Indian Point hike

I have a sedentary job and I’ve been disgustingly sedentary on my free time this winter. So today I was looking for a whip-my-ass-into-shape hike where I wouldn’t encounter mobs of people. So I settled on Indian Point.

The gate is open at the Herman Creek Campground so you can drive all way the trailhead. The lot there had more than 30 cars when I pulled in right after 10:00. Yikes!

Within the first quarter mile I saw several trillium blooming alongside the trail. The forest is very much cloaked in winter right now, though, with no vegetation leafing out yet.

 

Cool tree leaning over the trail:

 

So much moss!

 

I decided to take the Gorton Creek Trail up and the Nick Eaton Ridge Trail down. There’s no scenery along the GCT so I just powered up the trail one step at a time, wondering how I could let myself get so out of shape over the winter.

I finally made it to the steep booth path that goes down to the point and made my way down. When I got to Indian Point I was surprised to see that the place was deserted. I headed out on the rocks a short ways, took a few quick pics, and then beat a hasty retreat. A fierce icy cold wind was blowing and it instantly numbed my bare fingers.

 

I ate a quick snack in the trees where it was slightly less windy before heading back up to the main trail. I picked up the cutoff trail and headed over to Nick Eaton Ridge, then headed downhill. I was pleasantly surprised to find a series of small meadows, and then a huge meadow, along the upper stretches of this trail. I could see Bonneville Dam and I even got a peekaboo view of Mt. Hood!

 

Except for the trillium near the trailhead these grass widows and goldstars were the only signs of spring on the whole hike.

 

After a long grueling descent down all those switchbacks (oh my poor knees!) I finally reached the Herman Creek Trail. There’s an old mossy trail sign near the junction, although not as near as you would think.

Back at the trailhead I saw that parking had overflowed and cars were parked in the campground, and I saw some parked down on the road as well. Sheesh! I feel lucky that I only saw 20 people on my hike!

A walk through the Labyrinth

Greg and I headed out to the eastern Gorge for some exercise on Sunday. We parked at Rowland Lake and headed up the Labyrinth. We were hoping for sun and warmth. But it was overcast and 40 degrees when we left the car at 11:00, and overcast and 50 when we got back to the car.

Walking west on the old highway and passing the waterfall:

 

We picked up the trail heading uphill and we immediately ran into a WTA group doing trail work. Here is a picture I took at the end of the hike, showing the new trail on the left and the decommissioned trail on the right going straight up the hill.

They told us we were the first hikers to walk on the new trail they had just re-routed. Thanks for your hard work, WTA!

I had never hiked this trail before and was pleasantly surprised that it more or less followed a creek with a number of little waterfalls. Fun!

 

Unfortunately waterfalls aren’t photogenic in winter because of all the leafless vegetation detracting from the scene.

 

We saw several different kinds of wildflowers, especially desert parsley and gold star. We even saw the very first balsamroot of the season! The grass widows are on their way out.

 

The higher we got, the better the views became.

 

We reached a viewpoint where we had a rest and a snack before continuing.

 

The last push before reaching the junction with the old road.

 

Crossing the rickety bridge on the old road.

 

Some more photos:

We looped down through the Coyote Wall area, where we encountered dozens and dozens of cyclists going up. Then after awhile we encountered dozens more going down. You can’t usually hear them coming and I felt like I needed a rearview mirror on my hat!

We did about 5.75 miles with 1300 feet elevation gain.

Winter at Tamanawas Falls

I haven’t been up to the mountain in two months, what with other commitments and a wretched cold at the beginning of February that knocked me flat. Worst cold I’ve had in a LONG time. Weeks ago my sis and I had marked this Saturday on our calendars as a snowshoe day, and even though it looks like tomorrow will be better for it she works on Sundays and I have a class, so today was the day!

We headed over to Tamanawas Falls and found the lot empty when we pulled in shortly before 10:00. As we packed up to hit the trail I realized that I forgot my camera. I have never done that before. Nuts! Well, I’d have to rely on my Droid RAZR.

We could see that the snow was hard packed so we left our snowshoes in the car, put on our Yak Trax, and set off.

 

Navigating the bridge was tricky. A ridge of frozen snow ran the length of it.

 

A fallen tree knocked out the railings on the west side of the bridge. It’s amazing that it didn’t take out the whole bridge.

 

Down the snowy trail. Oh that came out so dark! I’ll never forget my camera again!

