Thursday, June 8, 2023

Raintree v North Loop & Wild Horse Ridge - 6/8/23

Raintree in front of Mummy's Toe
Snow covers Mummy Springs Trail to right of Sign.

Three of us made it up to Raintree, finally. We felt like we were the last to arrive this spring but we had been too busy doing the waterfall tour of the Spring Mountains! It was a cold day but we didn't get rained on. The snow is still there and we had to climb over Winter Peak, a trail that leads up and over a rise to the right of the last switchback. This adds a bit of elevation gain to the traditional hike. We also had to scoot over to the ridge trail above the last small distance before reaching Raintree. On the way down, we used the Cactus Jack Trail and showed Chuck Wild Horse Ridge! He was a newbie! All in all, it was a loop from the North Loop Trailhead. The track below doesn't reflect Winter Peak nor Cactus Jack Trail. 

Great day!

Stats: ~6 miles; ~2000' gain; ~ 4 hours

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Mummy Springs v Deer Creek O&B - 6/5/23

Mummy Springs & Snow Melt

Mummy Springs snow melt from Mummy Mountain

Deer Creek

Deer Creek running next to Picnic Area
For our next water extravaganza, we had heard that the ground was snow-free all the way up Deer Creek Trail to the Mummy Springs area. So, six club members parked at the Deer Creek Picnic Area parking and started up the pavement on the other side of the road. Immediately, we noticed that Deer Creek was flowing strong; perhaps even stronger than we had ever seen it before. There was a huge pond that had collected in the wash right at the road. We didn't see anywhere that it was able to flow through to the other side. Hiking up the hill next to the picnic tables, we enjoyed the creek waterfalls and sounds. At this early hour, there were few other people around.

Deer Creek next to Cougar Ridge Trail

Deer Creek next to Deer Creek Trail

Climbing up to Deer Creek Ridge

Leaning into the climb on the Ridge
At the top of the hill, the pavement intersected with a dirt road, Cougar Ridge Trail. We turned right onto the dirt road and continued climbing along the creek until the road took a right angle turn to the right. Here, our route changed to the Deer Creek Trail that continued straight ahead. Once again, we were impressed with the abundance of water and how we had to navigate the interrupted trail. On our way up, we had to veer off the trail to pass by a large fallen tree. While trying to return to the trail, we temporarily lost the route. Eventually, we did find the trail again but this area was not a problem on our return. Still with no snow in our path, we climbed up onto the ridge to the right at the landmark boulder.

Snow among the trees below Raintree

Jerry & Cheryl hiking up through the Campsite

Chuck & Ralyn reach the Springs (behind the bush) from Different Directions

Water Splashes
The climb was as challenging as ever but we all made it up at different speeds of slow. At last, we were turning left onto the Mummy Springs / Toe Trail. We were snow free until we reached the field below the Mummy Springs Falls. And, ... yes ... dripping Mummy Springs was now a waterfall that flowed down the mountain from Mummy's Toe. Without spikes, we struggled in the steep icy wet snow that covered the field. Ralyn and I decided to climb through the thick aspens on the right side. This area had no snow but it did have one of the springs that flowed from underneath a large boulder. The ground below the spring was muddy so hiking through there was yet another challenge. Regardless, we all made it up to the waterfall for photos.

Six with Sticks at Mummy Springs & Snow Melt

Descent on Ridge Trail

It's still here!

Cabin or Shed Remnants next to Deer Creek
We took plenty of photos and enjoyed the view for a few minutes then started down. Getting down through the snow and aspens was slow but we all made it on our own chosen path. From there, we continued to return to the cars the same way we had come up. The creek was just as beautiful on the way down as it was on the way up! Picnickers were arriving as we hiked down through the area. Excellent hike! 

Stats: 4 miles; 1500' gain; 3 hours

Trail approach to Cougar Ridge Trail

Finishing down the Picnic Area Pavement 

Back up water before Deer Creek Road Culvert

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Hidden Falls - 6/3/23

The Gang at the Bottom of Hidden Falls

View Up Canyon from Trail

On the Trail

Upper section of Hidden Falls
There is a waterfall that normally only runs in the spring with the snow melt. In fact, sometimes, it barely runs then. This year, with all the snow that the southwest received during the winter of '23, Hidden Falls is running strong and is worth the steep climb up to see it in person. However, it is recommended that you bring microspikes for the trip! And, maybe a piece of cardboard or plastic for sliding down the snow in the descent! Five club hikers met up at the Trail Canyon Trailhead early on this Saturday morning before the crowds overran the parking lot. We walked down to the utility building and passed around it on the right side. This area is the base of a very old ski run that was complete with a T-Bar!

