In search of Red October.
Because of the idiots in Washington, like the rest of the improved areas in the state, the Mingus area was closed/locked for camping, bathrooms locked, trash cans taken away. Even the $5.00 day use envelopes were taken away, so it's a day of free hiking.
I've been to the Mingus area now 10 or so times times and still can't figure out why this area does not get more hikers. There are trails of all different skill levels, lengths and elevation gains. Temps are always 20 degrees cooler than the valley, and tree cover abounds. Other than Woodchute Mountain, I've seen no more than 4 hikers total.
We parked up top and started hiking to the South into Gaddes Canyon
with scattered spots of snow, frost on the ground and 40 degree temps. The canyon is mainly oak and walnut and little color to be found. There was plenty sign of bear, some pretty recent. A pretty trail. A short walk up FR413 and we were on the Colman Trail
. It's a short steep climb to some excellent views to the South and then once on top, to the north and east. From my last hike up here I remembered not liking this trail, but I must have misremembered, it's actually quite nice.
Now on top, we stopped back at the truck for a snack and to pick up additional moisture for the remaining 12 miles.
The Butterfly Trail
was the next memorable area up there. While no butterfly's were spotted, its a scenic trail in a little canyon with plenty of tree cover, a spring and small tank. After a road walk, we went cross country on a "Faint" trail to get to the scenic Upper Mescal Trail
until it met up with the Bug Hollow Trail
. Both very pleasant trails.
North Mingus, Mingus and the View Point Trail
all connect to take you around the north side of Mingus Mountain and then ultimately climb steeply up the western face back to the parking area.
The first decent color all day was 2/3rds of the way in on the North Mingus Trail
and was just a pocket 100 yards or so long. The final color was spotted at the end on the View Point Trail
People, get out and enjoy this area.......Foliage
Isolated pockets of yellow/red maple. Majority of deciduous makeup is oak in the area. Still a week or two early for the best color