Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mummy Springs Loop (up Deer Creek & down Wild Horse Ridge) - 6/16/18

Mummy Springs


Wild Horse Ridge (Angel Peak in Distance)

Starting up Cougar Ridge Trail
Mummy Springs Loop is a nice 5 mile loop that includes the springs that emanate from Mummy Mountain, Raintree, Deer Creek and, in this case, Wild Horse Ridge. The loop can be hiked clockwise or counter-clockwise. Today, thirteen hikers did the more strenuous direction of counter-clockwise; ascending on the Deer Creek side and descending via Wild Horse Ridge. We parked off of Deer Creek Road in the Spring Mountains NRA. There is a large turnout on the right side of the road after the North Loop Trailhead. Right across the road from there is a dirt road that leads up to several summer homes. This dirt road is called Cougar Ridge Trail.

Deer Creek and Columbines
The hike begins by hiking up Cougar Ridge Trail until the road takes a 90 degree turn to the right. The road runs by the Deer Creek Picnic Area and a sometimes strongly flowing Deer Creek.

Following Deer Creek Trail through the Old Dam
As we walked along Deer Creek, we saw very little water. Near the turn, we saw columbines growing along a very small stream. Not unusual for this time of year.

The Shelter on Deer Creek Trail

Climbing onto Deer Creek Ridge
The group gathered at the 90 degree turn. This is where the route changes to trail, the Deer Creek Trail. We kept straight through some dumped brush onto a trail that runs up beside the dry creek. More columbines lined the creek bed. We hiked through a basin that used to be an old dammed pond. This pond was likely used for the sawmill whose ruins lie nearby. Next, we passed the kids' log shelter/lean-to that appears to be still maintained. A semi-cairned trail led us all the way to a large craggy boulder on the left side of the trail. This is a good landmark for where the route should climb up to the neighboring ridge to the right. ... to Deer Creek Ridge.

Climbing onto Deer Creek Ridge
Deer Creek Ridge is ... hmm ... legendary! It is a steep bugger! Therefore, labeled strenuous.

View from bottom of Deer Creek Ridge
We climbed up through the light scree on a trail to the lower terminus of the ridge. The view we saw from this point is seen in the photo above.

Mummy's Toe seen from Deer Creek Ridge

Climbing Deer Creek Ridge
The group separated since they needed to tackle this monster at their personal pace. It is a beautiful ridge if you take a glance at it between the huffing and puffing. Bristlecones line the apparent trail and Mummy's Toe rises up ahead and to the left. The trail balances nicely on the top of the ridge all the way up to where it T's into the Mummy's Toe Trail. As is usually the case, the front hikers had a long wait at the top as the back hikers trickled up. (Hmm, can you "trickle up?") Anyway, we all made it and turned to the left on the Mummy's Toe Trail. Soon, we were at the base of Mummy Springs. The rocks on the hillside to the right were damp, as seen in the first photo of this entry.

Mike at Mummy Springs
Usually, we take a trip up the hill to take a close up look at the spring area. Today, we decided to view it from afar.

Hiking from Mummy Springs to Raintree
Some of us had gotten a little chilly after our sweaty ascent so we continued up the trail to Raintree for our break.

Taking a Break at Raintree

Arriving at High Point Corner
Immediately, we noticed a man sitting on the roots of Raintree. There's just not a real polite way to tell a person to stop sitting on the roots but I tried and he just glared at me. Anyway, we took our break sitting on the logs surrounding the tree where we could admire the old landmark. Then, we continued along the North Loop Trail to the High Point Corner. From there we descended the twelve North Loop switchbacks passing several other Saturday hikers. We gathered again at the Wild Horse Trail junction under another grand old bristlecone. We had three choices for our descent: down the North Loop Trail, down Wild Horse Canyon, or down Wild Horse Ridge. First, we turned left onto the Wild Horse Trail.

Descending the North Loop Switchbacks
 On the way out this small quiet trail, we decided to take the old Wild Horse Ridge Trail down instead of the newer Cactus Jack crossover. So, just when the trail took a decided drop down into small switchbacks, we stepped over some debris and went straight.

Arriving at the North Loop Meadow
There is still somewhat of a trail and we followed it just fine. (There isn't much danger in passing the correct ridge since a steep drop comes right after the trail turns down to the right) Soon, we ended up at the top of Wild Horse Ridge. There were a few young people sitting here enjoying the day.

Wild Horse Landmark Tree

Mummy's Nose from Wild Horse Trail
Wild Horse Ridge is certainly one of the Spring Mountains' best attributes. It is a half mile of a wide solid rock with drop offs on both sides. You can hike it easily from top to bottom where you have a short drop down to the hillside. Here, you can go right to enter Wild Horse Canyon or you can go straight to drop down to Deer Creek Road. We took a third option and turned left to drop down to Cougar Ridge Trail. On the dirt road, we turned to the right and returned to the cars. Fantastic day. Fantastic bunch of hikers! Lots of laughs!

5 miles; 1700 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Starting down Wild Horse Ridge

Descending Wild Horse Ridge (Mummy Mountain Behind)

Mummy's Nose from Wild Horse Ridge

This track shows the difference between the Old Wild Horse Ridge Trail and the newer Cactus Jack Trail.

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