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Tag Archives: North Cascades

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.

Well, what do you do when your dog has her sixth birthday? Get some friends and go for a hike! If you’d ask Sky, she probably would have voted for a lake but it was Saturday and the lakes were busy.

It was a new trail for us and we were all impressed with the flowers, the views, the pollinators and the huckleberries. It’s one we will do again.

Red Molly joined us for a lovely hike in the mountains earlier this week. The weather was darned near perfect – sunny and warm but not too warm. It is a dry hike so I carried water for the dogs. There is one spring just off the trail about 1/3 of the way up and Luna knows where to find it. It’s generally more of a mud hole but this time it held a little bit of running water.

Views were outstanding and the flowers are just starting at that elevation (6500 up to 8200 feet). Ladybugs were abundant. I don’t know why they converge at high elevations. I have observed them at this mountain top several times over the years as well as at other places in the Cascades. There are many kinds of ladybugs (technically a beetle, not a bug) and many of them are convergent. I have no idea what they are eating up there and when they will leave for more friendly habitats. I do know that later in the summer, they won’t be there, based on my observations which are not science-based at all. Is anyone studying them?

Here are the birds I saw on this hike:¬†Dusky Grouse, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Mountain Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Siskin, Chipping Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Savannah Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Western Tanager.

I like this hike. Here is the trail in the fall.

My friend Cindy came to visit from Grant County and she really likes to hike the Maple Pass trail so on Monday, that’s what we did. Us and over 100 other hikers. The place has become overrun with visitors. The restrooms were strewn with trash from the weekend. It was pretty appalling. I heard that someone else estimated 500 hikers on a weekend day. Egads. While this place is over-the-top beautiful, I may take it off of my list of places to hike. Cindy agreed and said she is ready to explore new trails next time.

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.

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