slot canyon of a sort. It’s not a real slot, but it is narrow similar to the narrows in Zion.
About a mile down the stream, Flanagans Arch appears on the north side of the canyon. It is a huge 200 foot arch way up on the rock face. It’s a bit hard to see, but if you look for it, you will find it. I am not sure how to describe the spot to look for it. Just look up periodically to the north when ever there is a big opening in the canyon and you will see it.
At this point we had to turn around. We were on a time frame, so its safe to say there is more for me to explore.
Heading back did not take long. We had already figured out where all the thin and thick ice was. So much of the return hike was ice skating
For more images of the hike and the things we saw check out my other blog: Jackalope Photography