Cherry Peak, 20 September, 2020
Fifteen hikers and one dog turned out for the socially distant Tony Grove to Cherry Peak hike. Eleven hikers met at the regular spot and four joined us at the Tony Grove trailhead and started on the trail about 9:10 a.m., enjoying the cool (if a bit smokey) morning air at 8000 feet elevation. Jack provided a naturalist talk about a 500 year old Engelmann Spruce which is found along the trail (this tree is huge).
There were mountain bluebirds, juncos, Clark's nutcracker, raptors along the way. The trail passed the (now dry) waterfall and went up to the saddle at 9800 feet elevation at the Wilderness boundary near Mt. Naomi. The group split here, with Dave P., Dave W., Laurel, Jane and Susan going to Naomi Peak (9979 feet) and returning to Tony Grove, Jack heading off toward White Pine Lake for a solo off-trail loop and the others continuing down the trail toward Cherry Peak.
Cherry Peak hikers, Dan, Deanna, Beula, Naveen, Teresa, Tawnya, Ralph, Blake and Matt descended to the High Creek saddle, climbed to the southwest side of Cherry Peak and made the steep ascent to the peak. The nine hikers spent a half-hour on top of 9765 foot Cherry Peak enjoying lunch and taking photos. They were joined by an acquaintance from the University who was trail running the entire Summit Creek drainage (amazingly enough).
After lunch on the peak, Tawnya and Matt followed the ridge to the west into Cherry Creek drainage, ending at the Cherry Peak ski resort (see http://www.cachehikers.org/Reports/TonyGroveCherryCreek/NaomiPeakCherryCreekSept2018REPORT.html for a description of a similar hike). Ralph, Teresa, Buela and Naveen returned along the same route they followed to the peak. Deanna, Dan, Blake, and Jasper the dog went down the ridge to the east, descending a rocky, exposed section before joining the other hikers at the High Creek saddle. The group, now seven in number, climbed back to the Naomi saddle, where Blake went ahead on his own while the other took a short rest.
The descent back to Tony Grove Lake was uneventful although there were multitudes of hikers coming up the trail and the afternoon temperature was warmer, too. Hiking ended at the trailhead parking lot about 4:45 p.m. after about 9.6 miles and 3400 feet of climbing (of course the distance and ascent totals were different for the other groups).
Thanks to Dan for the narrative, photos and GPS data, and Dave P., Deana, Jane and Dave W. for photos.