Skip navigation

Tag Archives: hike

August has been warm and sunny and we have been out on some terrific hikes. Sometimes the girls do not get to go. Too much sun and dry conditions are hard on Luna. I don’t know how to tell her that one day, I will be taking Sky and not her. How do you handle leaving the older dog behind? It’s kind of heartbreaking. Some days and trails are ok for her and I do carry water for her to drink but she seldom drinks much of it. She’d rather have a cool mountain stream or a muddy puddle! She really likes to cool her belly in a creek or even better, on a patch of snow. Snow patches are getting few and far between this late in the summer.

The wildflowers have been glorious this year. We have seen lots of pikas, marmots and ground squirrels too. We have enjoyed blue skies and sunshine and endless mountain views. I have had no work this summer so I am very happy to spend my time in the mountains. If we have to be socially distanced, this is a pretty good place to do it.

The girls and I had a floriferous hike last week. The wildflowers were magnificent and the sky was the bluest blue. We saw and heard pikas, hoary marmots and ground squirrels. Did you know that pikas make hay piles in the summer? They let the ‘hay’ dry out and then haul it under the rocks so they can eat it all winter. Pikas are the smallest rabbit species and they do not hibernate.

I know, this is a lot of images for one post but really, you need to see the beauty of the mountains right now.

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.

The girls and I got a late start yesterday but still managed a very pleasant (mostly) hike in the mountains. The trailhead was only forty five minutes from home and there was no snow at the start. It was cloudy and spit a tiny bit of rain but not enough to get out my coat. Luna enjoyed the cool temperatures but not the rickety bridge across one of the big creek crossings. We hit snow about two thirds of the way to the lake and near the lake were walking on snow all the time. I had to be careful not to get to close to the edge and get my feet wet. Sky was ecstatic and of course, wanted me to throw sticks but I didn’t. It’s pretty shallow with logs under the surface where she could hurt her legs. As if to make up for the lack of stick throwing, she rolled in something unmentionable after we left the lake. I scrubbed her in the big creek using a hemlock branch but didn’t get it all. She had a bath at home.

The girls and I drove a few miles out of Winthrop in hopes of finding the Lewisia tweedyi wildflowers. They have a narrow habitat and bloom early and I usually miss seeing them in this generally busy time of year. But since I am not as busy as normal, I made sure to get out and see them. According to my wildflower guide, Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest, ‘they grow in rocky slopes or cliffs at low and mid elevations only in the Wenatchee mountains in Washington and adjacent British Columbia. This rare plant is named for its discoverer, Frank Tweedy, a government railway surveyor working on the Wenatchee Range near Mount Stuart in 1882.’ These are not the Wenatchee mountains so perhaps, in the next revision of the book, that can be expanded to include the North Cascades.

After getting my fill of the flowers we skirted the Forest Service trailhead (all USFS facilities are closed but trails are open, if that makes any sense at all) and walked about 7 miles, round trip, through an old burned area with a nice creek and plenty of opportunities for the dogs to get a drink and cool off. There were more wildflowers along the trail including my first of the year fairy slipper orchids. It was a beautiful day.

%d bloggers like this: