The hike to the top of Porphyry peak (pronounced "por fer ee"; rymes with referee) and the loop around it is not one to sneeze at with 1100 feet of elevation gain and almost six miles of trail, but all nine gals, even Cathy--who was our newbie--handled the snowshoe well. No one took the chicken-out options at mile two or three.
We did have nice fluffy snow despite the lack of it, and the going was fairly good, aided by Katie, her husband Tom, Gordon and Jasmine breaking the trail earlier in the week. And after seeing how many obstacles were on this trail, Jasmine had come back and cut many of the logs and moved them aside, which was especially helpful not to have obstacles since the snow wasn't enough to cover them.
The climb up Porphyry always gets your heart going and today was no exception. It was a windy day,but the only time we really felt it was up on top where we ate lunch on the picnic tables under the look-out tower. Unfortunately, Katie's camera battery died, but luckily Gail took over as trip photographer! See her pictures at right.
Then it was pretty much downhill all of the way until we had to re-climb a bit to get back to the ski resort. This section of the trail is a rather new one, without many people knowing about it. It is not well marked with diamonds, so watch for cut logs to keep on the trail.
The trail is basically a loop: park at King's Hill; climb Porphyry peak, then go down the other side until you hit the snowmobile trail. Turn right and follow the snowmobile track until you see the cross country trail sign and then cut uphill until you come upon the Golden Goose ski run and reconnect to your tracks. Then it is a short distance back to your car at King's Hill pull-out where the snowmobilers park. The hike took us five hours to complete.
After our five-hour, six-mile hike, we decided to try the new Cougar Canyon Lodge that replaced the Cub's Den in Monarch for supper. Although the food was fine, we could tell that the place will need to hire more help as our server was also the bartender, so the service could be improved. And we did get to catch the end of the Grizzly game with their loss to North Dakota State Bison.
We started the day at 8 a.m. and returned home around 5:30.