 

Crossing Cold Spring Creek:

 

Observing the way that snow has piled up and then melted on tops of logs and rocks was really interesting:

 

I love this creek!

 

There was a sketchy section where the snow trail skirted this hillside and became very very narrow. I took this picture on our way out, although it doesn’t really convey how tricky it was to get around that tree.

 

And then we reached the falls. Ah, lovely!

 

The camera on the Droid (or any smart phone for that matter) does not provide a wider angle like I’m used to. This is a stitch of two horizontal shots.

 

We didn’t linger long since Deb had to work this afternoon. We had encountered no one on the hike in and we encountered no one on the hike out. It was such a mild day (probably about 40 degrees) that we saw a family having a picnic at the trailhead picnic table!

Goodbye, winter! I’m done with snow for the season and I’m off in search of sunshine and wildflowers until next winter. I’m SO excited for this:

 

Paradise Park

We met up with friends for a one-nighter backpacking trek into Paradise Park this weekend. None of us had ever been there, so we were looking forward to seeing this place we’d heard so much about!

It was a gorgeous morning at Timberline Lodge.

We picked up the Timberline Trail and headed west.

Entering the wilderness.

Looking happy before we begin the LONG descent into Zigzag Canyon.

It was at that spot that we came across Barry, a very nice Forest Service volunteer who was counting hikers. Turns out that about 40-50% of hikers don’t fill out the mandatory wilderness permit, so the FS isn’t able to get an accurate count of how many people are hiking the trails here. Unfortunately this negatively impacts the funding that MHNF gets. So that’s why Barry was out there counting heads.

Crossing the Zigzag River wasn’t a problem. But I would NOT attempt this without poles!

After the long climb back out of the canyon we finally broke out of the trees and started hiking through the most awesome wildflower meadows. This place isn’t called Paradise Park for nothing! (Oh yeah, and we’d been munching on huckleberries along the trail as well. Double happiness!)

More wildflowers, more views!

Just after crossing the south fork of Lost Creek we came across the remains of the old Paradise Park shelter. I thought it was strange that none of the stones were laying around. According to William Sullivan, the shelter was “smashed by a falling tree in 1994 and painstakingly removed.” Why would they do that? Why not let the pile of stones just be?

We set up camp a little ways downhill from the shelter remains and then set off to explore. Here Brad and Greg approach the crossing of the north fork of Lost Creek.

The wildflowers love it down in this creek bottom.

We hiked up to the big broken rock.

We had great views to the south and west. I think that might be Rushingwater Creek way down there.

Dead center in this photo is East Zigzag.

Weird to see autumn colors here and 20 feet down the trail see summer wildflowers!

Back at the big meadows at the junction with the Paradise Park Trail, the guys followed a trail north up to Mississippi Head.

Greg took this photo at 7,200 feet. Mississippi Head is just off-frame to the right.

Dawn and I relaxed by the beautiful creek near our campsite while the boys were off exploring.

After the boys got back we made dinner as the sun started to set. The light on Mt. Hood was beautiful light!

Sunset behind the trees.

Morning was clear and beautiful and chilly. No rainclouds in sight! As we hiked out we stopped to enjoy the wildflower meadow a bit moret. Awesome!

Down below it was quite cloudy, but we were high above the clouds!

After the long descent, river crossing, and ascent out of Zigzag Canyon we stopped for a break on the canyon rim.

The trail was REALLY dusty in places.

As we neared Timberline Lodge we got another view to the south and a giant cloud to the left of Mt. Jefferson that hadn’t been there two hours ago. Only it wasn’t a cloud, it was smoke from the Pole Creek Fire, which we would later learn. Yikes.

Yay, we made it!

There was a lineup of cool old cars at the lodge. I’m not a car person by any stretch of the imagination but even I found all these old cars pretty cool.

We had worked up quite an appetite so we stopped at the Ice Axe Grill in Government Camp for delicious beer and food before heading home. OH YUM!

Great hike, great views, great wildflowers, great company!

Olallie Butte

Hiked up to the top of Olallie Butte yesterday. Saw a little bit of early fall color along the trail. Fall is beautiful but I’m not ready yet!

After climbing through the trees for a long time we finally broke out into the open.

The vegetation is a lot different up here than down below and there are a lot of tree skeletons.

Views were awesome even before we reached the summit. Here’s Mt. Jefferson and Olallie Lake.

Up on the summit we headed over to the site of the fire lookout that once stood here. Here’s what it looked like in 1932.

