Cherry Creek, 15 August, 2021
Seven hikers turned out for the Cherry Creek hike; Ryan, Young, Ophelia, Nick, Becky, Kamren, and Dan (the leader). The air was smoky and cool. We picked up Nick in Smithfield and met Kamren and Becky at the trailhead adjacent to Cherry Creek Resort.
We started hiking just before 9 a.m. The first part of the trail is a road allowing access to water supply infrastructure. It soon reaches the Mount Naomi wilderness boundary. Cherry Creek was mostly dry. We found chokecherries along the way and passed a flowing spring. The group spread out along the trail with occasional stops for food and regrouping. We saw what might have been cougar tracks on the dusty trail. Nick reached the ridge first and looked down at us as we came up the final climb. Lunch break was taken on the ridge after climbing 3300 feet. The time was approximately 12:20 p.m.
Here we decided to split into two groups: the three women wanted to follow the ridge north to Cherry Peak and the four men along the ridge south and west to Cougar/City Peak.
The men's group set out bushwhacking along the ridge with some cautious side-hill travel. We made the climb up to our destination, unofficially known as Cougar or City Peak and took a break with very smoky views to Elmer, Cherry, Flattop and Naomi peaks. The time was 2:35 p.m.
We returned along the ridge descending into the forest and coming to the Cherry Creek trail without much trouble. Back on the trail, we set a good pace for the four miles back to the cars and the heat of the valley. The Cherry Peak group was ahead by about 10 minutes. The time was 5:55 p.m. at the trailhead.
Our GPS track showed about 9.6 miles with 3800 feet of ascent for the "Cougar Peak" hikers and an estimated 9.9 miles with 4000 feet of ascent for the Cherry Peak hikers.
Thanks to Dan for the narrative, photos and GPS data and Becky for photos.