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Here it is – mid-summer and I’ve barely been out on any hikes. That needs to change. Yesterday I had a window of opportunity and drove up to Harts Pass. It’s a rugged and narrow road and if you are afraid of heights, you’d best not look out the window. The drop down to the Methow River is precipitous, to say the least. One particularly bad stretch is called Dead Horse Point in honor of a string of pack horses that went over the edge back in the days before there was a road. The trail and the eventual road were put in to service the mining camps and the old and now abandoned, town of Barron, headquarters of gold mining in the Harts Pass area. It’s hard to imagine that at one time there were 1000’s of miners, a store, and other components of a rough community so high in the mountains. Now it’s primarily a recreation area and access to the Pasayten Wilderness. The road ends just below the lookout at Slate Peak, about 7400′ elevation. This is the highest maintained road in Washington. Snow has not all melted so I parked about a mile and a half below the lookout and with Luna, walked to the top. The views were stunning and wildflowers abundant. The temperature was 77. It was very refreshing. In Winthrop it was 97.

 

My what a big tongue you have!

 

I have forgotten more wildflower names than I know these days.

 

A yellow violet, maybe Viola glabella

 

 One of the phloxes

 

Slate Peak in the distance. You can see a similar view in this post from last November 7 at the beginning of winter

 

 

 

Luna looking over the edge. She’s not afraid of heights. You can see Mount Baker in NW Washington on the left side of the image.

 

 

Heading down and looking back at the lookout. You can see part of the Pacific Crest Trail down below.

 

Nice thing to do after a hike.

 

Caltha sp. ?

 

 Anemone occidentalis

 

Buttercups, Ranunculus sp.

 

A burned silver forest

 

These yellow glacier lillies, Erythronium grandiflorum, bloom immediately following snow melt.

 

Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.

 

Another Phlox sp.

 

Monkeyflower, Mimulus sp.

I am learning a new camera – one of the mirrorless micro 4/3 models and finding it not the most intuitive thing I’ve ever held. Hopefully images will improve with practice. Wish me luck. I may return to carrying the large heavy DSLR although I’d really like to cut down on the weight I take hiking with me.

 

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