The lookout was abandoned in 1967 and the cupola collapsed through the roof in 1982. In the past 30 years the various pieces of the old lookout have scattered far and wide across the summit and down the slopes of the mountain.

Here is the site of the lookout.

Looking south across the big wide summit towards Mt. Jefferson, which is enveloped in smoke from the nearby Waterfalls 2 fire.

Although the southern view was smoky the northern view was very clear. We could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams.

Looking northeast from the summit.

Looking due east.

Looking west. The foreground bump just right of center is Potato Butte, which I hiked up in 2007. To the left of it you can just barely make out the string of lakes that you hike past if you approach Potato Butte from the west.

Here is the reverse view from my 2007 hike, looking at Olallie Butte from Potato Butte.

We headed over to the other part of the summit for better views of Mt. Jefferson. It was a pretty smoky view, but we could make out Broken Top and the Three Sisters.

Plenty of smoke from the Waterfalls 2 fire. We had checked Inciweb before our hike and we checked it again last night. Despite how it looks the fire is contained.

Here’s some of the burned area from the 2010 View Lake fire. Man, this area just keeps getting hit hard by fires!

Looking back across to the other part of the summit where we just were.

There was some kind of temporary radio equipment up there. It appeared to be there because of the nearby wildfire.

On the summit we saw these roots, although I’m not sure what they are roots of. They looked like evil creeping tentacles from some underground creature!

Stopping to admire the view again on the way back down.

About 20 minutes before reaching the car we could hear target shooting. Great. It sounded like it was coming from the direction of the TH. Sure enough just down the hill from the car were these guys shooting at….the hillside? I hope they cleaned up after themselves, but based on past experience I doubt it.

We drove down to Olallie Lake to get a cold drink. In addition to a cold root beer I was able to buy an Otter Pop. AWESOME! We sat on the store’s porch and admired the view. It’s so peaceful here. THANK GOD motor boats aren’t allowed. We were imagining what a nightmare of noise nearby Detroit Lake must be at that moment.

Here’s the view of the butte from the lake. I climbed that?? No wonder I’m tired.

On the way out we stopped to check out the cabin at Olallie Meadow. Anyone know the story of this cabin? It doesn’t appear to be in the rental program and is pretty grody inside. Lots of mice/rat poop and bird poop and bird’s nests. Too bad they don’t maintain it because it’s a cute little cabin.

7.2 miles
2,500 feet elevation gain
2 hours up, 2 hours down

Wildcat Mountain and McIntyre Ridge

Hiked up to Wildcat Mountain and McIntyre Ridge yesterday. I parked at the quarry trailhead along the Douglas Trail, which I won’t do again. Everywhere is evidence of the unsavory crowd who hangs out here. The place is a dump. Here is a shot-up tape deck, complete with cassette tape (there were other pieces of electronic equipment nearby too).

This glass bottle on a boulder had clearly been used for target practice. This is right where you leave the quarry to get on the trail, meaning that people were shooting in the direction of the trail.

I hoped I wouldn’t find my car gone, burglarized, or full of holes when I got back and quickly headed into the trees.

I saw the tallest pine drops I’ve ever seen, about four feet tall!

Wilderness boundary sign shot to bits.

Not far off the trail I spotted this metal survey disk that marked the boundary of the wilderness. I’ve seen plenty of USGS survey markers, but I’ve never seen a NF wilderness boundary marker like this.

I reached the junction with the spur trail up to Wildcat Mountain. No signage of any kind, but the trail is easy to spot. It is, however, getting quite overgrown with rhododendrons. Many spiders had made their webs across the trail, so the going was VERY slow as I waved my hiking poles around in front of me to knock them down (I’m sure THAT would have looked funny to any bystander!). Damn I hate spiders. After what seemed an eternity of the rhodie/spider hell I reached the summit.

A fire lookout stood here once but is long gone. The trees are growing up but you can still get a peek at Mt. Hood.

Bill Sullivan’s hiking book recommends pushing through the rhododendrons to the edge of the summit for a better look at Mt. Hood. I attempted this and all I got for my troubles were two bleeding scraped-up legs. Rhododendrons are pretty to look at when they’re in bloom but they are hell to navigate through.

On my way back I took the side trip out McIntyre Ridge to the bench at the awesome viewpoint. (Once again, no signs at this junction. It’s like the MHNF has forgotten about this area of the forest.) I had the viewpoint all to myself so I just sat and enjoyed the scenery for awhile. The wildflowers that bloom here earlier in summer are all bloomed out, but the view made up for it.

