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Tag Archives: larch trees

This hike at this time of the year is nearly irresistible. How can you NOT do this? Just the drive to the trailhead is enough to make you stop and pay attention.

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.

Our next venture out and about was to Cutthroat Lake. It’s a short hike to a beautiful place and I especially like it in the fall. It was a real test to see if Sky was actually healed. I really wanted to take it slowly with her for fear that she would start limping again. Not only did we give up our walks and hikes, we also gave up agility and retrieving. As you can imagine, this was a real hardship on the dog. Fortunately, she has not had any setbacks!

The larch trees were magnificent.

These two have been together for nine years, engaged for four years; they’ve lived together and far apart, separated by jobs or school. They’ve lived in the northwest, the southeast, overseas. Their wedding was threatened by a not so distant wildfire. Mazama was on a level 1 alert which means, be ready, in case this fire blows up and moves closer to homes. Their home in Florida was threatened by Hurricane Irma. And yet, it all turned out. The fire cooperated and photos were made high in the mountains and the intimate morning wedding in Mazama went just as planned. Irma changed course. Sometimes it all works out.

They had considered having the entire event high in the mountains near Harts Pass however some family members were reluctant to drive the steep and windy road to the top. And with the potential fire danger, it was even scarier. Instead, they had it on the edge of a meadow at Mazama. Just the three of us drove to Harts Pass to catch the morning light and the beginning of fall colors in the alpine larch trees. Just yesterday, Harts Pass was closed to the public due to the continuing wildfire situation and Mazama is on Level 2 notice.

Since this was a morning wedding, we started early. The hair and makeup artist was there at 4:30 AM! I started working at 6. Have I mentioned that all weddings are unique? It’s true. That is something I love about them.


My website, Reflected Light Images continues to be a problem for me to fully update. Hopefully, this will be the last of my weddings to be posted here.

It’s been a few weeks since I had a nice hike in the mountains. I had grand plans for a hike every week this summer and have fallen far short of that goal. Yesterday’s hike was a good one. With the passing of Labor Day and the start of school, it sems that summer is over. Nights are cooler and days are way shorter. The light is marvelous and the air is crisp making for perfect hiking conditions. Luna and I drove most of the way to Slate Peak and then took the Buckskin trail down into the basin below the lookout. We left the trail and rambled through the basin and then up to the ridge where we found the West Fork of the Pasayten trail and returned to the road and walked back to the car. It was not a long hike but it was long on views and surprisingly, quite a few flowers. There were also lots of migrating birds – in particular I noticed Cooper’s Hawks, American Pipits and White – crowned Sparrows. Also many finches in flight that I could not identify.


Almost to Mazama on highway 20 I saw this free range or feral piano, abandoned by the side of the road. There was a package of castors to replace the broken ones. I’ve seen bbq’s, out dated tv’s, couches, even old satellite dishes; but this is the first time of seen a piano on the side of a road.


Luna is wearing red because it’s hunting season and more than once I’ve benn told that she looks like a black bear.


This photo needs some arrows to show our route. Our trail drops down there in the shade on the bottom right of the image and then you can barely see it crossing the talus (rock) slope to the left before it drops down into the meadow. We crossed through the larch trees and on the other side of them left the trail to ramble up through the basin and to the ridge, where we joined the second trail and it took us to the road just below and to the left of the lookout on the high point.

Red leaves show that there’s already been a frost. It was 42 in the sunshine when we started our hike. I was glad I had a jacket and wool gloves.


Luna is already out on the trail.


In the meadow there were lots of flowers. Here is a paintbrush (Castilleja sp) with blue gentian in the background


I love the dark blue gentian, a late summer flower in the high country.


Looking back at the trail as we enter the trees.

There was a family of Cooper’s Hawks calling loudly and flying around in this area.


Moss shows that the area is still wet despite the fact that we’ve had no rain in a month or more.


I could not resist this tiny scene


How many months of lupine are there? Seems like I’ve been seeing it since April!


Pink monkeyflower and its shadows.


More paintbrush. I saw at least three different colors of it.


Someone’s burrow. It is pretty good sized. Maybe a marmot? I think they live in rocks. A wolverine?


Another view looking back. We’ve left the trail and are heading up now.


And looking down valley. Within a month all those larch (tamarack) trees will turn golden and their needles will begin to drop.


A much-needed rest in the shade.


Now we are higher than when we started.


My cell phone has a compass app. I wonder how it works even without a cell signal? Any ideas?


Looking north towards Canada. The stunted spruce and other species of trees at high elevations are sometimes referred to as krumholtz – crooked, bent or twisted


Luna was happy to find two lingering snow patches


And up to the road. It was almost a mile walk back to the car.


Views to the west from the road. That’s Mount Baker in the middle.


And a last view of the lookout


We stopped in a silver forest to look for birds. Mostly Yellow-rumped Wablers. Also a Townsend’s Solitaire.


An aster next to the creek.





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