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Last week the girls and I hiked to Rock Mountain. The trail starts at Tiffany Springs campground which was full of campers. Unusual to say the least. It’s a long bumpety bump road to Tiffany Springs and few people make the trek up there. The Washington Native Plant Society was having a weekend of plant hunting and quite a group of amateur and professional botanists were out on the trails in search of rare plants. They are pretty good folks to be around – quite willing to answer questions about plants and other natural history topics. One of them did try to tell me I was going to Middle Tiffany Mountain and not Rock Mountain but after looking at my map and asking a friend who is familiar with the area, I’m quite sure I went to Rock Mountain.

The trails goes first to Tiffany Lake, an idyllic mountain lake, home to non-native, but tasty, brook trout. No one was fishing when we went by so the girls enjoyed chasing sticks in the cold water til the mosquitoes and black flies forced me back on the trail. The bugs followed us all the way to Honeymoon Pass and then finally let up when we got into a pleasant breeze. From there a person just follows the view across the rocky slopes to the mountain top. Lots of wildflowers and a few birds were interesting distractions and good excuses to go slow.

Last week I went birding with a group of folks from Pilchuck Audubon Society. June is a good time for a birding trip to the Methow Valley but the weather is not in agreement with the calendar. It was chilly and raining. We didn’t get far along the Beaver Pond Trail before getting chilled but we did see a nice assortment of birds. My two highlights of the walk were a baby Northern Flicker clinging to a dead aspen¬†tree as still as could be hoping we could not see him (we could) and mountain lady’s-slipper orchids (Cypripedium montanum).

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