Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mummy Springs Loop - 7/22/10

Fourteen hikers attended today's hike which was affection- ately called "Mummy Springs (The Hard Way)!" Making a 6-mile loop hike with the familiar destinations of Mummy Springs and Raintree, we began by parking at the North Loop Trailhead. From there, we hiked up Highway 158 (or Deer Creek Hwy) for a short distance and turned left onto the dirt road which leads up by the Deer Creek Picnic Area and on to the summer homes above.

When the road turned to the right at the cabins, we kept hiking straight up the hill finding ourselves on a small trail. This trail is the original trail for Mummy Springs and Mummy's Toe. It is a more difficult trail than the new one that comes from Raintree because it finds a steep ridge that climbs out of the canyon and continues on up to the new Mummy's Toe Trail without the use of switchbacks.

In these photos, you can see the steepness of the terrain. Why would anyone want to climb up the mountain this way when there is a perfectly good trail with switchbacks via the North Loop? Well, the views are tremendous. Climbing the steep ridge, the hiker can see the desert below through the mountains, Mummy's Chin peeking out over the horizon, Mummy's Toe beckoning from above and bristlecone trees ruling the roost all about.

While staying in touch by radio with two faster hikers, we climbed the ridge, turned left at the junction with the new Mummy's Toe Trail then met those two hikers at Mummy Springs for a snack. The springs were drizzling and feeding the orange and lavender columbine flowers which covered the hillside below them. The setting as seen in the first photo is peaceful and pleasant.

After a rest, we returned to the trail and hiked up to Raintree for another small break under the old landmark. After 3000 years (approximately), the old tree is still healthy with a lush canopy of bristles reaching up high. We soon started out on the return leg of our hike which led up the ridge that was filled with more bristlecone trees with yellow flowers scattered about.

We stopped for water and a breather two more times; once at the high point of the hike and once at the meadows. Although the pace of the hike was not slow, it was not a race and all the hikers enjoyed the outing which had quickly gained almost 1500 feet in elevation then, a little more slowly, lost the same. The hike only lasted about 3.5 hours.

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