Thursday, June 1, 2017

Mummy Springs Loop - 6/1/17

Mummy Springs during Snow Melt

Mummy's Nose from North Loop Meadow

Wild Horse Ridge View

Starting up Cougar Ridge Trail
 The snow in the Spring Mountains NRA is melting and water is running strong in all the main arteries. Today's hike to Mummy Springs gave two of those arteries a chance to show off. We were all very impressed! Fifteen hikers in 4 cars parked at the Cougar Ridge Trail turnout on Deer Creek Road. As you are driving from Kyle Canyon, it is the first large turnout on the right side of the road after the North Loop Trailhead. We crossed the road and started hiking up the dirt road called Cougar Ridge Trail. There is a gate soon that is placed there to keep non-residents from driving up the road toward the summer homes and cabins.

Passing Loop Junction (L)
 Not far after the gate, we passed the landmark boulder up to our left where we would be coming down off of Wild Horse Ridge to complete the loop at the end of the hike.

Deer Creek flowing Strong & New Fence around Pipe
 Even though we were hiking high above Deer Creek, we could hear the water rushing below. Eventually, we paralleled the creek. Sights and sounds were gorgeous!

Deer Creek next to Trail

Hiking up Deer Creek Trail
 When the road made a right angle turn to the right, we continued going straight after regathering. This put us on the Deer Creek Trail. After following the creek for a short distance, we turned up to the right. The trail continues up the canyon passing a long standing shelter until it passes a ravine that flows down from the right. Here, the trail finds its way up a very steep scree trail to surmount the end of a ridge. This begins the "ridge trail." Everyone knows about the ridge trail! It is steep and difficult as it passes through the 9000+' elevation range.

Climbing to top of the Ridge
 Today's group was very strong but the last three hikers lagged behind a little. The rest of the group waited at the top where the ridge met the Mummy's Toe Trail.

Climbing the Ridge Trail
 There was a lot of wind today making it very cold sometimes. But, we were producing our own heat, too!

Mummy's Toe from Ridge Trail

Gathering at the Junction
 When the last three hikers reached the junction, we caught our breath then turned to the left. This trail took us quickly around to the Mummy Springs ravine. To our left, there was a wide open expanse. To our right, we looked up to see Mummy Springs flowing stronger than any of us had ever seen. There was still quite a bit of snow lining the trail that climbs up to the springs so five of us zigzagged our way up and took our photos. An igloo was formed on the left end of the small springs cliff.

Quite a Climb!
 On the right of the cliff, there was a waterfall as seen in the first photo of this entry.

Trail up to Mummy Springs
 After taking photos, we found our way back down the hill and followed after the hikers that had already headed toward Raintree.

Waterfall at Mummy Springs

View down from Waterfall
 There were just a few snowbanks on the Mummy Springs Trail before reaching Raintree. Nothing we couldn't handle. Then, at Raintree, we sat in the sun for a break. A few of us dropped down over the hill a little to get out of the wind. In the sun, the temperatures were very comfortable. Every year, we need to remind hikers to refrain from sitting on the big roots of Raintree. It is very unhealthy for the tree and it is a small thing we can do to reassure that future hikers will be able to enjoy the tree, too.

Mummy Springs Trail to Raintree
 Next, we started "down" by climbing up along North Loop to the High Point Corner. At just over 10,000 feet, this corner is the high point of several hikes in this area.

Snack Break at Raintree
 There is one large snowbank just below the corner that presents a small challenge. If you decide to slide down it on your rear, please remember to wear gloves!

Hiking North Loop to High Point Corner

Starting down North Loop Switchbacks
 The twelve North Loop switchbacks are next. These are best done with a lot of conversation. One hiker escaped for a few moments to find a geocache. Our next regathering was at the Wild Horse Canyon / Meadow junction. We turned left next to the large old bristlecone that stands there. Now, we were on a single track trail that traversed above the canyons and ravines that dropped down to the right. Then, the trail turns decidedly to the right and begins a series of small steep switchbacks.

Arriving at the North Loop Meadow and Wild Horse Canyon Junction
 Slippery business but we survived! At the end of the switchbacks, we continued straight through a dip then up another switchback. This was the junction of the Cactus Jack Trail.

Descending Wild Horse Canyon Switchbacks
 The Cactus Jack Trail traverses over to the top of Wild Horse Ridge. As we reached the limestone, the terrain and forest opened up. This is a beautiful ridge with open views all around.

Mummy's Nose and Wild Horse Ridge from Cactus Jack Trail

Wild Horse Ridge
 We enjoyed our descent down the ridge taking several photos. Then, when we were almost down to the end, we came upon someone's abandoned campsite. They had left a bagful of trash so we, as a group, picked up the mess. People! Why is it so hard to pack out what you pack in? Please, police your campsite! From there, we dropped off the end of the ridge and followed a small trail down to Cougar Ridge Trail and back to the cars. A fantastic hike. All were invigorated!

5 miles; 1800 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Descending Wild Horse Ridge (Mummy Mtn. in Background)

Dropping off End of Ridge

Connecting with Cougar Ridge Trail to Finish Loop

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