Friday’s hike was up (and then down) the Gold Ridge Trail.  We started at the Deer Creek Trailhead, hiked a short way on the Deer Creek Trail and then hiked up, and up, and up even more on the Gold Ridge Trail.  We split up into several groups for this hike.  Bob and I hiked 12.3 miles with a total ascent of just over 3,000 feet.

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A look in the general direction of where we’d be going as seen from the Deer Creek Trail:

A small cactus seen in the early morning light:

A view to the southeast from the Gold Ridge trail, early on:

Bob, Marilyn, Janet, and Nick taking a break at the gate.  We had to hike uphill to get to this point, but that section was easy compared to what was ahead of us.

A view to the northwest:

The view to the northeast; Marilyn, Janet, and Nick are in this photo, but you have to look very closely to see them.

A similar view, but this time with a boulder in the foreground:

One of many hills visited by the trail.  From where I’m standing, it looks like the hill at the left is the “top”, but when you get to the top of that hill, it becomes evident that you go down a short ways and then up an even higher hill beyond.  This occurs repeatedly throughout the hike.

Bob, topping out on the hill in the previous photo:

A dead, and toppled, agave stalk:

Another view towards the east.  Note the lake – Nick says he thinks it’s Roosevelt Lake – towards the upper right of the photo:

A view to the northeast after we’d hiked up several of the large hills:

We saw a patch of melting snow on the trail.  My hands were sticky on the way back from consuming some gels and a Power Bar.  I used some of the snow to wash my hands.

As we were hiking out, we looked back and saw this rock outcropping on the top of one of the hills:

This area had been burned by the Willow Fire back in 2004.  We saw a lot of dead trees, some standing as shown in the photo below, but others fallen, some of which we had to cross over or under during our hike:

At around the six mile point, I saw this sign pointing back the way we came:

The Gold Ridge Trail meets up with the Mazatzal Divide Trail.  We didn’t hike this trail; we instead turned around and went back the way we came.

Another look at the rock outcropping through some colorful vegetation:

Another view of the distant lake, this time through some trees.

A closer look at the rock outcropping:

A dead tree intermixed with new growth:

Poppies and other vegetation:

Poppies, purple flowers – I don’t know what they are – along with a big clump of grass with a rock behind it.

I saw this boulder field, intermixed with dead agaves and some trees as I approached the gate where Marilyn, Janet, Nick, and Bob were waiting for me.

A colorful flowering bush:

Almost done!  My GPS showed that I had hiked 12 miles at this point.  It was only 0.3 miles back to the parking area.