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Tag Archives: Harts Pass

The girls and I have not been getting out enough lately. Both of them are still in bed, not even asking to go outside or have breakfast. That is nearly unheard of around here. We had a lovely outing to Slate Peak yesterday but I didn’t think it was overly strenuous. Must have been all that fresh mountain air and the cold streams.

I was told that the road to Harts Pass was open although not all the way to the trailhead near Meadows or to the lookout parking lot. Sure enough, that was the case. Several cars were parked at the last PCT trailhead with lots of hikers and walkers heading north on the well-worn path. Luna and Sky and I simply walked over the snowbanks and up the road to the lookout. It’s only a mile and a half walk and we had it all to ourselves. The flowers were amazing and the mountain views were beyond beautiful. Later we walked near Meadows and saw more wildflowers and clear mountain streams.

It was a nice day.

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.

This last week has featured temperatures over 100 degrees, Fahrenheit! Our house is not designed for extremes of heat and it is difficult to keep it anywhere near a comfortable temperature. Outside, it’s been too hot to do things that need to be done. While we ignore them, the weeds grow gleefully upward, blooming and spreading their seeds. What’s a person or dog to do?

Ignore the weeds; that’s for sure.

Sunday the thermometer topped out at 110! In the morning we took the dogs and a PFD and some floaty toys and went to the lake. We got an early start so we could find a coveted place big enough for us and the dogs without bothering other recreaters. There were several rowing sculls on the water and a canoe and some people swimming for exercise or fun. The dogs were ecstatic and we threw and threw their bumpers. When I thought they might be tiring, I put them away. Sky disappeared into the bushes and came out with a brand new tennis ball! That dog has a nose for tennis balls. If you ever lose one, call on Sky and she will find it for you. But then you have to throw it for her. Again and again. We floated around in the water with PFD, just relaxing and enjoying the cooling lake. Back at home, we all felt somewhat rejuvenated and got a little bit of work done.

Late in the afternoon we packed up a picnic and drove to Harts Pass at about 6100 feet elevation. It was much cooler up there – in the sixties and it felt SO good. There was a threat of thunder storms and we had a little bit of light rain but nothing that chased us away. Ken chatted with a fellow who had just started the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), traveling north to south. He plans to arrive at Mexico in November. We wished him good luck. The mosquitoes were annoying when we ate our picnic so we ate fast. Then we headed out for a short walk on the PCT. We were greeted by pikas, hoary marmots, Swainson’s Thrushes and a few wildflowers. There were small patches of snow – nothing like last year. It’s already very dry. Many of the creeks are quite low or even dry and it’s not even July. Compare that with a day on the same part of the trail last year in July here.  The flowers are not as floriferous either.

 

 

 

 

As the Cougar Flats fire began to explode I was high in the mountains with my friend Mary from Montana. The weather was hot that week – 100 plus degress so we were anxious to get someplace cooler. We packed a little lunch for us and the dogs and headed to Harts Pass. Indeed, it was a glorious day in high country and we were lucky to enjoy it.

Every summer I try to get up to the Harts Pass area as early as possible to catch the start of high mountain wildflowers. I have to wait til the road is open and passable. There are always new washouts over the winter and the Forest Service works hard to get it open for use. Hot weather has settled into the valley so it was a great relief to get up high and enjoy the cooler mountain air and sweet little creeks flowing with melted snow. The dogs were excited to be in snow too! The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses through this region and can be accessed at several trailheads. We picked the one that goes generally south towards Grasshopper Pass from near the Meadows campground. It was a good choice with a cool breeze and enough water to keep the dogs hydrated and snow to cool their feet and bellies. The snow and water won’t last long with this hot weather. It’s too early for the through hikers to be here – they are the ones that start at the Mexican border and walk all the way to Canada. We had the trail almost all to ourselves except for the marmots, pikas and ground squirrels. We saw only three other day hikers. The wildflowers were over the top beautiful!

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