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Vinzenz Lausmann on Groundhog Day (observed)

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 6:55 pm
by Chip Down
Looking for something new, I spotted a trail system SW of Mitchel Point. Not a long trail, but lots of add-on possibilities, and a dead end that must be something interesting (trails don't normally just end arbitrarily).

When I opened my car door at the Mitchel Point trailhead, I was blasted with wind-driven wet sloppy snow. Oh, this was going to be a miserable start. Imagine how bad it must have been higher up. But at least it would dry out and turn to good snow with a half hour of climbing.

I reached Mitchel Point around sunrise. All white, both ground and sky. I headed west on the powerline road, looking for the southbound trail. It was faint and unsigned, but clear enough that there was no doubt.

My trail wandered and switchbacked, and took big pointless diversions. This had to be a bike trail; nobody builds a hiking trail that meanders this much. The were spurs upon spurs, and soon I gave up on trying to cover them all. It was challenging enough just to remember how to get back down.

I came to a beautiful steep crisp ridge, and decided to go up instead of following the trail down, but as I turned and ascended the crest, I realized I wasn't the first.

There continued to be countless opportunities to explore, but I mostly went up. Reached a viewless high point at about 2200', and decided that was as good a place as any to call it quits.

Took a different route down, which was initially on a very nice ridgecrest, but became more and more brushy before finally dumping me on the powerline road just west of Mitchel Point. Mitchel was now bare, the morning's snow already gone. It was mostly sunny, and not too cold, but windier than expected. Still, a nice place to linger over a couple beers.

At Mitchel and below, it was surprisingly crowded for a Feb Monday. I hadn't seen a soul all day, but must have seen nearly a dozen in the last hour.