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Walking up a Dirt Road: Hartman Cutoff

Do you have a favorite dirt road that you like to walk on? I stayed close to home for this one and I feel weird calling this a hike because it was more of a brisk walk up a dirt road lined with pretty wildflowers and singing birds.

Distance: 11.82 Miles (but you can go shorter or longer)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Range: 1,171′ to 1,818′
Date: March 27, 2020
Maps: Ben Hur and Daulton Topographic Maps
Dog Hike: Maybe

I had planned on hiking the Lakeview Trail along Eastman Lake but that was closed so I came up with a Plan B. It had been a while since I walked up Road 612. It is a dirt road that curves its way up the North Branch of Willow Creek outside of Raymond. This is the pretty time of the year for this area with green grass and wildflowers. I parked at the intersection of Road 415 and Road 612 (Hartman Cutoff), making sure I wasn’t block access to gates or traffic, then started my walk up the road.

A few cows were grazing along the fenceline. They ran as I was walking by but this little guy must have wanted his picture taken because he modeled for me.

The road continued on.

I was surprised to see brilliant redbud blooming in a small drainage.

Lupine, goldenrod and popcorn flowers were the stars of the show.

I shot a short video of  the lupine flowers gently moving in the breeze.

As I passed by old fenceposts, I couldn’t help but stop and admire the woodpecker’s handiwork. They are very artistic.

The road curved on while puffy white clouds started to gather.

I was almost back to the car when this hawk would land on a tree in front of me, then as I got closer, move down the road a little farther to another tree.  He was leading the way.

You might be asking yourself if going outdoors on a walk like this is appropriate right now. Social distancing was definitely practiced because I was alone but is it the right thing to do? I stumbled across an interesting High Country News article that discusses some philosophy surrounding hiking and other outdoor activities that you may find interesting, or at least some food for thought.

I only saw 2 vehicles on my walk and no other people but you need to pay attention because a vehicle can surprise you around one of those curves. This area is beautiful when the wildflowers are out and can get a bit warm, so you may want to carry plenty of water with you.

If I would have walked another 2.5 miles or so before turning around, I would have made it to Road 600/Grub Gulch Road. Another option for this hike could be to stage a car at either end and do a through hike. Or you could walk to Road 600/Grub Gulch Road and turn around, which would have made it about a 14 mile hike. Of course, you also don’t need to go as far as I did and make it a shorter hike.

Dog Hike? Maybe

This could be a good dog hike if your dog is a good fit. The road is lightly traveled by vehicles so you would need to keep an eye open for a vehicle coming around one of the curves. There are cattle and you don’t want your dog to go off and chase them. I didn’t see any dogs on my walk but we did hear some barking. Just a heads up that you could encounter some in your travels. I would imagine in the summer that you could run into a rattlesnake out here also. I didn’t see good running water on our hike, so you would probably need to pack dog water.

Doarama:

What is a Doarama?  It is a video playback of the GPS track overlaid on a 3 dimensional interactive map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt it or spin it and look at it from different viewing angles. With the rabbit and turtle buttons, you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.

Road 612 Hike Doarama

Map and Profile:

Road 612 Hike Topographic Map

Road 612 Hike Profile

Prior Blogs in this Area:

Hiking the Hartman Cutoff December 19, 206

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