Snow in Canyon below Falls

Climbing up the Snowy Canyon (Falls to Left)

Hikers dealing with the Snow

At the Base of Hidden Falls

Charlie's view up the Hidden Falls Cliff
Heading straight up the hill that used to be the T-Bar run, we soon veered off to the left on a trail. Both the run and the trail are legitimate ways to reach the top of the T-Bar run and its machinery. Here, there is an obvious trail heading up into the weeds. We stayed on the right side of the canyon and soon met the snow line. The snow is steep but most of our small group plugged along with some sort of speed. I was in the back! Finally, I reached the top area where everyone else was gathered. I stayed a few feet down so that I could take photos. The complete waterfall is very tall and twisty. It is difficult to get it all into even a panoramic photo! A few moments later, we started back down. Hmm. Everyone seemed to have their own style of snow descent. I tried side-stepping for a while then hit a lot of wet icy slush. Down, I went, and the second time, I just stayed down and "glissaded" down the snow. So much wet fun! Together again, we hiked down to the T-Bar machinery and followed the old run back down to the utility building. We continued our hike by doing a "first of the season" climb up Trail Canyon. Whew! Wow! Look for the downed trees at the saddle.

Stats: Hidden Falls 1.25 miles; 600' gain; 1.25 hours

                                                                                     Trail Canyon 4.2 miles; 1500' gain; 2.25 hours

Cliffs to right of Hidden Falls

Kay taking the easy way Down - So much wet fun!

Old T-Bar Apparatus & Run

Two large Trees downed at Trail Canyon Saddle

Charlie took this of Charlie!

The graph and track photos below are of the Hidden Falls hike only.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Cathedral Rock and Little Falls - 6/1/23

Little Falls

Echo Falls

(L-R) Harris Peak, Rainbow Saddle, South Loop 1st Overlook, The Vatican

Cathedral Rock from Echo Trailhead
Five club members met at the Echo Trailhead in the Echo section of Kyle Canyon for a 6 mile hike touring Echo Falls, Cathedral Rock, the manhole cover and Little Falls. The snow is clear from the trail except for one smallish section in the upper part of Cathedral Rock Trail before you reach the final climb. There is a go around here if you so desire. Water is running strong from the waterfalls and washes. We are still working on getting our high elevation lungs so this was a workout for us. We started up the Echo Trail and hiked over to the connecting trail to Cathedral Rock Trail. Just before we reached the first signed trail junction, we had to cross the wash that was flowing with water down from Little Falls. See the photo below.

Creek Crossing at Little Falls Trail Junction


Climbing the Switchbacks

Hiking up to Echo Falls (Background)

Lower part of Echo Falls behind Snowbank 
A left turn at the junction sign sent us over to the Cathedral Rock Trail junction. No snow. No water. Just hills. We turned right at the sign and began climbing the long switchbacks up through Mazie Canyon, an avalanche valley that is filled with aspens. It was still early so we didn't see too many other hikers. In a playful mood, we took the first of several group photos on the first bench next to the trail. Then, one by one, we climbed up to the Echo Falls junction. Let's go see the falls! Wow! Very nice. This waterfall is separated into two sections. We couldn't see the lower section very well because of the snowbank that covered the view. Above that, a bridge of snow laid over the normally sunken area. Then, a nice waterfall fell above that.

Enjoying the View

Mummy's Toe from Cathedral Rock Trail

Bruce takes it all In

Water running off at base of Cathedral Rock final Climb

View from top of Rock down Kyle Canyon
We continued the climb passing a newly fallen tree and the culvert wash that runs down the hill to the right. Then an enjoyable climb up the final rock to the overlook. Chipmunks were already sneaking around asking for handouts. Cute little critters. Poking their heads up and scurrying here and there. This was our wildlife for the day! We took a good break but there was a rain cloud growing over our heads. We had places to hike and beauty to see so we started down and turned to the right. A quick hike over to the manhole cover showed that the Little Falls water was running loudly below and the manhole cover was under the snow. Next, it was back down the Cathedral Rock Trail.

Preparing to leave the Rock

Charleston Peak from Cathedral Rock Descent

Mazie Canyon and Washes up to the South Loop

Trail narrows leading up to the Manhole Cover

New Tree Fall
The cloud above us was getting larger and heavier but the worst of it appeared to be over the North Loop ridge. We wasted no time descending to the old trail that shortcutted down to the Echo Trail. A very few sprinkles were felt. Mike said there were 7 drops! We passed the Echo Trail junction and began our climb up the Little Falls Trail. Someone, bless their hearts, has swept the Little Falls Trail clean! At the top, we rounded the corner into the small Little Falls Canyon and were met with the expected water rushing down through debris. We all got wet shoes as we climbed up through the obstacle course. No one fell through the snow and ice (amazingly). Turning the corner, we saw what we came to see. Little Falls in all her glory!

Cathedral Rock Trail

Starting up the Little Falls Trail

Rounding the Corner to the Water below Little Falls

Hard not to get Wet!

Hiking up to Little Falls
I've seen the falls running strong before but this time it was running even more. There was a bridge of icy snow above the lower section of falling water. And, above that, the falls squiggled down a rock chute of the cliff. We stayed there for several minutes taking photos. Finally, we started down getting even more wet than we did going up! Down the nice clean trail. Turned left at the sign. Crossed the wash. Hiked back to the trailhead. A fun and fantastic day!

Stats: 5.8 miles; 1650' gain; 3.45 hours

P.S. The GPS track below shows a different order of the hike with Little Falls being climbed first.

Group shot in front of lower part of Little Falls

Returning down the Water

Beautiful Rushing Water