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The girls and I had a floriferous hike last week. The wildflowers were magnificent and the sky was the bluest blue. We saw and heard pikas, hoary marmots and ground squirrels. Did you know that pikas make hay piles in the summer? They let the ‘hay’ dry out and then haul it under the rocks so they can eat it all winter. Pikas are the smallest rabbit species and they do not hibernate.

I know, this is a lot of images for one post but really, you need to see the beauty of the mountains right now.

My husband wrote a song called Climb to the Top of the World and I thought of that when we reached this mountaintop on Tuesday.

It was a chilly day and the wind was blowing pretty hard at home and I almost didn’t go. Then I remembered that Luna does much better on hikes when the weather is not the best in my mind. She just doesn’t tolerate the heat well anymore. So off we went with a rain jacket for me and carrying extra water for the dogs. It was 48 at the 6560′ trailhead and I was glad to have a warmer jacket too. The dogs thought it was perfect.

The trail goes steeply through a burned forest and then into high meadows before going straight up through the rocky mountainside. Just before the last big ascent, there is a rock that holds any water from recent precipitation and I don’t know if Luna remembers it or if she can smell it but long before I got there, she was slurping up the remnants of the dirty puddle. I gave her clean water too and used some of that to replenish the puddle.

The views at the 8245′ summit just can’t be beat. Mountains everywhere. The flowers are just beginning. In a week or two, they will be glorious.

The weather here remains unsettled. The wind frequently howls, clouds come and go, the temperature doesn’t go much above 70 and there are occasional thunderstorms. It’s June and feels very cold. But why should we let that stop us? I woke Ken up yesterday and told him we needed to go for a hike. There are lots of projects around here to do and he continues to work from home and now he has to travel again so there’s no time like now.

It was a LONG bumpety bump drive to get to the trailhead at 6800 feet elevation and given that it had rained hard at home the previous night, we should not have been surprised to see new snow. Not a lot but I imagine that the folks camped up there were not real happy about it. Along the trail little and big rivulets and small streams were running joyfully down the mountainside. Flowers bloomed in snow and standing water. Anemones were everywhere. Water dripped from evergreens as the snow melted.

Ken fished for brook trout while the girls and I explored a bit around the lake and Sky took great joy in swimming for sticks despite the cold water. She shivered when she sat still.

It was a lovely short hike despite the long bumpety bump drive.

We got out for a couple of days and it was marvelous! Friends took their RV up the Chewuch on Thursday and I managed to find them in a large dispersed site later on Friday. All the campgrounds remain closed. It was a long ways up the river before they were able to find a site and I was beginning to have my doubts. I knew that I was near the end of the pavement and they would not go any farther than that. And then, I found their sign! Whoo hoo! The girls and I made it! Ken was recording and joined us at dinner time.

We enjoyed socially distanced visiting, dogs playing, campfires and campfire cooking, hikes, wildflowers, the sound of the Chewuch and Andrews Creek at high water levels, birds and just being out. It rained a little but that gave me time to read in the afternoon while Ken napped and our friends made jewelry. We were offline and that’s a good thing. Hopefully we will get to go camping again soon.

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.

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