Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Mummy Springs Loop CW - 7/22/19

Mummy's Toe from Deer Creek Ridge Trail


Mummy Springs

Starting up the North Loop Trail
Most of us like loops when we are doing a day hike! Today's loop hike began at Deer Creek Road and included Raintree and Mummy Springs. Eight hikers parked at the next large turnout on the right hand side of SR 158 past the North Loop Trailhead (coming from Kyle Canyon Road). We have named this the Cougar Ridge Trailhead since it is just across the paved road from the end of Cougar Ridge Trail, a dirt road that serves summer houses and cabins on up the mountain. Our clockwise loop route today began by hiking up the side of the paved road a short distance to an old access trail for the North Loop. We crossed the paved road and climbed on up to the North Loop Trail.

The North Loop Trail below Meadow
At this point, we were given the go ahead to climb up to the North Loop Meadow at our own pace.

Scene from North Loop Meadow
We separated into small groups as we climbed up through the woods. It was a beautiful day for hiking. Blue sky. Small clouds. Fresh air.

Group of Hikers arriving at the Meadow

Group of Hikers climbing the 12 Switchbacks
One by one or three by three, we arrived at the meadow and lounged on the large log under the shade of a tree. When everyone had gathered and taken a rest, we continued up the North Loop's 12 switchbacks. Again, we were told we could climb at our own pace and wait at the High Point Corner. Again, we arrived ragtag. None of us were in a hurry. It was very relaxing. I climbed up behind the tree onto the rocky knob to get the photo of Fletcher Peak found below. This ridge continues out for a distance to some cliffs above the Robbers' Roost area on the left and the Hummingbird Gulch area on the right. After this, I searched among the old bristlecones of the Winter Peak ridge for photos.

Fletcher Peak from High Point Corner
Winter Peak is the little peak used when snow covers the last stretch of trail before the High Point Corner. It lies between the two sides of the trail that form the corner.

Mummy's Toe from High Point Corner
When everyone had arrived, we hiked together down to Raintree. Along this stretch, the old bristlecones and Mummy's Toe made more lovely photos.

Bristlecone Beauties

Hiking to Raintree
We hiked into the deserted Raintree saddle. If you only get to hike to Raintree on the weekend, you never get to have the tree all to yourself! Thank goodness, no one was there climbing all over the tree and roots! Please remember folks, doing this only destroys the tree for future generations. Wouldn't it be cool if this tree became the oldest living bristlecone in the world someday? ... It could happen.... But, it is doubtful if dummies continue to abuse it. Just sayin'. We parked ourselves on one of many logs sitting around or near the area. This also allowed a couple of us to do a photo study of the 3000 yo tree.

Arriving at Raintree
After a few minutes of snacking and socializing, we gathered ourselves up and started down the Mummy Springs Trail found leading downhill to the right of the tree.

Taking a Break near Raintree
This is a beautiful wooded trail of around 1/3 mile that undulates down to one of Mummy Mountain's spring outlets. The spring area is seen as a whole in the third photo of this entry.

Hiking Mummy Springs Trail

View of Deer Creek Ridge 
We chose not to climb up to the little wet cliffs even though there is a broken down trail for this purpose. Instead, we took our photos of the spring from afar and, turning around, took photos of the Deer Creek Ridge that we would soon be descending. We waded through some light branches while following the trail around and stopped at the ridge junction. If you were to continue on this trail, there is about 7 switchbacks before the trail degrades to a scramble and climb up to the left. Eventually, you will arrived at the top of Mummy's Toe. (Ah, a hike for another day!) We turned right to start the descent down the ridge immediately passing a rudimentary campsite.

Hiking down Ridge Trail
The trail down the ridge is much more clear than it was when I first started hiking it. ... 10 years ago.

Ridge Trail
When we got to the bottom of the ridge, we had to descend to the ravine through a load of scree. This reminded me why I prefer to ascend this trail for a counterclockwise route. One of our hikers resorted to sitting and sliding. (I'm afraid the pants will not recover.) It was all in fun!

Scree Descent

Old Lean-to Shelter of Limbs
The trail continued down along the upper reaches of Deer Creek. A fair amount of water flowed down through the columbine plants. Clouds were blocking a potentially hot sun. Finally, we stepped out onto the Cougar Ridge Trail dirt road. The junction here is where the road takes a right angle turn. The residents prefer that you not hike further up the road here. We started down the road that also runs next to a harder flowing Deer Creek. Then we were hiking high above the picnic area. We passed under or around the road gate and out to SR 158 right across from where our cars were parked. This was a great hike by Lettie and the group was well matched and convivial.

5 miles; 1600 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours; average moving time 1.3 mph

Small Waterfall in Deer Creek with Columbines

Deer Creek

Finishing on the Cougar Ridge Trail

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