Thursday, May 23, 2013

Raintree via North Loop - 5/23/13

Old Bristlecone in North Loop Meadows

Mummy's Toe from North Loop

 Twenty-two hikers arrived this morning for a trip up to Raintree via the North Loop Trail in the Spring Mountains NRA. We drove in carpools up Kyle Canyon then Deer Creek Highways and got out at the trailhead located on the left side of the road just past the Hilltop Campground. With Steve A. at the helm, we were instructed to meet again at the meadow of the North Loop just before the twelve switchbacks up to the high point. We had a few different speeds of hikers climbing the hill so the first hikers had to wait a while. Plus, there were three hikers that decided to get to the meadow by way of Wild Horse Canyon, a canyon located adjacent to the North Loop ascent.

View from North Loop to Desert Below

Maria Climbs North Loop Switchbacks

 There was a cool breeze blowing past the meadow so a few people then a few more then finally the last hikers began hiking the twelve switchbacks up to the ridge. Again, we gathered at the high point switchback and began filtering down the ridge to Raintree, an old bristlecone tree that is estimated to be around 3000 years old. Situated on a saddle at the base of Mummy's Toe Peak, the tree has been protected from the worst of the weather all of that time. Nevertheless, as we sat down for our break, windbreakers came out of packs. A bit chilly, it was.

Mummy's Nose Behind Old Meadows Bristlecone

Leaving the High Point Toward Raintree

 The entire group of twenty-two were quite separated and just when the last group arrived at Raintree, the first group began hiking back down the mountain. With much conversation going on, the whole hike seemed to carry on quickly. With 5 miles and 1828 feet of elevation gain, the hike is a gentle challenge. And, even with the smoke filled valley below, the air was fresh and clear in the mountains.

Raintree Roots

Maria Leads the Pack Down Through the Meadow

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