Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deer Creek - 6/19/10

Forty- one hikers made the journey through time on the Deer Creek Trail today. Beginning in the parking lot on Highway 156 (or Deer Creek Hwy), we crossed the road and began hiking up through the Deer Creek picnic area. At the early hour of nine o'clock, the picnic tables were already beginning to fill. Next to the paved trail, the creek ran full while making little waterfalls and opportunities for building small dams in an afternoon of fun and relaxation.

After passing Picnic Table #7, which was the last one on the paved route, we crossed an old gate to turn onto a dirt road which serves a few mountain homes in the area. We saw the sign that said "NO TRESPASSING" and kept walking. It helps if you know the owner of the land. This property is an old resort area that began its life in the 20's just previous to the Great Depression. The present owner of the property is rebuilding the resort by his own hand. He is truly making the property a place of reverie again.

Just past the owner's cabin lies the old sawmill that was used to build the original mountain resort. There isn't much left of it but it is interesting to imagine the flurry of activity that must have been a day to day occurrence in this place at that time. Up the road, we would pass the ruins of the workers' quarters which are now in total disarray. We wondered if this site would be rebuilt as it was or as another cabin to be rented out.

Beyond the sawmill, we could see Mummy's Toe which is part of Mummy Mountain. This whole area lies beneath this large mountain which is the second highest peak in the Spring Mountain range. The entire mountain is viewed best from the Lee Canyon Highway (or Hwy 157). The shape of the mummy is obvious here to the observer with the toes to the left, the tummy in the middle and the head to the right.

After leaving the sawmill and passing the worker's quarters, we passed a couple more cabins as the road became steep and slippery with rock and dirt. The final climb brought us to an overlook. The view was dominated by Mummy's Nose. The head of the mummy in the mountain, is made up of a few different peaks. The most prominent peak is the "nose." From the place we stood, it was impossible to see the whole head configuration, therefore, see previous paragraph.

We sat at the overlook where there were many log stools and benches and ate our snack. The smell of the forest permeated our nostrils as our lungs hungrily breathed in the fresh, cool mountain air. We gazed at the high and tilted peak before us or spoke heartily to our friends.

Finally, the short three mile hike had to begin its end and we began our careful climb down the steep dirt road. We felt lucky to have been allowed to experience the Deer Creek road and its lovely facades of log cabins and history.

When we got back down to the picnic area, the tables were full. Families were enjoying the creek. Dams were being made. Burgers and tacos were on the grill. Dogs were playing with balls. The forest ranger was patrolling. And, marshmallows were roasting on open (grill) fires.

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