Last weekend Marcy and I hiked to Windy Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a pleasant hike – never steep – with outstanding views all along the way. In addition to the fantastic views of the North Cascades a hiker gets to see evidence from the mining adventures dating back to the 1890’s. Given the rough and narrow road that we have to drive nowadays to get to the trailhead, it is amazing to imagine miners traveling to these distant mountains on foot or horseback and hauling immense loads of equipment too. One spot in the road is called Deadhorse Point and scares the beejebers out of some folks in cars.
Guthrie, Marcy’s dog blew out his knee last year and is just a year out from surgery and injuring his other knee. It’s good to see him running and grinning with the other dogs. Even with three dogs we got to see a little bit of wildlife including lots of ground squirrels and a few grouse.
As we finished our lunch and got ready to head back, we heard a familiar voice and saw a friend from the Okanogan. He had scaled nearby Tamarack Peak and joined us for the hike back to the parking area.
The weather was cool and sunny – perfect for a late summer hike on the PCT.
Slate Peak can be seen from the beginning of the trail
I have forgotten the name of this mountain
The yurt is used in the winter for helicopter skiers
He’s a handsome fella!
We have such a long wildflower season
The way back
Ground squirrel with nesting material
Dusky or Sooty Grouse?
What a place! We left the house at 8 am and drove for less than an hour on a paved road to a trail that took us to this gem of a lake! And we had it to ourselves. Amazing!
It was the last fun adventure in what has been a lovely staycataion – sharing good times with old friends and visiting some of the highlights of our neck of the woods. The time was interspersed with some work (one wedding and some gallery stuff), a couple of big rain storms and the resulting washed out road that serves our little neighborhood and dealing with a contractor for the repairs. But mostly it was lots of fun with Mary and then Kim and our beloved dogs. Let’s do it again soon!
White heather catches a patch of sunlight
Sun shining through native rhododendron
Sky says ‘quit looking at that creek, the lake is right up here!’
Ziggy wonders about Sky and her obsession with fetching
Luna enjoys the water, calmly
Lots of little trout jumping all the way out of the water to catch the bugs
This is the life!
Throw it again
Nature at its finest
Even Luna gets into the spirit of fetching
Clark’s Nutcrackers called back and forth
These last couple of weeks I’ve been very lucky to share so much time in the mountains celebrating summer with dear friends and our dogs. On Wednesday Kim and I took our dogs up above Harts Pass and did an afternoon amble around a basin below Slate Peak. It’s a wonderful wildflower walk with lush green meadows and meandering streams. We climbed out of the basin to visit the lookout and take in the 360 degree views of the North Cascades. My dogs got to be in snow again in August. Last year I could not find any for them late in the summer. It is my goal to find snow for my dogs every month of the year. Luna loves snow. It’s a great relief to see it lingering into late summer once again. What a gorgeous day!
Pink monkey flower
Western anemone seedhead and lupine
Getting that close up flower photo
Cooling her feet
Canada is out there, not too far away
Layers of mountains of the North Cascades
Ziggy makes my dogs look small
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.
The flowers and the views were outstanding. Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes sang from the tops of trees and under the brush.
A thrush, I think it is a Swainson’s Thrush.
Buttercup. These bloomed at home in April!
Arnica peaking out of the talus slope
A very interesting buttercup
I got a raindrop on my lens.
The girls and I hiked to Black Lake on Friday. This hike is more about the trail than the destination. It follows Lake Creek which is really roaring with white water now. I was pleased that the girls stayed away from the rushing stream. The area burned about ten or fifteen years ago and is a recovering forest with standing silver snags, numerous species of shrubs and wildflowers and in some places there are thick stands of small pine trees and aspens. Every year lots of those silver snags fall, often across the trail, and it hasn’t been logged out yet. According to the information at the trailhead, there are 48 downed trees along the route. This certainly slows a person down. Most I could get across; some I had to go under and in at least one case I had to go around a big log.
Another feature is a series of beaver ponds near the lake. These efficient engineers have dammed up a tributary creek and created some really good habitat but also have flooded the trail in places. It proved to be a bit of a challenge for me to get across a series of downed logs over the pond to return to the trail.
The flowers and bird song slowed me down too. I was able to identify four different warblers by their songs alone. I stopped many times when the trail was away from the stream, so I could listen to the birds and photograph the flowers. Needless to say, I did not make good time on this hike but like I said, it’s more about the trail than the destination.
Luna looks happy to be in the wilderness
First log across the trail
Later she would go under logs like this
Two kinds of lupine
Cute tiny flower
Mountain ash flower with pollinator.
Mountain ash flower with pollinator
Mountain ash flower with two pollinators
Oh gosh, I’ve forgotten this one
Beautiful little flower on a thorny shrub
A log that was cut out of the trail last year
Talus slopes like this had pikas in them
Aspens growing out of the galus
Big boulder in the trail
Avalanche debris strewn across the trail
And here’s the list of birds I heard and saw: