This was a nice refreshing loop I did as an overnighter. This hike would also make a great a day hike.
I haven't had much time for backpacking lately. I've only gone once since I've gotten home from Colorado, and that was for trail maintenance. Oppressive if you ask me!
On Friday morning an email landed in my mailbox. My one and only class that day was cancelled. I took it as a sign, and gathered my things for a night outside. I really didn't have time to put something together. I needed wrap up the school week and be out the door in 4 hours tops. I opened up Route Manager, and picked something in the backlog. This was a great candidate considering the constraints.
Around 2:30 PM I arrived at the Horton Creek TH. The fall colors along Horton Creek Trail are very hit or miss at the moment, but overall lacking.
I set up camp at the creek, and got ready to settle in for the night. There were 2 groups of 2 in the area, but we were all spread apart far enough that it was extremely quite and peaceful. Quite a rare event on a Friday night for such a popular area, and I think all parties were enjoying it.
That was all out the window around 9:30PM, when a group of 5 boys and their dad/chaperone rolled in. They decided despite all of the available campsites nearby, to build a new fire ring right next to my campsite. Not a big deal though, as this was what I expected anyway for Horton, it was surprising the peace and quite lasted as long as it did.
The next morning I got out of dodge just as the flock started rolling in. Didn't see a soul on Horton Springs Trail. Navigation wasn't terrible going up, there is an ample amount of cairns marking this route, some hidden in the tall grasses. Steep but doable even with a backpack, although I was packing pretty light. Oddly enough I had the hardest time following this trail right at the top just before it connects with FR 300. The cairns blend in really well with all the other rocks.
I did the FR 300 walk with a couple of backpackers who were doing the same loop, but over 2 nights. My recovering lower-back was giving me issues as I topped out on Horton Springs Trail, and I thought about turning back. Knowing that at least someone was behind me and could help if I locked up like an old grandpa, I decided to keep going. It didn't turn out to be a big deal anyway, I was fine the entire hike after popping some ibuprofen.
I lost the 2 backpackers soon after dropping into See Canyon. Great company, but there was no way I was making it back to the TH before dark at their pace. This was my first time in See Canyon and I was impressed. Great fall colors going on right now in the upper part of the canyon. Overall I thought this was a pretty area from top to bottom.
After hitting See Canyon TH, I had the trail all to myself all the way to the Derrick TH.
This is a lovely little section of the Highline, and I had forgotten how good it was since the first time I did it back in Spring of 2015. Great views of the top of the rim + mazzies + hells gate. A winner in my book. It was a little warm in the exposed areas of the Highline, but there was usually a light breeze which felt awesome.
Would do again.Foliage
Mostly concentrated in Upper See Canyon, with pockets on the Highline and Horton.