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Tag Archives: Tiffany Mountain

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year here. So far. It reached 100 on the valley floor. Sheesh. Did I mention that we are completely without air conditioning for at least another couple of weeks? It’s enough to make a girl and her dogs crazy.

We drove up Boulder Creek to the Freezeout Pass trailhead and headed up the trail to 8242 foot Tiffany Mountain. It was 73 when we started. I was soon sweating on the steep trail through the burned forest. Many trees have blown over since last summer (sort of like the situation at my house) so there was quite a bit of clambering over and around the deadfall. Once we got out of the trees, it was the same steep, rocky ascent to the summit. Horned Larks were all around us. This is a place where they nest each summer. The snow has only recently melted up there but already it’s very dry and dusty most of the way along the trail. Wildflowers are just getting started. They could use a little bit of rain but none is in the long range forecast. At the top, the view was the best I’ve ever seen up there. Not a cloud in the sky and little haze either. I could see Mount Baker and Glacier Peak to the west and Moses Mountain to the east. And there wasn’t much wind either. On the way down, the wind picked up and I didn’t linger in the burned forest. The trees groaned and creaked and swayed in the wind.

We stopped at Boulder Creek to cool our feet on the way home. The dogs probably enjoyed that part more than the hike. I experimented with using my knee as tripod to get some pretty water images.

Back at home, it was 87, in the house.

Mary had to cut her Washington vacation short rather abruptly when a wildfire threatened her community and even her home. So far her place is safe and hopefully will stay that way. She was able to get some stuff out when she returned and then stayed at a place out of danger. With fires threatening people and landscapes all over the west, we all seem to live in a state of fear during the summer.

But for one day, before the fire, we enjoyed a beautiful hike in the high country, going to the top of 8000 foot Tiffany Mountain. It was sunny and cool and NOT buggy! Once again we had incredible views – this time into the Pasayten Wilderness, the Sawtooth Mountains and even into the Okanogan Highlands. A perfect mountain day.

The weather forecast indicated about 20% chance of rain in the mountains yesterday. Around here, that means it’s not likely to rain. It was sunny and reasonably warm at home when the girls and I left for the 6500′ Freezeout Trailhead and the hike to Tiffany Mountain. The temperature was 46 degrees Fahrenheit and it was sunny when we started walking. Good weather for an uphill hike to the 8242′ summit.

In the burned forest (this is part of the Tripod burn from ten years ago) I heard and saw numerous birds, including lots of young ones with adults searching for food to feed the nestlings.

When we walked away from the trees, the sky was solidly overcast but still no sign of rain. Nearing the top, I started to feel occasional pelts of small hail. At the top, it was obvious that the weather was going to take a turn for the worse. We shared my peanut butter sandwich and I put on my extra layers (two coats, gloves and a wool hat) and tucked my camera away. Normally we would linger on the mountain top and look around for more birds and flowers and maybe ladybugs but not this time. It was hailing pretty solidly by then. And as we walked downhill it was soon raining. We didn’t notice the birds or flowers much on the way down. Still, it never got too cold and it wasn’t windy and I had the right extra gear with me. Overall it was a nice day.

We were at Tiffany for the peak of the fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) bloom! This tall lavender-pink perennial often comes in after a fire. The Tripod fire burned there nearly ten years ago and the fireweed is still very abundant. I was surprised to learn that its pollen turns blue as the flowers mature. The dogs were spotted with the fine powdery blue pollen. Lots of the wildflowers had mostly finished blooming but we did find some colorful blooms to entertain us along the way.

It seems to be a tradition for me to hike to Tiffany Mountain in July. Earlier this year would have been better for the wildflowers and possible patches of snow but this was the soonest I could get up there. Yesterday MA and I and our pack of dogs made the short steep hike. It was a cool day, thankfully. There is nearly no water along the trail so we had to carry our own water and water for four dogs. We did notice early on the hike that three of them went off trail and came back with muddy feet. On the way down we found the well-used mud hole where they’d managed to wet their whistles and cool their toes.

There were quite a few wildflowers and I will put most of those images in another post. The fireweed was outstanding! Heading up the trail MA noticed that Sky had bits of blue powder, like eye shadow on her face. We determined that it must be some sort of pollen and eventually I found it on the fireweed. It looked like the older the blossoms, the more chance that the pollen was blue. It started out orange on the fresher flowers.

Sky found a stick that she was particularly fond of and Quincy soon decided he had to do everything in his power to get it away from her. He’d grab onto to one end and Sky would just stand there and hold her ground while he jerked one way and then another. After a bit, Sky would take off running and he’d lose his grip and take off as fast as he could to catch her. She’d slow down and then he’d grab on again. They had great fun. At one point, Quincy tumbled repeatedly head over heels!

All the dogs were pooped when we returned to the car and three of them had to share the back seat. It was a pile of pooches!

Here is a post from exactly three years ago about the same hike!

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