Fourteen hikers went for a 7.5 mile stroll at the top of Lee Canyon Highway today. The "stroll" included parts of four trails put together to make a loop that started and ended at the Old Mill Picnic Area. We began the hike by walking up the highway from Old Mill to the Bristlecone Trailhead. We cut off the last portion of the paved road by opting for various routes up the steep bank below the trailhead. We were already 1.2 miles into the hike at this point.
We climbed up the Bristlecone Trail for a mile. During this time, the group separated into a fast group and a slower group. We passed three hikers whom we knew and they joined us for part of the way. Everyone gathered again at the top of the No Name saddle after finishing the hardest part of the climb.
The writer is convinced that this trail gets steeper every time she hikes it! (She also thinks that tree that we have to climb over, as seen to the left, gets bigger around.) Anyway, once we all got to the saddle, we continued around to the right and through the old bristlecone forest. We met up with the Bonanza Trail on the other end of the old woods and sat down for a break.
Almost to the No Name Trail Saddle.
Tree in Old Bristlecone Forest
Taking a break at the Bonanza Trail Junction.
After our break, we started down the Bonanza Trail to the right and completed a few switchbacks. Three hikers detoured off the trail to find a geocache. A fourth hiker waited for them to return while the rest of the hikers continued down to junction again with the Bristlecone Trail. We all waited there for the four hikers and when one finally showed up saying that the geocache was not found quickly, we decided to continue on at a slow rate.
The hike led down the hill on the gravel road portion of the Bristlecone Trail. It was a beautiful day, however, the sun warmed us quickly every time it appeared from behind the clouds. The pace picked up forcing the three hikers who had detoured off trail to hike quickly to catch up. Just as we were about to make another trail turn, the three hikers showed up behind us. The geocache was finally found and all was well.
Our last turn was a left onto a rock lined path leading past an old cement foundation we assume was the "Old Mill." The trail came to the uppermost section of the Old Mill Picnic Area and we hiked down the pavement to the parking area. The patchwork of trails that we used for today's hike took us up and down around 1500 elevation feet over 7.5 miles.
Heading down the Old Mill Trail toward the picnic area.