Maughan Hollow - Cottonwood Loop, 29 May, 2022
Ten intrepid hikers, Susan (trip leader), Jane, Dave W., Dave P., Brent J., Brent L., Ophelia, Teresa, Michelle and David W., braved unseasonably cool and rainy weather for this Memorial Day weekend hike.
The originally scheduled hike was to start at the Right-Hand Fork trailhead, go up Willow Creek and traverse in a counterclockwise loop via an unmarked drainage and return to the parking area via the Little Cottonwood trail (see our 2021 trip report).
After discussing hiking options in case the weather worsened, the group carpooled from Logan arriving at the trailhead about 8:35 a.m. The decision was made to start at the Little Cottonwood trail. This would give hikers access to the (anticipated) blue camas (Camassia quamash) meadow closer to that trailhead with options of either an out-and-back trip or continuing with a clockwise loop.
The trail was muddy and slippery making foot travel difficult and slow. We reached the first stock pond for a group photo and continued to the meadow where, unfortunately, not many camas were blooming. The existing flowers were possibly frost damaged or not well formed due to a dry spell earlier in the spring. We noticed that many leaves were yellowed.
We decided to continue, hoping the rain would hold off. Unfortunately, it began raining in earnest with the wind picking up in the open exposed area about ½ mile from the saddle where the two-track road we had been following turns to the east. Several in the party donned rain ponchos. Feet were getting soaked and some hikers started getting cold.
At the saddle, hikers stopped for a brief lunch/snack break in a grove of (not fully leafed out) Bigtooth maple trees. Due to worsening weather conditions (snow/rain mix), the group decided to return via the Maughan Hollow trail to reduce trip time back to the cars (we went this way in the opposite direction on our 2016 trip).
Thanks to Susan for the narrative and photos, Jane and Dave P. for photos and Dave W. for photos and GPS data.