5 miles on Mayhem Gulch Trail

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This week’s hike once again takes us to a Jefferson County Open Space Park. We are so fortunate to live in a county where open space has meant so much for the past 40 years. Today, the Open Space System covers more than 52,000 acres, includes 28 regional parks and boasts a trail system that spans 227 miles. Centennial Cone Park is one of open space’s largest parks at over 3,300 acres. It is connected to Clear Creek Open Space Park along US 6. Jefferson County Open Space and Clear Creek County are constructing a segment of the “Peaks to Plains Trail.” The Peaks to Plains Trail will be a 65-mile off-highway opportunity to travel from the Continental Divide to the confluence of the South Platte River in Adams County. Construction is expected to conclude in June of 2015.

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The trail leaves the busy route of US 6 as locals and tourists head up and down from Metro Denver to the historic mining (and now gambling) towns of Blackhawk and Central City. Recent rains have swollen Clear Creek to a raging river as it roars down to Denver.

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The Denver area boasts 300+ annual days of sunshine, but today was destined to be one of the 65 days of precipitation. The weather reports warned of heaver afternoon showers. We decided to go out and hike no matter what the weather to test out our rain gear we will be using on the Camino. Here, Sandy shows off our waterproof hiking gear as we ascend up the trail.

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Mayhem Gulch trail is a single track trail that gently climbs about 400′ above the trailhead and around Centennial Cone. The trail was in great shape, even with the recent heavy rains in the area.

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Just over a mile up the trail we came upon an old mine. This was after we transitioned to the Juniper Ridge Trail. This photo shows the mine in the background and the really neat type of forest we hiked through in the foreground.

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As we made our way around the loop, we entered Mayhem Gulch. You can see why it is called “mayhem” with photograph. Sandy commented that watching spring run off must be spectacular here.

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Sandy with the trail during our decent back to the trailhead. Overall, it was a very successful hike. It did not rain as much as we expected, but we were able to wear our foul weather gear and get some valuable experience with our gear. We especially found the importance of balancing the need to keep dry with the need to keep from overheating. Thank God for pit zips and full side zippers on rain pants!

Total distance 5 miles, elevation gain of 400′.

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Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

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