|Peak Summited||2022 Sutton Mountain|
|Type of Hike||Day hike|
|Hiking Companions||Hiked with a dog|
|Road Conditions||Road suitable for all vehicles|
|Bug Status||No bugs|
|Snow Conditions||Intermittent snow - not hard to cross|
|Trail Conditions||Minor obstacles posing few problems|
Evie (dog) and I got to the trailhead between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. There was a slight moment of confusion as I had driven past the trailhead. There are no markers, and there is little to no cell coverage. Thankfully I had pre downloaded the area on Gaia GPS and used that to make sure I had the right spot.
We parked across the highway and proceeded to make our way. The “gate” by the road seems to be a rather improvised setup that is a little tricky to work with. Beware the barbed wire! Evie almost got a face full of it. When facing the gate from the road pull the top of the left post to the left to release the tension in the wire hoop that is holding it in place. Pull the wire loop up making sure to keep hold of the top of the post so it doesn’t shoot out from the tension. Slowly tilt the top of the post to the right relieving the tension in the barbed wire gate. Then pull the post up out of the bottom wire loop and you are in. Then reverse the process to close the “gate.”
It was around 35 degrees with some snow squalls in the area. There was actually quite a bit of big heavy wet snow dropping right at the beginning of the hike. It wasn’t accumulating much since it was melting pretty quickly. But it was adding a bit to the mud. And there was a lot of mud!
The first half of the trail up goes through a mostly Juniper forest, making its way up a small gulch. Then there is a sharp turn and it begins climbing the hillside. It is here that the views start opening up as you circle the rounded ridge headed to the highlands of Sutton Mountain.
As we made it up to the top of the ridge and the land became high rolling pastureland, it got windy. Very windy. Like breath stealing, tough to stand in windy. And in the thirties, that kind of wind gets real cold real fast.
But we persevered through the wind of the highlands. And it really is highlands, looking like something you might see in Scotland (a bit less green on account of the desert). It is a rolling grassland with slopes that look very gentle.
Looks can be deceiving.
The last 1-2 miles up through this beautiful landscape of rolling heather and distant rugged desert mountains is a bit relentless. It isn’t super steep. Just consistent, constant trudging uphill.
I might have had a different experience on a less windy, cold day. But on this day that distance seemed to take a long time.
But we made it to the top! And once you pick one of the twin knobs at the top to which to make your short off-trail jaunt, you are greeted with a sheer drop off and a spectacular view to the south.
It really is a gorgeous hike. And one I might never have known to do if not for the COSPOP. I do highly recommend warmer, drier, and definitely less windy days for it.