Monday, Sep 3
11.7 miles to Bear Canyon via New World Gulch Trail
Got an early start again and strode off confidently up hill on the Wildhorse Trail. We got a bit confused looking for our turn-off for Mystic Lake, both map and GPS were confusing or downright wrong! Luckily, a man and his son came along on ATV and motorbike. He knew the area and told us that we should have turned on the S. Fork trail – which on the map looked as if it just stopped and went now where. He told us there was a woods road at the bottom which we follow left heading to the lake. Good to know…glad we bumped into someone who really knows the trails there. Off we went, steep down with switch-backs for about a mile or so. It does end and what do you know at the other end it’s marked as Wildhorse Trail, the one we wanted. From here, it was woods road until the lake. Before we got there, we stopped in a sunny spot for our coffee/breakfast break. This is a nice way to do the morning: leave camp early and then find a nice spot to cook coffee. Now that we were not on thru-hiker mode, we had time to do this kind of hiking and we both liked it. Mystic Lake was a long, narrow lake apparently man made. There was a spill way at the one end and we marveled that the water line could have been that high – now the water was way down! The Mystic Lake Trail was nice – good tread, above the lake and went the entire length of the lake on the west side. We did see some people who had camped there, but it didn’t seem very crowded.
Eventually, it led to our last trail into New World Gulch. This part was mostly wooded and also suffered much erosion from water and possibly bikes – kind of ditch-like a lot of the time. As we got closer to the bottom, we met more and more people. We made it to the parking lot by 1:20pm – just 20 minutes from our estimated time! Not bad. Lauran was there and drove us home! It was so nice of her and a big help to us. A great end to a great hike! This trail is highly recommended, and I’d do it again, no question. It would be fun to get the Windy Pass cabin once – it would require booking way ahead. Late August or beginning of September is a good time for it. Happy Trails!