Mount Gog Meadow, 22-24 July, 2023

Six came for the 2-night backpack (Saturday to Monday): Dan, Nick, Brent L., Catherine, Susan, and Dave P. (leader).  Four hikers came for the day-hike: Jane E., Kathy, Michelle, and Ophelia.  The day-hikers were going to park at Tony Grove Lake, but the lot was full so they drove back to the backcountry parking lot where the backpackers had parked.  We hiked together on the White Pine Trail and then down the White Pine/Bunchgrass Trail to a spring run where we had lunch.

 After lunch the day-hikers headed back to Tony Grove and we (the backpackers) continued down the White Pine/Bunchgrass trail.  We turned off on a path that led up the valley east of Mt. Gog.  After about 1/3 mile this path became indistinct and we headed east across the valley toward the Double-Top trail.  This traverse was boggy and required two stream crossings on logs.  On the Double-Top trail we met a horseman who was heading down the trail.  He was the only other person we saw after leaving the White Pine/Bunchgrass trail.  The Double-Top trail is rarely used, and if it was not shown on maps it would probably be lost in vegetation.

Our campsite was in a large meadow at an elevation of 8500 feet.  We arrived at camp about 1:45 p.m., 5 hours from the trailhead, including lunch. We were surprised to see cows in the meadow.  Susan whispered to the “ladies” asking them to leave and they did.  There were big springs and clear streams around the meadow and a few patches of trees for shade.  The weather was warm, and shaded spots for tents were desirable.  Wildflowers were in full bloom everywhere.  Bumble bees and butterflies were around but spread thinly over the abundance of flowers. We were bothered somewhat by biting flies in the day and mosquitoes when we sat still to cook in the evening and early morning.

One camper’s boot sole came loose but fortunately we had supplies to make a temporary repair.  One person had nylon cord that held the sole to the boot, another had a sharp knife to make holes in the sole for the cord, another had tent glue that was used between the sole and the boot, and another had duct tape to protect the cord.

On Sunday Brent, Susan, and Dave followed a faint horse track up through the valley north of Mt. Gog, over a pass at the head of the valley, and into the valley west of White Pine Lake, which had jumbled karst topography.  There were patches of snow starting at about 8700 feet in shaded areas.  We turned around at a water-filled sink hole where the track became too faint to follow. On the way back we were surprised to see Nick at the pass.  He had explored the north Gog valley on his own.  Nick headed west, up to the ridge overlooking the High Creek valley and Cherry Peak.  The other three of us headed back down the valley to the campsite.  Catherine and Dan enjoyed smaller scale explorations around camp, and Brent and Susan joined them relaxing in the shade by a stream.  Dave followed the horse track below camp on Mt. Gog side of the valley until it was lost in the vegetation.

On Monday we left camp about 9 a.m., didn’t stop for lunch, and arrived at the trailhead at 1 p.m.

Trip Summary:
  • Backpackers Dan, Nick, Brent L., Catherine, Susan, and Dave P. (leader), hikers Jane E., Kathy, Michelle, and Ophelia
  • Drove 29 miles to the Backcountry Trailhead near at Tony Grove
  • Started hiking Saturday about 9:00, lunch about 11:40 - 12:20, hikers were back at Tony Grove about 3:00.  Backpackers arrived in camp about 1:45 Saturday, left about 9:00 Monday and returned to Tony Grove about 1:00
  • Clear skies and warm temperatures
  • Hikers traveled about 8.5 miles with 1500 feet of ascent and descent

Thanks for Dave P for the narrative and photos, Susan and Dan for photos, and Jane for photos and GPS data.

Can't read the sign?  The right fork goes toward White Pine Lake!
Everyone rested at this shady stop along the trail and turned right at the White Pine Canyon trail junction
After enjoying a shady lunch,
the hikers happily returned to Tony Grove.

The backpackers left the trail and headed north,
 they crossed over streams along the way,

and set up camp in a meadow north of Mount Gog.

They hugged trees,
cooled off,
rode an elephant,

 explored nearby areas,
walked through wildflower meadows,
and dodged goats.

Can this poor sole be saved?

Heading back toward Tony Grove

Mule ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis Indian paintbrush, Castilleja ssp.

Colorado "blue" columbine, Aquilegia coerulea

Sugar bowls, Clematis hirsutissiumum, in early fruit

Our GPS track shows about  8.5 miles and 1500 feet of ascent for the hikers.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.