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Tag Archives: Patterson Mountain

Balsamroot sunflowers are in full bloom this week. Their sunny color paints the hillsides of the Methow valley with vivid pigments that invite you to get up and go outdoors. If you’re not out in the hills this week, you are making a mistake. MA and I took the dogs to Patterson Mountain, a popular and easily accessible hiking trail near here.  There were several cars at the trailhead so we knew others were out ahead of us and we did see them but mostly they were leaving as we were arriving so on top of the mountain we had it mostly to ourselves, except for a talkative raven.

The contrast of green hills crowned with yellow and the snow-covered mountains and blue skies surely make this the prettiest time of the year. There were other flowers – rock cress, shooting stars, blue bells, serviceberry, even a late twin flower. The bitterroot were not yet blooming. That surprised me. But the star of the day was the Balsamroot.

On Wednesday, the dogs and I hiked to the top of Patterson Mountain. It’s not a long hike or particularly challenging but if you are a three month old puppy, it might be a big event in your short life! According to the hike report it is 1 1/2 miles from the lake to the summit, gaining 1100 feet elevation. Enough to warm you up. Sky was a trooper, staying on the trail and keeping up with no problem. We encountered one other group of hikers on our way up – the Wednesday hiking ladies. We stopped and had a nice visit with them and I was warned that if my puppy went missing that I might want to check in Chris’s backpack! As usual, Sky attracted a lot of attention. We started and ended the hike with a visit to Patterson Lake and Sky almost, inadvertently, went swimming!


Luna and I missed our hike last week and so we were happy to get out today with friends and dogs. Starting early at the Patterson Mountain trailhead we joined two other women and four other dogs for a very pleasant hike before it got too hot. The weather has been unseasonably warm (not that we are complaining mind you) these last few days – up into the high eighties, so it was good to start at 7:30 am and enjoy the morning air and beautiful light. Only one other party started up before us. After the trouble I’ve had with Luna recently I put her on the leash and kept her there all the way up and down, only letting her off when we came to a little creek where she could wet her whistle and at the top of the mountain. She was very well behaved and even when I let her off she returned when called. I was much relieved. Of course the other dogs were fine. Well Cassidy had some barking issues but he and Kathryn worked through them and he was fine. We were rewarded with fine mountain and valley views at the top, wonderful wildflowers and at the end, the dogs got to cool off in the lake. It doesn’t get much better than that.


Patterson Lake and Mount Gardner



Luna stops to smell the flowers



This sign always seems out of place to me



It’s really hard to get three people and five dogs in a photo all looking at the camera at the same time.



Really, really hard



Little Bear doesn’t like crowds so he is hanging out behind the bitterbrush



Luna likes to be in the middle of everything



Cassidy always has something to say. He is very opinionated and frustrated when we don’t understand him.



There’s Little Bear. He’s a sweet fella



Dexter and his person Amy and their friend Peter made the hike this morning too but they had to race off to get to work on time.



Pretty death camas



How pretty is that?



We love our big ponderosa pines




And our balsamroot



My first bitterroot flowers this year!



With wild onions growing in the background



Moose really relaxed in the cold water



And Luna was ready to play




Despite a windy morning, Suzanne and I had a nice hike to the top of Patterson Mountain. The calendar says it is summer and yet the wildflowers still look like spring. I was surprised to see so many alliums in bloom. Some areas were carpeted with them. And still there are lots of bitterroot. In addition to wildflowers we saw a pair of Golden Eagles, a Lazuli Bunting and other birds. We are SO lucky to live here!



Allium and a yellow buckwheat


A tiny daisy, maybe an aster?


Allium and its shadow


A hummingbird visits scarlet gillia to collect nectar with Mount Gardner in the background

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