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Tony Grove to Steam Mill, 5 August, 2018

Three intrepid hikers volunteered for the back-of-Gog exploratory hike: Laurel, Dave W, and Dave P (initiator). All three were leaders because it took everyone to follow the route, with help from GPS.

The day was calm and sunny but with considerable smoke from distant wildfires that obscured the views. After dropping a car at the Steam Mill trailhead we drove up to Tony Grove and started hiking about 9:25. The White Pine trail still had many wildflowers even though it had been very dry and some fields were brown. We observed a bull moose feeding near some willows about 100 ft from the trail. It was very calm and kept on eating while we talked.

We stopped at White Pine Lake to fuel up for the climb and so Dave W could remove a confusing sign to a restroom that no longer exists. Above the old restroom we found a path leading up above most of the talus slope. It was like climbing 1000 stair-steps, but we finally reached the rim of the cirque basin northeast of Naomi. A short climb to the northwest brought us to the pass between the White PIne Lake cirque and the cirque north of Mount Gog. After lunch in the shade of a limber pine we found a good horse trail leading from the pass down into the Gog cirque, which is a beautiful open valley with springs and patches of bare rock. We followed the horse trail down and out of the cirque where it dispersed in the meadows east of Mount Gog.

We walked across the meadow to intersect the old Double Top trail. At that point we thought it would be an easy walk out (the trail is on the map and it heads in a straight line north of the creek), but we kept losing it. It is so seldom used that vegetation obscures the faint trail. When we got to Shorty’s Cutoff where we originally planned to cross over to Steam Mill trail, we decided it would be easier to follow the White Pine trail out to the car. After Laurel found a log over White Pine Creek we crossed over without soaking a boot and hiked out. The lower elevation fields of mule ears were dry and brown. There was less water in the lower crossing of White Pine creek than in two large springs along the trail farther north. Two spotted deer fawns crossed the trail in front of us as we neared the end of our hike.

We got back to our "shuttle" car at Steam Mill Trailhead about 5, went to Tony Grove to pick up our other car and returned to Logan about 6.

Trip Summary:

  • Participants: Dave P., Dave W. and Laurel.
  • Drove 26 miles and left a car at the Steam Mill Trailhead, then another 11 miles to Tony Grove.
  • Started hiking about 9:25 with lunch on the Mount Gog ridge about 12:30.
  • Arrived at the Steam Mill Trailhead about 5:00 and back to Logan about 6:00.
  • Partly cloudy but smoky skies, breezy, and warm tempertures.
  • Hiked 11.6 miles (much of it was off-trail), with about 1700 feet of ascent and 3000 feet of descent.

Thanks to Dave P. for the narrative and Dave W. for photos and the GPS data .

The end of our hike, at the Steam Mill Trailhead
Clematis hirsutissima (hairy clematis) Senecio serra (sawtoothed groundsel or tall
Moose munching willows near upper Bunchgrass Creek
Looking south over White Pine Lake and cirque toward Mount Magog
Looking back at the ridge we descended while coming over from White Pine Lake A more distant look-back, from the vicinity of the old Double Top Trail (Mount Gog is on the left)
Our GPS track shows about 11.6 miles and 1700 feet of ascent and 3000 feet of descent

You can look at our route using: Google Earth, the various map and aerial views of Google Maps or download our GPS file.