The 3,500-foot cumulative elevation gain and 11 miles loop hike over Horseshoe Ridge is always tough. The pitches ascending and descending from the Ridge are very steep.
It’s a tale of two worlds. Almost four miles of the hike follows the picturesque Souixon (rhymes with Tucson) Creek on a well-maintained, well-graded trail. Waterfalls, ferns and campsites are abundant underneath the old-growth Mountain Hemlock forest.
The other world is the seven miles up, across and down the 3,400-foot ridge. Trail maintenance occurs seldom here. Blowdowns over the trail require climbing around, over and under obstructions.
To add to the challenge, snow began falling above 2,000 feet and dense clouds covered the landscape. At times visibility was limited to 100 feet.
What a fun way to spend a mid-November Saturday. But, sad to say, I didn’t see one other hiker in the seven-hour outing. Who would have guessed?