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Category Archives: Harts Pass

First we stopped to enjoy glacier lilies, anemones and a fast moving stream and then we looked for a place to walk. The trailheads are still covered in snow so the girls and I started at Meadows campground and walked up. Up and up til we got to a high spot named South Slate at 6828′. It is a south facing slope so the snow was mostly melted, leaving patches where the dogs could roll around. There was no trail; I just picked my way around the rocky slopes. I think this area burned in 2003 leaving behind a silver forest of standing dead trees that have sloughed their blackened bark. Why do some dead trees stand for years and years while others (like on our place) fall within a few years of dying?

The views were terrific. The flowers were lovely. Birds were singing and calling. I heard a Sooty Grouse doing his display hoots but could never track him down. Olive-sided Flycatchers sang their ‘quick three beers!’ song over and over! Mountain Bluebirds made soft chirps. Ground squirrels whistled. And I found a geo cache. Not on purpose. The cylinder was not well covered and the bright color caught my eye underneath two oddly stacked rocks.

It was a good outing.

Honestly, this is my favorite hike. I’m pretty sure. We did it with Molly and Mary in August and you can see it here. It was very different in mid-October with another Mary, and Marcy and Gus and Guthrie too.

Near the end of the hike, I lingered in the sunshine, not ready to let this moment go. I was rewarded by a tiny pika perched within ten feet of me. No doubt, this little guy was relishing the moment in the sunshine too. Pikas, the smallest members of the rabbit family, live in the harsh environment of talus (rock) slopes and they do not hibernate. During the warm months, they gather greens and make ‘hay’ piles, letting them dry before storing them in a dry place under the rocks, to consume during the LONG winter months.

To the mountains. The season to visit is short and seems shorter each year. Maybe because of aging and the sense that time flies ever faster each year, or maybe because of the impact from fires on our small community. Whatever it is, I always feel like I don’t get enough time in the mountains. So on Friday I left at noon, knowing it would be a long drive and I’d not have too much time, but it was worth it. The dogs were ecstatic to play in the old snow and I relished the early summer mountain wildflowers – some so similar to what bloomed here months ago and others much different. The weather was cool and there was a little bit of rain. We didn’t care.

The dogs really enjoy running and playing in snow. They take turns being the chaser and the chasee but Luna gets to decide when it’s game over.

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The flowers and the views were outstanding. Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes sang from the tops of trees and under the brush.

If you’re a mountain goat, that is.

In early summer, when the road up to Harts Pass first is drivable, a person can frequently get lucky and see the local mountain goats at a natural salt lick. It is shortly past the scary section of the road when it goes into the trees and just over the steep edge of the downhill side. Sometimes the goats will be on the road. They seem quite familiar and used to the minimal traffic passing by so a car or truck makes a good blind for observation or photography. I’ve only seen them in this season when they are shedding big chunks of fur and looking mangy. There are young ones and the moms tend to keep them away from the cars. Here are a few that I saw today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>I am pretty far behind on my personal work and hope to catch up in the near future.

On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
a Pika
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
a surprising variety of wildflowers still in bloom
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
Glorious Larch Trees
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
On the Grasshopper Pass Trail near Harts Pass
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