And then I headed back down to my car, which was safely intact. It was nice to check Wildcat Mountain off my list but if I ever hike someplace in the “Hwy 224 corridor” of the Mt. Hood National Forest again I won’t go alone.

McNeil Point

My sister and I did the McNeil Point hike in 2006 in terrible conditions. I was out of shape and recovering from a bad summer cold. The day was blisteringly hot (in the 90s) and the black flies were biting. I ended up not making it up to the point and waited on the trail for my sis as she hiked the last 1.5 miles up to the shelter.

Sooooo…. I had unfinished business with this hike and was looking forward to finishing what I had started six years ago. When Greg and I arrived at the trailhead just before 10:30 on Saturday we could not believe how many cars were there! I stopped counting at 30 because the cars parked along the road stretched around the corner out of sign. Crazy!

On our way in we stayed on the main trail and didn’t hike around the south side of Bald Mountain, planning instead to hike that part on the way back when the afternoon light on the mountain would be better for pictures. So we had to wait a few miles for our first view of the mountain. Good to see ya, Hood!

To the south we could see East Zigzag, where we hiked the day before. Behind the foreground ridge, I think it’s the first bump on the left.

We saw LOTS and LOTS of glacier lilies and false hellebore along the trail.

We reached the ponds, which are not yet melted. We had to cross snow at this point. This was not the first snow patch we had to cross and it would not be the last.

In fact, between the Timberline Trail and McNeil Point there were still LARGE sections of trail that were snow-covered. We were really surprised to see this since recent trip reports didn’t mention all this snow.

C

rossing the permanent snowfield that never melts.

Finally after a long ass-kicking hike we reached McNeil Point! More snow, and the shelter out there beyond. You can also see some tents just left of center.

We hung out on a point above the shelter for a short time before the crazy cold wind put a stop to that. Greg decided to climb up a little further to that “knob” you can see in the photo below.

I headed down to the shelter where it was less windy and enjoyed the views for the hour and a half it took Greg to climb up and get back down to me. I could see the western edge of the burned area from last year’s Dollar Lake Fire.

Lost Lake in the distance. I bet that place was a zoo this weekend.

The trail below, and Bald Mountain.

Nice views of Mt. Adams.

And Mt. Rainier:

Despite the still-melting snow there were plenty of wildflowers, including those awesome “muppet” flowers known as Western Pasque Flowers.

I think I shot the shelter from every angle possible during my wait.

Wildflowers and more views of Mt. Adams on the hike back down.

We stopped at the ponds on the way back down for a nice reflection shot.

And then after a long tiring trudge we finally reached Bald Mountain and the spectacular Mt. Hood views there. The evening light made it perfect.

Normally I would have loved to hang out there and enjoy the view a bit, but we were getting well into the dinner hour and I was very hungry. So we pushed on. Many of the cars at the trailhead were gone, and their dusty departures had left a fine film of road dust all over my car.

10.5 miles
2,200 feet elevation gain

A little side note: This was sort of an anniversary hike for me and Greg. We were a week short of the five year anniversary of our first hike together. Back in 2007, after a months-long e-mail correspondence, Greg asked if I’d like to go for a hike since we both enjoyed photography, hiking, and wildflowers. We hiked the Vista Ridge trail and visited Cairn Basin. Same area of the mountain almost five years later and we’re still hiking together!

Burnt Lake & East Zigzag

On Friday Greg and I arrived at the Burnt Lake trailhead at 1:00 and the morning clouds had thankfully started burning off. There were a dozen cars in the tiny parking area and we were the eighth Subaru there, which made me laugh!

After walking in the trees for several miles, it was nice to come out in the open a bit and get a glimpse of Mt. Hood behind us.

We reached the lake about 3:00 and made a beeline for day use area C, which has a great view of Mt. Hood. No reflections today, but the view is still fantastic.

We hung out for awhile eating snacks and enjoying the view. We heard crackling, smelled smoke, and heard a couple of guys laughing as campfire smoke billowed up from day use area D about 50 feet away. There are numerous signs telling you that this is not allowed, but I guess the rules don’t apply to these two. We wanted to go over and say something, but knew we’d only get a “f*** off” or a “mind your own business” for our troubles.

We pushed on to East Zigzag, which is another 1.5mi beyond Burnt Lake. The way up is mostly forested, until the last bit when you break out into the open and can see your goal ahead of you.

