4/28/2018 – MP3 Trail to Rimrock Overlook Snowshoe

Date of Hike: 4/28/2018
Location of Hike: Milepost 3 and Rimrock Trails
Trail Number: 704
Weather during Hike: A few sprinkles, overcast and a few sunbreaks
Hiking Buddies: Kirk and Thor
Start Time: 10:15 AM
End Time: 5:00 PM
Hike Distance: 7.6 miles
Pictures: Link
Today’s hike was going to be quite an adventure. Based on the weather reports, we were planning on getting rather wet, however things turned out quite different than we expected. The plan was to hike the MP3 trail to the Rimrock trail and then head east on the Rimrock trail to the overlook. We brought our snowshoes, and at some point, we figured we would need them.

It rained a bit on the way to the trailhead, but by the time we got there, the rain had stopped. Interestingly enough, back in January, I hiked this trail. It was oddly warm in January, and there was very little snow anywhere. The bad news was that the beginning of the trail was rather difficult to get to due to a tree that came down recently. Today, the good news was that someone had cleaned that all up, and the ramp leading up to the trail from the road was all clear!

We headed up the trail, and had a couple short periods of light rain, but they didn’t last long. The trail gains a fair amount of elevation relatively quickly, so it was tough going – but we didn’t encounter any snow on the lower portion of the trail. At the first rockslide, we found that while we could see a bit, the views weren’t great – lots of clouds:

We continued up the trail, doing minor trail maintenance – soon, we arrived at the junction with the Rimrock trail at about 4200′. This was the first real snow we saw. We stopped and had lunch:

While eating lunch, Thor played around in the snow, and Kirk and I talked about what our next objective was – we figured it was around 2 miles to the overlook, and decided we should have enough time (and hopefully energy) to do it. We headed out, down the trail heading east. The snow quickly began to get deeper. It wasn’t too hard at first without snowshoes, but soon it was easier to put them on – it is still harder to snowshoe than to hike, but it is easier than postholing.

For the most part, we followed the trail, but I think there were short sections where we missed it. The trail is very well blazed and that helped us to know we were on the actual trail.

Snowshoeing is very hard work as you have to lift your legs up a lot higher than you do when hiking. You also have to make your own trail in the snow which takes a lot more effort. After several rest breaks, we finally got to the overlook trail junction, and were surprised to see how deep the snow was:

Compare that to a picture take when there was no snow:

After a shore time of amazement at the snow depth, we then proceeded up the overlook trail, which is about a half mile to the viewpoint. Shortly after the junction, Kirk noticed this blaze that had almost disappeared into the snow – pretty amazing:

The snow continued to get deeper as we headed up to the overlook:

And right before the entrance to the overlook, the snow had really large drifts – Guessing they were 6 feet or more:

We made it up and out to the point, which was clear of snow (amazingly enough). The views from the point were not terrible, but none of the mountains were visible:

There was still a lot of snow on the north facing slopes too:

And there was a LOT of snow at the overlook:

While were out on the point, we could see dark clouds all around us. The weather forecast said there was supposed to be thunder storms about 2pm, which was right about the time we were there. We saw some dark clouds moving towards us, so we decided we should get back in the trees before it started raining. Just as we were getting ready to leave, the rain came in – in the form of snow! It wasn’t heavy, but it was definitely snowing. We decided it was a good time to head back down the hill. Once we were back in the trees we didn’t feel or see any of the rain/snow.

We made very good time going down the overlook trail (they way up seemed like the longest half mile I’ve ever done), and soon were back on the main Rimrock trail. As we were heading down, eagle eyed Kirk spotted one of these old insulators – it was so low due to the snow pack that we could almost touch it:

We continued down and soon came to the junction with the MP3 trail where we had lunch. We took off our snowshoes at this point and then continued down the trail. We made really good time on the way down – it is a lot easier going down than up!

As we were heading down, I noticed this beautiful scene – old trail thru an old moss covered rockslide:

I’ve seen it many times, but for some reason today it really moved me. What a beautiful scene.

We made it back to the truck about 5pm, all very tired from the days adventure. Just about the time we got there, it started raining. We were most fortunate with the day’s weather.

On the way down the 4635 road we spotted three deer that ran across the road!

We decided to stop at Fearless for a burger and a beer – a wonderful way to end a great day of adventuring in the woods!

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