Hmmm... this is going to be an interesting triplog to compose... as might the hike description I should write to better define this trail. It is a trail, and as of the end of today, it is an open passage to the top... a few of took the extra time to remove all of the obstructing brush, even in the lower lying stretches.
Trail though it might be, for the average hiker the route moves more like a precarious off trail passage. The lower couple of miles, whether you access from the old mining road as illustrated on the GPS route, or the really nice trail up from Fillmore Canyon trail are sane, safe and pleasant. Those miles bring you nicely up to the formation called Yellow Rocks. For most hikers, their day should end at this point.
That is not to say that there is not more to experience above and beyond that point... for the very conditioned hiker... one without issues of endurance, bad knees, less than great balance, limited descending skills... and eventually, scrambling exposure, to go beyond that point might be inviting. If any of those are at issue, a less than pleasant day may be ahead..
I'm glad I hiked this trail while I am still way out of shape and carrying a heavy backpack. In shape with a moderate load it could be a fast scramble up and back down. Most of my perspective expressed in this triplog (...and I'll hopefully include that perspective in the trail description) was garnered from talking with the variety of people on the hike. Their opinions spanned the spectrum about what the day was about.
The truly fit and accustomed to this style route: it was a day out, not so different than any other...
Others felt it was a challenge day... really hard to get up and down in the allowable daylight... a day that would require three or four days to recover from.
Others... just not fun. One hiker fell six times (fell five times the last time she did it). Another hiker fell three times. Basically, there was no good footing above Yellow Rock... and that feature added undue tension to the day.
Others... worst day of hiking ever!! Terrible route... pointless to ever go... take a hammer and hit yourself repeatedly instead; it would be more fun!
Myself... the extra slow pace made the up/down relatively easy. I was cutting brush most of the time. My extra heavy pack was giving me a high quality training day, in some respects. The footing was slippery; it was not a good route for my kind of endurance training... too scaly to run up or down. I'd have to say the better, more enjoyable day would be to hike Yellow Rock instead of the peak, but then again I'm not really a peak bagger. Most everyone on the trail today was just that... they wanted that top.
That raises yet another issue... just below the top is an exposed bit of scrambling. It has very secure foot placement... a couple of easy moves and you are around it. But, there is exposure. For those hikers sensitive to that issue, it could be a major problem. I talked one hiker through the section; he was scared to death. It is hard for folks not effected by exposure to realize the extent of the issue for those feeling the over impact of irrational perspective... irrational, but very real in that moment. There could even be an argument that there could be valid danger if a mistake were to happen.
I opted to forego the top and visit with another hiker today. I'll go back another day. My camera had died by then... I have to go back for more pictures anyway. I will wait until I am fully trained up so that I can catch the other end of the viewpoint perspective.
If I do write the description it will be the hardest I have ever written... I'm not sure how to effectively balance the ranges of feelings about this hike.
Now, I do not get to rest up from the day's efforts.. I need to cleanup... pakcup... and get ready for a 6am departure in the morning on one of the longer, harder canyon hikes. Probably will not get much sleep... might be slow going tomorrow!
Oh, yeah... I cached 60 oz lemonade down at Yellow Rocks for my hike out... only an empty bottle sitting there for me when I got to it on the way out! Ideally, fluid karma will rebalance on whomever snagged my drink!!
Maybe they really needed it... Maybe they wished they were home, hitting themself with a hammer!
Good Day on The Mountain!!!