And off the right, the jaw-dropping view of lovely Mt. Hood, with Burnt Lake nestled in the forest below. This is now one of my new favorite views of the mountain. No burned trees, no clearcuts, no towns, no highways.

There were quite a few wildflowers on the slopes of the mountain as we climbed up.

The view at the top is a little obscured by trees, but you can still see Mt. Hood pretty well.

Distant clouds obscured the far-reaching views, but we could see the top of one snowy peak. I can’t tell if this is Mt. Adams or Mt. Rainier.

We could also see Bald Mountain, where we would be hiking the next day.

And McNeil Point.

With binoculars or the zoom lens we could just make out  the wheel houses for the top of the Magic Mile ski lift and the bottom of the Palmer ski lift.

The day was getting late and we had a long hike back to the car, so we reluctantly headed down.

We headed up to Government Camp and our favorite Mt. Hood eatery, the Ice Axe Grill, where we ate french fries, pizza, and good beer and watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics (with no sound). Yum!

Duffy Lake

On Saturday I headed up to Duffy Lake (map) in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. I got to the TH at 9:20 and there were a dozen cars there. They had morning dew on the windows and all looked to belong to backpackers.

The entire 3.3 miles to Duffy Lake is through forest. No views. But since it was a warm day the shade felt nice. I also saw quite a few huckleberry bushes along the trail. That’ll be yummy in August!

Many trees along the route had the old blazes on them.

The trail passes by the foot of two different rockslides, one of which is surrounded by vine maple, which must look awesome in fall.

Passed the junction with the Turpentine Trail, which heads north. It is named after nearby Turpentine Peak, I assume, and I’d love to know the story behind THAT name!

The trail roughly follows the North Santiam River, although there are only a few spots where you can see it. It flows out of nearby Santiam Lake, and of course it eventually ends up flowing into Detroit Lake many miles downstream. Up here it’s an absolutely gorgeous charming little stream. I fell in love with it!

Eventually the trail crosses it. It was no problem to cross now, but I imagine you can’t rock hop easily earlier in summer.

Backpackers who had spent the night at Duffy Lake passed me in a steady stream on their way out as I hiked in. One of them was a woman about my age who was covered head to toe. She had on a sweatshirt, long pants, and a stocking cap. It was pretty warm and I couldn’t imagine how she could stand having all that clothing on. Maybe it was mosquito protection, but still. She also had a bear bell. 🙄

I reached the lake at 11:15. The signage could use some improvement. This is at a somewhat confusing trail junction and if you’ve never been here before it’s not immediately clear which direction the lake is in. Turns out that the shortest way to get there is to go straight here, but turning left or right will also take you to other parts of the lake. Incidentally, it seems that many backpackers completely ignore the two rules on these signs. I saw campfires close to the lake and I saw MANY campsites that were nowhere near the designated campsite markers. I also saw trash piled in fire rings, of course. 😡

And here’s the lake, with Duffy Butte towering over it The water was so clear and gorgeous!

I knew that Three Fingered Jack was not far, so I worked my way around to the west end of the lake to see if I could see it. Voila!

The backpackers had all cleared out by this point so it was really peaceful here. I enjoyed the lake as long as I could before the mosquitoes forced me to keep moving. Since the day was young and the hike up to this point had been so tame, I decided to continue one more mile up the trail to Mowich Lake. Along the way I passed a pretty little meadow with a pond and hundreds of shooting stars.

I reached Mowich Lake and followed a use trail down to the shoreline at the southern tip of the lake. That’s Red Butte on the other side of the lake. As you can see, this area was burnt to a crisp in the 2003 B&B fire.

I hiked a little further and quickly left behind the intact forest and entered the burn area.

The trail climbs up and up away from the shoreline and I could see on the map that it wasn’t going to ever rejoin the lake, so I didn’t go very far. You can see the lake through the burnt trees.

Through the trees I could also see the backside of Duffy Butte, which I had seen earlier from Duffy Lake.

On my way back out the breeze had picked up enough that I was able to hang out by Duffy Lake for awhile and not get chomped on. Delightful!

The hike out was uneventful. I hadn’t seen any other day hikers, but finally started seeing some as I hiked out. Back to the car at 3:00, followed by pizza in Detroit. YUM.

This was not a hard hike, and in fact was a little easier than I was expecting. At least I got a lot of miles in. Duffy Lake is quite lovely and is probably a very nice place for backpacking. But mid-July would NOT be the best time for that because of the bugs, and a weekend outing would mean sharing the lake with lots of other campers.

