Wrong Trails Causes Mega Elevation Gain, Extra Mile of Walking
After a drive to the top of Kings Hill pass at 8 a.m., we started out on the trail that takes one up to the top of Porphyry Peak. After a brief break to use the bathrooms and have a snack on top, we dropped over the side on the Ranch Creek trailhead. However, Katie missed the turn off point. She started wondering why so many people had traveled the usually sparsely used 747 trail and why it was so well marked. She figured Jasmine had come and put up blue diamonds, so it was nice not to have to rely on old marking tape to indicate the trail. The day, despite being predicted to have snow, was gorgeous and sunny with little wind. We really rejoiced in the beautiful day and discussed how it was good we went to the trailhead instead of cancelling.
However, after the downhill, the trail went back up, another clue that we weren't on 747. We went a bit farther until we came out on a large open area, what must be a beautiful meadow in spring. Then the trail continued up and looked to be the Mizpah Bowl area, and in fact it was. We turned around, Katie thinking we were on the Ranch Creek trail. A pair of skiers came by and confirmed that we were on Ranch Creek and would have at least five more miles to go before dropping down to the road. And if we did continue, we would get out late and have to hitchhike back to our cars. It was lucky we had decided to go back. But then, we had to face climbing Porphyry Peak again. If we had been on 747, we would have had only a bit of uphill at the end, not a reclimb of a mountain. This had a few of us discouraged, feeling tired. One had knee pain.
So three of the gals went ahead to warn the ski patrol at Top Rock Cafe that we has some who were struggling who may need a ride the rest of the way. Luckily, no one actually needed the ski patrol as we muscled our way to the top within 20 minutes of the other group.
After meeting at the top, some had coffee and sandwiches in the Top Rock Cafe, while others decided just to head down to the car. We all met together before the end of the trail, feeling lucky to get off our feet.
Then it was off to Cougar Cafe for some drinks: hot chocolate and a few a bit harder than that, before heading home. We arrived home around 6 pm., an hour later than we anticipated, but then we also climbed 800 more feet and went a mile longer than expected too.
Who went: Mary, Susan, Paula, Dedre, Sara, Katie