March 28-29, 2015« More activities from 2015
Scouts and adults gathered at the church at 8am, checked out the gear we needed, and took off a little after 9am for our Monte Cristo campout. We stopped at the Verlot Public Service Center to see the museum and pickup forrest passes. We parked in the upper parking lot at Barlow Pass, ate lunch, unloaded all of our gear, ran through some safety and general hiking skills, and got moving by about 12:30pm.
We knew we’d need to cross the South Fork Sauk River after about a mile, but the first log crossing we saw did not look right, so we continued on, having to cross a little creek feeding into the Sauk. Once we got past that boot soaker, the trail started climbing. We knew this wasn’t right, and decided we were on the trail up to Foggy Lake, so we headed back the way we came (crossing the creek again). We made it back to the log and crossed, but there was no trail on the other side, so we had to bushwhack through to the Monte Cristo Trail. Once we got there, it was a straightforward hike the rest of the way to the campsite, though we were tired after the extra 3 hour detour (6 miles and 5 hours total on Saturday). There was only one other person at the campsite when we got there at 5:30pm. We setup our camp, made dinner, built a campfire, and relaxed for the rest of the evening.
We got up at 7am on Sunday, ate breakfast, and headed across the bridge to the Monte Cristo mining ghost town. We got the railroad turntable spinning like a top and then explored all the town relics and buildings. We got back to camp around noon and ate lunch. After lunch we broke camp, stowed all of our gear, and then spent a good half-hour cleaning up the campsites. We removed quite a bit of garbage, cans, bottles, broken glass, etc., built up the existing fire rings with lots of rocks that were strewn around camp, and cleaned up a bunch of garbage in and around the outhouse before we left camp.
On the way back, we found the correct log crossing, and then saw why we had missed it on the way in. There is a new “Weeden Creek Trail” sign blocking the side trail down to the log! We took a photo and noted it’s location for the next time we make this trip. We got back to the car by a little after 3pm. It was much nicer to hike only 4 miles in 2 hours on the way out…
We stopped at Red Bridge to visit a hard rock mine right near the side of Mountain Loop Highway. The outside of the mine was pretty easy to see from the road, so we walked down to take a peek. It was wet and drippy inside and the walls had lots of graffiti on them. It was very dark near the end, maybe 100 feet or more inside. Then we hopped back in the car, stopped at the Verlot Public Service Center for water and a bio-break, and made it back to the church by about 5:15pm. – MHG