Scheduled for Fridays, year-round, the Moderate Group is one option under the Ashland Hiking Group. It is for those who need or desire a lightly paced, shorter hike than is customary in the other AHG options. These hikes feature an easy pace for 4-6 miles (occasionally 7) and typically under 800’ elevation gain. Winter snowshoeing distances and elevation gains will be less.
We take a leisurely lunch break to socialize and sometimes share a short poem or other form of inspiration (voluntary but welcomed). On the trail, we stay together for safety and enjoyment. If a hiker wants to stop short of the destination, at least one fellow hiker will join. We recommend a hiking pole or two, and sturdy hiking boots. When driving a distance, we may have a voluntary post-hike experience in the area or on our return drive. Bring lunch, plenty of liquids, sunscreen, hat, and basic first aid items. Seasonal items include bug repellent, raincoat, winter attire and snowshoes.
Leave the Rite Aid parking lot on Ashland Street at 9:00 AM (unless informed otherwise for a given hike). Plan a full day, unless the hike location is close to Ashland. Carpooling is by personal choice, arranged at Rite Aid parking. All hikers must sign a liability waiver, provided by the hike leader, before their first hike with an Ashland Hiking Group, which covers liability for any of the AHG hike options.
While the Covid 19 Pandemic is with us, hikers must be fully vaccinated and bring masks for use when close to others or indoors, and while driving together in an enclosed vehicle.
THESE PLANNED TRIPS MAY BE JUGGLED BASED ON SNOW AND TRAIL CONDITIONS
January 7, 2022: Snowshoe Mt. Ashland Ski Area above Grouse Gap
TH: Closed gate on FS Road 20, just beyond the Mt Ashland Ski Area parking lot. Sno-Park Permit required. EDT: 30 minutes. Description: From the ski area back parking lot follow FS 20 for 2.3 miles to the turn for the Grouse Gap shelter. Head south for 0.3 miles to the shelter for lunch. Return the same way. Distance: 5 miles; elevation gain: around 400 feet. Or, go as far as you like with at least one other buddy and return same way for a shorter distance. NOTE: XC skis are fine if at least 2 participants prearrange to XC ski together. Big Red SNOTEL. Weather Forecast. RT mileage: 40 miles.
January 14, 2022: Snowshoe at MOON PRAIRIE
TH: Follow DIM 22 miles to the Deadwood Sno-Park (junction with FS Road 37). Sno-Park Permit required. EDT: 45 minutes. Description: Cross DIM from the Sno-Park and head south along Moon Prairie Road. Snowshoe up the road and go right at the junction. We will snowshoe for 1.5-2.0 miles and then return the same way. Distance 3-4 miles. NOTE: XC skis are fine if at least 2 participants prearrange to XC ski together. Howard Prairie SNOTEL. Weather Forecast. RT mileage: 50 miles.
January 21, 2022: Snowshoe along east side of HYATT LAKE
TH: Drive up Highway 66 to Greensprings Inn and turn left onto road to Hyatt Lake, traveling 3 miles to the PCT road crossing and the Sno-Park directly ahead. Sno-Park permit required. EDT: 50 minutes. The gate of the access road to Hyatt Lake campgrounds is closed in winter. Description: Snowshoe northward toward Wildcat Campground on this closed road from the park entrance booth (closed) up about 2-2.5 miles and return same way. Undulating trail along snow-covered road with woods on either side; occasional views of the snow-covered lake. There may be tracks off of the road; if we explore one, we stay on groomed or clearly used tracks. NOTE: XC skis are fine if at least two participants prearrange to XC ski together. Distance: variable, 4-5 miles; 300’ elevation gain. Howard Prairie SNOTEL. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 50 miles.
January 28, 2022: Hike Sterling Mine Ditch Trail south from Armstrong Gulch. Meet at Rite Aid Parking a bit before 9 AM.
TH: Proceed west from Phoenix to Sterling Creek Road; turn left (south) for 7.3 miles then turn left onto Deming Gulch Road; at the first road junction turn right 1.2 miles to the Armstrong Gulch TH. EDT: 60 min. Description: Follow the Sterling Mine Ditch trail 3 miles, have lunch, then retrace route. Great views if the weather is clear. Distance: 6 miles; elevation gain: 200 feet. Weather forecast. RT mileage: 70 miles