We've done Corkscrew Gulch a few times over the last 13 years, but we kept skipping Brown Mountain. We never made the time to do it when we were off to other trails. Brown Mountain was one of our goals for the day, with many new trails to follow before the sun went down. We were already aired down, so we started right up the trail.
It headed right into the trees and stayed there for most of the trip up the mountain. The first switchback was weird as it doubled back on itself with lots of evidence of people turning around there. We imagined that people on their way to Corkscrew Gulch realized they were on the wrong trail and turned around there. We kept going, looking forward to some new scenery.
There are lots and lots of switchbacks -- 14 or so, depending on what you consider a switchback. There is a long, fairly straight stretch and then we came to the many buildings around the Silver Mountain Mine. We passed by, intending to stop on the way down.
We went through all of the switchbacks and it seemed like we'd never get out of the trees. Then we came out above them and the scenery really opened up. There was a lot of room for parking, and it was gorgeous up there. Monica and Walt parked there, and got out to wander around and check out the evidence of the Lost Day Mine operations (there isn't much) while Niko kept going as far as he could. He didn't get far before the trail got sketchy, so he came back down.
We stayed up there for awhile, staring at our favorite Red Mountain. It really is a pretty sight, and the trail gives you a good vantage point. We could even see bits of Black Bear Pass where we were the day before, and the big mountains around it.
We started back down, noting the first yellow aspen leaves we'd seen of the year. It's always a bummer to watch summer pass us by. Then we stopped at the Silver Mountain Mine and it was such a great stop. There are a few buildings still standing, and we explored everything we dared go into. The mining equipment was also fascinating, and we spent some time trying to figure out what everything was. The big mining building was just a pile of lumber, though. It was cool to guess how things were back when it was all operational.
All good things must come to an end, though, so we headed back down and turned to do Corkscrew Gulch. The weather was perfect and it promised to be a great day.