The Drive In
After eating a good breakfast at IHOP I and SP member Dean
started driving for Hayford Peak. We stopped at Corn Creek Field Station to sign into the register, which helps the Wildlife Refuge get funding. We then started heading North on Alamo Road.
On the drive along Alamo road we enjoyed the views of the snow topped Spring Mountains to the west. Just after the turnoff for Joe May Canyon, the 1st turnoff along Alamo Road, we hut a little bump. Be sure to drive slow over this section. We continued on past Cow Camp Road, the next turnoff about 10 miles up the way. Just as we passed Cow Camp Road we noticed the sun was getting ready to rise. We stopped and watched the sun rise over Sheep Peak.
Continuing on, the road was in great shape. We then came to our turnoff, Hidden Forest Road. We turned right and headed for the end of the road. This is where we parked. We then got ready and started hiking into Deadman Canyon.
The Hike from Hidden Forest Road to the Hidden Forest Cabin
The elevation at the trailhead was about 5850 feet. We parked at 36° 37.739 N and 115° 17.285 W. We hiked down past the gate sign for Deadman Canyon. From here there is about 50 feet elevation loss to the bigger gate a little ways down. The hike along the old road to the cabin was filled with many rocks and gravel. About 1.4 miles into the hike we ran into a little snow. This was at about 6340 feet. Again after 3.1 miles at 7200 feet, we ran into more snow along the road/trail. It was never more than ankle deep along here though. We saw some foot trails and dog trails. One looked like it could have been the foot prints of a mountain lion.
Snow was scattered all the way to the cabin. At 3.7 miles, 7442 feet, we saw a big huge dead tree that had fallen along the road. We ducked under it and continued to the cabin. We finally reached the Hidden Forest cabin after 4.7 miles. (36° 37.883 N, 115° 12.471 W). We refueled ourselves with some food and checked out the cabin. The cabin had a bunk to sleep, a fireplace, cooking utensils, a flashlight, and more.
The Hike from the Cabin to Hayford Peak
We hiked up the 1st ridge on the North side of the cabin. It started out steep. After about 0.4 miles from the cabin, we got our first view of Hayford’s summit. (36° 38.237 N, 115° 12.505 W). We then reached a rocky outcrop at 36° 38.384 N, 115° 12.470 W. We went on the right side, which ended up being brushy, before coming back on the ridge. We should have gone to the left of this.
Continuing on, the views to the South of the Sheep Range, Sheep Peak, and the Spring Mountains were gorgeous. It was partly cloudy the whole time; I hardly needed to put on my sunglasses. We continued following the ridge north. Many cairns mark the route. We got to the top of a ridge just before going down a little bit to the saddle below Hayford. Our coordinates at the top of this ridge was 36° 39.101N, 115° 12.575W. The elevation here was about 9200 feet. There is also a cairn here. Then about 50 feet down the ridge, 2 more cairns mark the path down the ridge. Hiking down to the saddle we ran into calve deep snow. At the saddle we were down to 9,087 feet. (36° 39.216 N, 115° 12.406W)
Now it was time to start the final ascent up to Hayford Peak. We could see a rocky outcrop halfway up the ridge. We hiked up towards this staying on the right of the outcrop. We hit some areas here where we got into snow knee deep, but it was only for a short distance. We then continued our way up to the summit.
On the summit
Finally after 7 miles we were on the summit. Great 360° views were enjoyed of Gass Peak, Spring Mountains, Sheep Peak, and much more. Moapa Peak to the east was stunning!
We then took numerous photos and refueled. The benchmark was no where to be seen as there was a mound of 4-5 feet of snow on the true summit. The summit register was at the edge of this snow drift luckily. We were the first ones to summit Hayford Peak this year. It was last summated on November 25, 2006. It was starting to get chilly. We then put on our gloves as we started to descend.
The Return Hike
It was nice coming down, as the hard part was all over. We retraced our steps and followed the cairns back to Deadman Canyon by the Hidden Forest Cabin. We then hiked the rest of the way back to Hidden Forest Road. It was great to return and take off the shoes after all the hiking on the rocks and gravel along the way from the cabin back to the vehicle. It was a full day.