Last month, on Friday, Feb. 17, Laura Blatt’s regular hiking group was planning to take on Sugarloaf’s Planet Walk, the true-to-scale open-air model of our Solar System. But rains, winds and winds forced Blatt to reschedule for a new date, Friday March 17.
"Let's hope for sunnier weather," said Blatt at that time. "See you soon on the trails."
The Planet Walk is usually a 4.5-mile round-trip hike, from the sign representing the sun (not to scale) near the Robert Ferguson Observatory to the distant orbit of Pluto (now reclassified as a “dwarf planet”), far up the Brushy Peaks Trail. There are nine informative trail signs along the path, with information about the planet and the Planet Walk project.
The route follows Creekside, Hillside, and Brushy Peak trails, stopping for snacks just beyond the Neptune marker. Total distance is 5 to 6 miles, with an elevation gain of 700 feet. This moderate hike should take about three-and-a-half hours, including a finishing group lunch at the picnic area across from the parking lot.
However, due to the same heavy January and February rainfall that delayed the hike by a month, Blatt told the Index-Tribune that this month's hike would take an alternate route on Lower Bald and Vista trails, then Brushy Peak trail, and returning via Meadow trail.
The new route is 7.2 miles with an elevation gain of 600 feet. There is one creek crossing. Blatt estimates four hours with a lunch stop at the Heritage Tree picnic area.
Hikers will leave from the main parking area (past the kiosk and to the left) at 10 a.m. Bring water, a snack, and lunch. The hike is free, though parking at Sugarloaf is $8 per vehicle. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.