So much rain over the past three days. This had a negative impact on our hiking due to flash floods and washed out trails. Yesterday it looked as though the rain would finally stop and we could get out to resume our hikes.
Our plan was to hike the Jim Thompson Trail. This trail crosses a creek which requires wading or boulder hopping. My research told me not to cross if the water was high. With three days of almost continuous rain, the water was indeed high.
We opted to make another attempt at Brins Mesa. We had done this trail before and we wanted to go out farther and make a loop around the northernmost Soldier Pass Trailhead. When we got to that point in the hike we could not find the trailhead. We searched for almost 20 minutes. It simply was not anywhere to be found. Except on the map.
I inadvertently switched off the tracker near the end of the hike so my numbers are a bit different than what was recorded on the GaiaGPS app. The hike was 6.5 miles and just under 5 hours. We climbed 904 feet although the climb was much easier than the hike at Bear Mountain.
Here is a short video which provides an overview of the hike on the GaiaGPS app.
And here is a video of the hike.
We parked roughly half a mile from the Brins Mesa Trailhead. The road up to that trailhead is really quite nasty and we were able to find a parking spot near the Jim Thompson Trailhead.
First observation in getting out of the car?
We might get our feet wet today.
The marker for the Jim Thompson Trail is on the other side of where we parked. We braced ourselves for the start of a new hike.
Unfortunately the creek on the Jim Thompson Trail was not dry. And we were not ready to get our feet wet this early in the day. We turned back.
We then took the Jordan Trail over to Brins Mesa. We decided to make a loop of Brins Mesa which we later found out was a loop that did not exist. Either that or we simply couldn’t find the trailhead connector in the dense forest.
Water, as you can see in this photo, was everywhere on the trails.
There were many runoffs like this one on the hike. Easy enough to jump across. For now.
We had broken clouds as we started the hike. It was a brisk morning although the sunshine made it seem fairly mild.
As the hike progressed, dark clouds started coming in.
As we began the main climb up Brins Mesa, the rain started to come down. A light rain. Nothing that required us to put on the rain gear. I forgot to bring snowshoes which I almost needed later on in the day.
There is a faux summit on the way up the mesa with a nice lookout to the canyon below.
The clouds were low and they began to cover the mountain peaks.
The rain covered the rocks and the trail, already muddy from the rains of the previous three days, was eager to swallow my hiking shoes. I had to take evasive action. For perspective, you can just make out where Lorraine is ascending at the lower left side of the photo.
The trail performs a secondary function, that of a creek.
All of this water made for a bit of a challenging ascent to the top of Brins Mesa.
Once we achieved the summit, a different world opened up before us. Blue sky, sunshine, warm weather. No rain.
Although a beautiful landscape you can see the mud and water on the trail.
Despite my best efforts at evading the mud, my right foot sunk deep into the wet and soggy trail. I quite enjoyed the feeling of moisture in my right foot for the next three hours. Which was a good thing as more mud and water would be found later in the trail.
We did run into a dozen or so hikers as we made our way deeper into Brins Mesa. I was surpised by the number of hikers that went out without any water and wearing light clothing and running shoes. The trails were thick with mud and the weather changed dramatically by the hour.
We had to turn back a bit earlier than we hoped as Brins Mesa was washed out by the high water in one of the creeks. As we passed this area of the trail, we diverted to the flat plateau on the horizon and took a break for lunch.
This was our view from the lunch break.
Time to begin the descent down Brins Mesa. I think it is over 500 feet to hike down the mesa. It seemed much longer with all of the water on the trail.
What do we have here? Those dark clouds started to drop snow! And then some hail. And finally some rain. The precipitation became so heavy that we had to pack our cameras and throw on our rain gear.
Once we got to the bottom of Brins Mesa, the sun broke through the storm clouds and it became a summer day. We experienced three seasons on this hike: winter, spring and summer.
As we made the turn on the last part of the Brins Mesa Trail we passed the friendly giant in the distance. He keeps watch over this part of the forest.