9 miles
1,100 feet elevation gain.

Three Pyramids

Headed to the trailhead for Three Pyramids on Saturday, right at the spot where I turned on Road 560 from Road 2067, the road crossed a gorgeous little creek with a partial view west to where I was headed. The sign at the bridge said it was Parks Creek, but the topo map says it is Park Creek. I’m inclined to believe the topo. I’m not positive, but I think that’s Middle Pyramid you can see here. If not, it’s North Pyramid.

There were six other cars at the TH when I arrived at 11:15. I set off the trail and was surprised to see a sign stating that the distance to the lookout was 2.1 miles. The lookout has been gone for more than 40 years and yet this sign hasn’t crumbled or rotted away.

The trail started climbing immediately. A little creek near the trail provided nice background “music” for the climb. There’s even a small waterfall at one point.

The forest here is really nice. I don’t think it was ever logged because there are a good number of very large trees.

Here is a cross cut of one of the trees that fell across the trail some years back. My hiking pole gives some perspective. I didn’t count the rings, but there had to be several hundred!

The trail crossed the gurgling creek on a broken but still usable bridge.

And then the source of the little creek comes into view: a lovely lush green meadow in a bowl below South Pyramid and Middle Pyramid (neither of which you can see in this picture). This must also be the source for all the mosquitoes that I was fighting off.

And then it was more, more, more climbing. Up and up and up in the hot afternoon sun. Every time I stopped to catch my breath or take a picture the mosquitoes descended, so I tried to keep moving. Finally I reached the junction where the main trail continues on to North Pyramid and beyond, and a side trail goes up to the summit of Middle Pyramid, which was my destination.

As I approached the summit of Middle Pyramid I passed five different hikers on their way down, yet there were still a dozen people crowded onto the tiny summit. They created quite a cacophony. It seemed like everyone was talking and no one was listening. I waited them out, though, and eventually they all left and I had the place to myself and it was peaceful and wonderful. The views were AWESOME.

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood. The two near mountains that flank the snowy peaks are Coffin Mountain and Bachelor Mountain, where Greg and I hiked last year. With binoculars I could just make out the lookout on top of Coffin.

Mt. Jefferson:

A side note: compare the photo above to the one below, which was taken from Bachelor Mountain on August 12 last year. The amount of snow is about the same, despite the three-week difference. Man, I’m SO glad we’re not having another late snowmelt year again!!!!

Three Fingered Jack:

Hoodoo Ski Area:

Mt. Washington:

The Three Sisters (and some peak south of there that I’m not sure about; anyone know?)

South Pyramid (and although you can’t see it in this picture, I could see the very tippy top of Diamond Peak in the distance):

The deep canyon of the Middle Santiam River, surrounded by the Middle Santiam Wilderness:

I could also see the meadow that I had seen earlier from below:

As you can see, the summit isn’t very big, yet they crammed a fire lookout up here in 1934.

Besides the metal equipment on the summit, the only other evidence of the long-gone lookout is a pile of wood just below the summit.

With the glorious weather, a gentle breeze to keep the bugs away, and views all around me, I stayed up on the summit for an hour and a half, just soaking it all in. At one point a butterfly kept me company.

Middle Pyramid has another rocky point, which you can see in the foreground of the photo below. The trail dumps you in a saddle between that point and the summit where I am, and it’s a little confusing about which direction you could go. Just before I packed up to head down, I saw a couple over on that rocky area trying to clamber up and not succeeding. Their voices carried easily over to where I was sitting. They finally looked south and saw me sitting on the summit and I heard the guy say to the woman “There’s someone over there.” She didn’t understand and he said, “See that guy over there?” Hey, who are you calling a guy? I almost burst out laughing. I suppose that with my hair under a bandana and a hat, my face in shadow and half covered by sunglasses, it would be hard to tell my gender. In any case, they reversed direction and found their way to the true summit just as I was leaving. They were quite relieved to finally get there, having made several wrong turns on their hike.

On the way back down I still had views for awhile before I got too low to see the mountains anymore.

Away from the breeze, I was once again eaten alive by mosquitoes as I made my way back to the car, which I reached at 3:30. I itch like crazy as I type this report. Damn bugs.

Saw quite a few wildflowers on this hike.

At 4 miles round trip and 1,800 feet elevation gain, this is a steep hike. But the views on a clear day are pretty damn awesome. And if you wait a few weeks you can do this one without getting chomped on.