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EXCITING Galena Peak The Perfect Day!

September 20, 2011

By: Janice Boyd

Leaders: Dave Comerzan, Mars Bonfire

I want to do it AGAIN!

This was one of the most FUN hiking adventures! The weather was PERFECT, a WONDERFUL group of hikers.

The hike began at 6:42 a.m. from the Vivian Creek parking lot. Clear, calm, in the low 50's, our group of eight dropped into the cool, damp creek bed in the dim light of dawn.

The gradual ascent was effortless along the flowing creek or above it on hard pack sand. It was delightful crossing rushing water and small waterfalls, without the glare of sun in our eyes. The mountain mahogany's fuzzy tail-like seeds could be seen glittering in the sky above the ridgeline, illuminated by the glow of the rising sun behind it.

The creek is now deep cut with sandy shoulders. Gone is the flat bed in which unrelenting mounds of boulders and rocks added extra distance and exertion due to zigzag boulder hopping.

After two years of heavy rain/snow, the creek bed, hillside and headwall dramatically changed landscape. To me, it improved the route. Wish I could have witnessed the transformation; tons of sand washing down miles of creek bed, the severe erosion of looming sections of hillside, side canyons thick with boulders and rocks.

Arriving at the base of the dreaded headwall, we broke into two groups of four for the ascent. The first 1/3 up the headwall was in a loose, sandy rock pile. As a small cohesive group, it was no problem stopping rocks that dislodged. 2/3rd's of the way up it became steeper as we traversed to the left across the tan hard pack, where footing was stable. The final and steepest ascent up the concave wall was thrilling going up to the top of the headwall where it meets the brushy saddle. From there, we walked on a Big Horn Sheep trail across the top of the headwall to the trail to Galena Peak. I much preferred Mars' efficient ascent up the headwall and across the sheep trail, instead of traversing the lower gray section.

From the top of the headwall (aka jumpoff), the climb to Galena Peak was on a steep and sometimes faint use trail weaving through trees; a beautiful route on a gorgeous day.

The contrast of rugged landscape in the shaded mellifluous creek bed in the morning, to the lush green carpet and forested views from atop the headwall, to spacious mountain vistas from Galena Peak were breathtaking.

Descending the headwall was even more FUN! I could easily see the route and going down was a breeze. About 2/3rd's down it was like dropping down a deep sandy scree run, while deftly avoiding rocks. Returning down the creek bed was speedy and carefree all the way to the parking lot.

Thank you leaders and hiking friends for a HAPPY and extraordinary day!

Leaders: Dave Comerzan, Mars Bonfire

Participants: George Christiansen, John Radalj, Gary Bowen, Suzy Herman, Doris Duval, Janice Boyd

Distance: 8 miles
Gain: 3,300'

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