In October 2017, we did our first hike on part of the recently completed Phase 1 of the Jack-Ash (Jacksonville – Ashland) Trail. This then new (yeah!) trail connects both ends of the well known Sterling Mine Ditch Trail, allowing for various hiking loops and other footy options. Because of the way we arranged that hike, we left the Jack-Ash at its junction with the Grub Gulch Access Trail and thus didn’t go all the way out to Griffin Lane. I was thinking of correcting this oversight with a hike & bike between there and the Deming Gulch Trailhead when I realized that I didn’t know exactly where the Jack-Ash connected with Griffin Lane. Owing to the amount of private property in the area, it was critical to know this location exactly, as unintentionally hiding the bike in someone’s backyard would be problematic (at best). So nothing for it then but to hike north from Deming Gulch, up Grub Gulch, and down to the end of the Jack-Ash (The LovedOne opted to avoid yet another instance of my hiking OCD by going to the library).
The walk along the ditch trail in the cool of the morning was excellent, as was the climb up Grub Gulch with its expanding views to the west. From Grub Gulch, the Jack-Ash was self-evident to Griffin Road but its actual point of contact there was very obscure – a newish gate and No Parking sign were all that gave it away. Maybe one day there will be trailhead signage here, but finding room for more than 1-2 cars worth of parking might be difficult. From there, I was considering an out-and-back but ended-up looping back along Sterling Creek Road, which was a decent walk owing to the lack of traffic on this quite country road. I was frequently startled by groups of deer running across or next to the road! It was the short, but steep, climb up the dusty Deming-Armstrong Road in the heat of the day that provided the hot, sweaty, character-building component of this hike.