Saturday, October 2, 2021 Continue reading
Saturday, Jun 26, 2021
Today we braved the extreme heat and headed up to Silver Star Mountain for our nearly-annual pilgrimage to check out the wildflowers. Continue reading
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Today we headed up into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest for several short hikes north of Trout Lake: Natural Bridges, Sleeping Beauty, and Steamboat Mountain. Continue reading
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Today Greg and I headed to the Stagman Ridge Trailhead in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in order to visit Lookingglass Lake. Continue reading
Saturday August 29 – Sunday, August 30, 2020
This weekend we did the shortest backpack of the season so far and headed to Lake Wapiki in the Indian Heaven Wilderness. Continue reading
Friday, August 14 – Sunday, August 16, 2020
Greg and I had already been considering backpacking to Snowgrass Flat in the Goat Rocks Wilderness but when the weekend weather forecast called for high heat, we definitely wanted to get into the high country where it would be cooler. Continue reading
Saturday, June 15, 2019
While I much prefer the trails on the north side of Silver Star Mountain, the trailhead access via Road 4109 is now impassible for my Outback. So today we hiked up from the Grouse Vista Trailhead with Greg’s friend who was visiting from out of town.
As we started hiking up the rough rocky trail at 8am we were totally socked-in:
When we reached the open stretches, it was pea soup with no views:
Two-thirds of this trail is in the forest:
The flowers were looking nice:
Someone had come along and snipped off branches crowding the trail, then left them in the middle of the trail instead of tossing them to the side:
The same person had also strung dozens of pieces of yellow flagging along the trail:
There is some kind of race up here every June and we suspected that this person was readying the route for that race. I have NO IDEA why the very obvious trail needed what amounted to dozens of pieces of litter. We saw the guy on the summit later, with a roll of yellow flagging and clippers.
At 9:30 we ran into some people hiking down and they reported that the summit was above the clouds. Great news! And soon enough we started seeing evidence that we were emerging from the clouds into the sunshine:
Indeed, when we reached the summit we discovered that we were above the inversion and it looked INCREDIBLE. Mt Hood:
Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier:
Here is an iPhone panorama with Mt. St. Helens just barely visible left of center, and Mt. Adams right of center:
And another panorama showing Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood:
After enjoying the warm and beautiful conditions at the summit we finally tore ourselves. Before heading back we dropped down the north side for half a mile to check out the wildflowers:
Then we turned around and headed back down the south side to our trailhead. As we hiked down the clouds started clearing up and we now had views, albeit of clearcuts:
I’m still disappointed that the Forest Service has decided to limit access to the north due to their lack of road maintenance. That’s such a better hike. The steep rocky route on the south side that we did today is pretty treacherous in spots. I fell once and almost fell a few other times. But I’m glad we got up there to see the views and the flowers. This is definitely one of my favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest.
June 9, 2019
Today we returned to Grassy Knoll, a great early summer hike with views and wildflowers. A new sign has been installed at the trailhead:
There is a nice patch of wildflowers right at the trailhead:
There is a very nice viewpoint one mile in with Mt. Adams being the star of the show here:
Red Mountain Lookout:
Penstemon like to grow here:
We continued north, passing yet more wildflowers:
Then we had our first view of Grassy Knoll:
This is always such a lovely spot, where the trail emerges from the trees into a beautiful patch of wildflowers with a view of Mt. Hood:
More flowers as the trail continues:
We sat on the summit for awhile and enjoyed the view of Mt. Hood. We had the place all to ourselves:
There is a partial view of Mt. Adams up here:
View to the west:
Three Corner Rock:
Cool clouds overhead:
We continued up the trail a bit to another nice patch of flowers before turning around:
We got back to the trailhead at 3pm, having only seen three people the entire day!
Cedar and doug fir growing together:
Notches had been cut out of fallen trees to create passage:
Natural log bridge over a creek:
We didn’t have time to explore the whole loop, but we’ll be back. Very cool spot!
Sunday, July 1, 2018
Greg and I hiked up Silver Star last weekend via the Grouse Vista Trailhead. Mom and Dad wanted to see the grand wildflower display on Silver Star Mountain. They don’t hike at all anymore and they wouldn’t have been able to handle the rough trail from Grouse Vista, so we knew we had to take them to the north side, even though the road is utter crap.
On Sunday Karl, Deb, Dad, Mom, and I piled into Karl’s truck and drove up there. Road 4109 is even worse than last year. I got my Outback up that road last year, but I probably wouldn’t have made it up this year. This is what the road looks like now, as photographed on our way down. This is the worst of the ditches:
Nice driving, Karl! We made it! There was only one other truck there when we arrived at 8:30.
Unfortunately we were very much in the clouds with no views:
We headed up the trail:
There were wildflowers all over the place:
Visibility was very limited:
The vegetation was sopping wet (we ran into some backpackers who said it rained pretty much all night), which had some beautiful effects:
We turned off of the old road and headed up Ed’s Trail. We were lucky to be here during a good beargrass year:
The wildflower show continued:
I love this part, where the trail crosses a huge meadow:
We cut over to the old road from Ed’s Trail in order to avoid some scrambling sections coming on Ed’s Trail:
Shortly after that we stopped for a break on some rocks above Ed’s Trail, which you see at the bottom of this photo:
Then we continued hiking the old road towards the summit:
Almost to the summit! (Notice the two switchback-cutters popping out onto the trail up there):
We made it! The “views” were pretty cloudy:
Here’s Karl looking out over Star Creek. Normally you’d be able to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams out there, but not today:
We followed the old road all the way back to the car, hiking past thousands more wildflowers:
On the way down the clouds lifted a bit, but not enough for us to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams
As we neared the end, though, a bit of Mt. St. Helens came out:
Mt. Hood hiding in the clouds:
Mom wasn’t a fan of these really rocky sections, but she and Dad did great!
We got back to the trailhead at 2:30 and then we bumped our way down the road. There were seven cars parked along the road, having bailed on their way up when it got too rough. Some of the cars were partially blocking the road.
We stopped in Battleground at Double Mountain Brewing for some post-hike food and beer:
I could have done without the clouds, but the flowers were beautiful. So glad we were able to get Mom and Dad up there to see them. Great day!