|Carpet of Yellow Aspens leading to Charleston Peak|
|Mummy Mountain with a Robe of Yellow and Gold|
|Starting up Trail Canyon|
Most of our hikers have relaxed on the "training" part of the year but one more trip up to the North Loop ridge is almost required during the changing of the aspens to autumn colors of yellow and gold. (Very few reds.) The coordinator with four handsome hikers drove up to a chilly Trail Canyon Trailhead in the Spring Mountains NRA to take a slow and steady stroll up the mountain to enjoy a colorful photo fest among the aspens. The temperature was 43 degrees when we exited the cars but quickly dipped upon entering the shady beginnings of Trail Canyon Trail. We were all appropriately temperate prepared!
|Four Handsome Hikers on Trail Canyon|
Depending on how you view it, we were either just on time for the color or a tad late.
|A Look Back on Trail Canyon|
The aspen leaves at the trailhead were in the midst of turning and, as it turned out, the leaves at the top of the route were starting to dry up and fall off the trees.
|Starting up North Loop|
|From Green to Gold|
As soon as we started up the Trail Canyon Trail, we got the fourth photo of this entry. Already into it! The aspens in Trail Canyon were some of the best color of the morning. We immediately felt surrounded by yellow! Later, on the way down here, the folks that we passed had huge smiles on their faces ... yes, in Trail Canyon! That's probably what we looked like on the way up! Unusually, we took several photos on this well beaten path. Admittedly, this took a large toll on our timing. Right away, we knew that this hike might take a while but, when we finally got back to the cars, we were quite surprised at the long five hour time of the trek! It didn't seem that long.
|Partially Frozen Wooden Trough|
So, we paused at the Trail Canyon / North Loop saddle then turned left onto the North Loop.
|Cockscomb Peak framed in Gold|
Slowly, we made our way up to Cave Springs. There were more and more photos to be taken.
|Climbing the Long Switchback amid Aspens|
The aspens were all yellow and gold here. This coloring lasted until well past Cave Springs. When we reached the horse trough at Cave Springs, we found the water to be frozen on its two ends. There was a small steady stream of spring water flowing into the middle where there was no ice. After another short pause, we started up through the aspen tunnel on the following long switchback. Every few feet there was another photo to be taken by one of us. We were having such a great time! These are the views we will remember until next spring when we return to the Spring Mountains for our hikes.
|Enjoying the Day|
The slow steady pace kept us from getting too winded. And, the numerous photo stops helped, too.
|Someone has done some work where the horse fell.|
The open views of aspens below us were a sight to behold!
|Carpet of Aspens from Mummy Junction to Cockscomb Peak|
|North Loop Trail|
We passed Mummy Junction as the aspens were beginning to lose their yellowed / browned leaves. Nevertheless, we entered into a level of Wax Currant bushes that were also yellowing for the fall ... so, the color continued. As we approached the rocked hill where the horse slipped off last summer, we saw that there has been a lot of work done on the trail. This also explains several other places on the trail where we had noted small changes. Perhaps, the trail is being prepared for horse travel. Note: The trail is still very narrow and hangs on the side of cliffs all along the ridge. I would be scared for my horse ... just sayin'.
|Wax Currants Yellowing on the Cliffs|
The exact place where the horse fell is still the same ... just sayin' again.
|Are we there yet Ms. Coordinator?|
At this point, the trail becomes less steep and we felt we were able to reap our rewards for the climb.
|A Little more Cliff Beauty|
|And, we are there! The 4.3 Mile Overlook!|
We were above the aspens but we could still see them below us. It was a clear day and the temps had risen to "perfect." Just after a very small switchback, there is an overlook with log seating. This was our destination and we sat for a spell with the beauty laid out before us. Our view included the whole of Trail Canyon below us but Charleston Peak was still around the corner to the west. We had a grand view of the Mummy Toe to Waist and Fletcher Peak to the east. And, this included the aspen field. We could also see the entire Cockscomb Ridge from Mummy's Waist to the small community of Echo in Kyle Canyon.
|Overlook view into Trail Canyon|
As we took our break, two ladies clad in purple hiked up behind us with their brown standard poodle named Coffee. (We got our puppy fix.)
|South Loop Ridge Beyond|
Thinking we better start down, we set out. The plan was to go almost as slow as we came up.
|Taking our Time on the Descent|
|Negotiating the Horse Trap|
Taking a slow pace on the descent protects the knees and feet somewhat. As we passed the horse trap, we discussed the difference between horses and mules on trails such as this. (I wonder if there are street horses and trail horses ... like bikes.😕) The aspens were no less gorgeous on the way down ... all the way to the trailhead. Conversations were in depth. Yep. 5 hours. We know. That's a lot. But, what a great day!
8.5 miles; 2800 feet elevation gain; 5 hours
|Aspen Tunnel at 3 Mile Log|
|Griffith Peak above all Kinds of Yellow Aspens|
|Resting the Knees and Feet at Cave Spring (Ice Melted)|