Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mummy Springs (Up Deer Creek Trail & Down Wild Horse Ridge) - 7/14/15

Mummy Springs

Wild Horse Ridge (Angel Peak in Background)

Hiking up Cougar Ridge Trail
 Five female hikers decided on a short but sweet hike up to Mummy Springs, today. Our route du jour ascended via the Deer Creek Trail and returned via Wild Horse Ridge. After waiting about 15 minutes for the construction pilot car to take us up to the North Loop Trailhead area, we parked in the turnout directly across from Wild Horse Ridge. This is the first turnout on the right after passing the North Loop Trailhead parking areas. Today, the construction cones allowed us to slide into the turnout just off the road. (Can't wait till all that work is done. Just hope that we get a pit toilet at the North Loop Trailhead out of all of it!)

Columbines on Deer Creek Trail
 We crossed Deer Creek Road and started hiking up the dirt road that comes out there. This road, Cougar Ridge Trail, services several cabins and homes on the hillside above. When we reached the "No Trespassing" signs at a turn to the right, we headed straight up the canyon on a small trail off the road.

Gaining the Steep Ridge
 This trail follows the Deer Creek wash up the small canyon through a couple of fields of aquilegia (aka Granny's Bonnet or Columbine flowers). It passes by a substantially large shelter made of limbs and climbs up to the ridge on the right of the canyon.

The Deer Creek Ridge

Hiking the Ridge
 The climb to gain the ridge is steep and loose but, once you are on the ridge, the trail is pretty good and the climb will clear your lungs and strengthen your heart! The ridge trail junctions with the Mummy's Toe Trail at a primitive campsite. Turn right for the Toe and turn left for the springs. We turned left and welcomed the easy hike to the Mummy Springs area. The climb up to the rock wall at the springs is done by a trail on the left side of the area. This trail has deteriorated at a constant rate over the last eight years and, today, we chose not to climb up on the loose steep terrain. However, from experience, the wall and springs are a beautiful secluded garden usually decorated with columbine flowers and hanging moss.

Between Mummy Springs and Raintree

Raintree & Mummy's Toe
 So, we continued up the trail through a thick bristlecone forest covering the steep hillside. One third of a mile up, we found Raintree. A harsh cold wind was blowing over the ridge and we had already donned our jackets. So, we climbed a little past the tree and found seating next to the North Loop Trail out of the wind for our snack break. With Mummy's Toe towering over us, we enjoyed girl talk .... (Not something we can always indulge in with all the men around!) Afterwards, we continued up the North Loop to the High Point Corner and dropped down the switchbacks ending at the large meadow.

Taking a Break Out of the Wind
 We turned to the left at the big old tree and followed the Wild Horse cross trail out past the Wild Horse Canyon Trail junction. At this point, the cross trail becomes less clear but it continues out until you reach the "end of the earth." Next, you turn to your right. You have arrived at the tip top of Wild Horse Ridge.

Arriving at the North Loop Meadow
 A clear trail for the drop does not appear until you have dropped a little more. Then just follow this trail or ridge down in a straight line to a large open area. Bear to the right at the bottom and you have arrived at the long limestone ridge that parallels Wild Horse Canyon.

Arriving at the Beginning of Wild Horse Ridge

Mummy's Nose from Wild Horse Ridge
 Wild Horse Ridge is always a perfect ending to a hike. The ridge offers great views and seems to go on and on. Finally, at the end of the limestone, we dropped down to a trail below. Go right to end in Wild Horse Canyon. We went left and dropped down to Cougar Ridge Trail not far from our cars below. Not the fastest hike but definitely an enjoyable one! Kudos ladies!

5 miles; 1750 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours

Looking Down the Ridge

Nearing the End of Wild Horse Ridge

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