Sunday, July 31, 2011

Canyon Creek Meadows

July 29, 2011. The trail to Canyon Creek Meadows in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area is now pretty much snow and blow down free. Although the upper meadows are still covered in snow, the lower one is exploding with shooting stars, lupine and Indian paintbrush.

Small pond along the trail

Depending upon how far one goes into the upper meadows, this is about a 4.5 mile hike with around 400 feet of elevation gain. The return trip via Canyon Creek makes a nice loop, even though a portion of the hike is through the B&B Burn of 2003.

Looking towards the viewpoint saddle and Three Fingered Jack

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Iron Mountain/Cone Peak Trail

Hiked the Iron Mountain and Cone Peak trail last week. Stunning day, gorgeous flowers, exceptional views, great company. Grouse and nuthatches calling, fresh elk tracks, unknown animal dens.

The trek up to the Iron Mountain viewpoint is almost snow-free, just one last patch before the summit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Patjens Lakes Trail

Trail sign in from the trailhead
With most of the high country trails still snow covered, the Patjens Lake trail is a nice option for an almost snow-free hike. Even at 4,600' there are patches of snow that one has to cross.

Beargrass in bloom along the trail

Starting at the Big Lake Campground, the trail soon forks and makes a loop hike out into the Mt. Washington Wilderness. I prefer hiking counter-clockwise, gaining elevation early in the hike, then hitting the lakes before returning to Big Lake. Current conditions include a few downed trees, snow, some flooded areas, and a few mosquitoes.

Highlights include mountain views, old-growth forests and views of Hayrick Butte, a steep-sided butte that resulted from a subglacial volcanic eruption. This type of eruption involves a lava flow originating below a glacier or ice field, melting through to the surface and pooling on the surface to form a flat-topped structure. Called a tuya, Hayrick Butte is about a half-mile wide and 700 feet high.

Hoodoo and Hayrick Buttes

Trail distance: around 6.3 miles and 400 feet of elevation gain.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lewis' woodpecker article

I had an article in the May/June 2011 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest about a local project to build nest boxes for Lewis' woodpeckers. Here are a few extra photos of the project.