Coldwater Spring Loop, 9 August, 2020
Fourteen hikers and one dog (Jasper) took the Coldwater Spring Loop: Teresa, Kaylee, Kris, Jane, Dave W, Susan, Robert, David, Michelle, Laurel, Brent, Bridger, Deanna and Dave P (leader). The weather was clear, warm, and with a slight breeze, fortunately.
Not far from the trailhead on a shady slope were huckleberry bushes. They are rarely seen in these mountains and were likely there due to slightly acid soil formed on quartzite. This year there were few berries on the bushes and they were not ripe, either. The wildflowers were glorious, especially Indian paintbrush and purple fleabane. At the junction of Bear Hollow Trail a group of four hikers that several of our group know caught up with us. They decided to take the loop in the opposite direction. We passed Coldwater Spring where Jasper got a good drink. At the junction with Smithfield Canyon Trail Dave W explained that horsemen had made a popular but unapproved trail that parallels the ridge trail on the west side. We took the ridge trail, which is a bit rocky in spots, but has better views and flowers.
We stopped for lunch at the knoll just south of the junction with the Blind Hollow trail. The four hikers that took the opposite way passed us after Dave W showed them where the Blind Hollow yurt is located. A person riding a horse and trailing a mule with a saddle was headed up the ridge and stopped to talk.
From close to the yurt we took the north alternate route down to Blind Hollow because it is less eroded than the official trail. After rejoining the official trail we passed through meadows of tall grasses, coneflower, and larkspur that were more than waist high (fortunately the cows had not arrived yet). When we got to the turn off to Hansen Pond we found water in the creek, which was appreciated by Jasper. At Hansen Pond a grouse was seen quickly but quietly walking uphill after our bird-dog passed it and headed downhill. During the hot climb back up Bear Hollow the group separated a bit but we got back together at the junction with the Coldwater Spring trail, completed the loop, and headed back to the cars.
Thanks to Dave P. for the narrative and photos, Jane for photos and Dave W. for photos and GPS data.