Monday, December 16, 2013

National Poinsettia Day was December 12 and celebrates the industry and the man Joel Robert Poinsett who is credited with bringing the plant home from Mexico. Named after him, the Poinsettia is an interesting plant and a fixture of the Christmas holiday season.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snowshoeing Edison Sno-Park

December 10, 2013  Our small group navigated the Long Loop trail from the Edison Sno-Park through the woods and over the lava flows to the Edison Shelter before returning via a ski trail back to the sno-park. Thin coverage and lots of blowdown were the prime reasons to avoid the snowshoe trail on the return trip from the shelter.

Though the area is gorgeous with mammoth ponderosa and interesting lavascapes, the conditions are marginal, for snowshoeing, at this point in time. Recommendation: go higher up the Cascade Lakes Highway and look for deeper snow at the Swampy Sno-Park or Dutchman Flat Sno-Park. And keep the legs moving for the Pray for Snow boogie!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hiked into Horse Lake a couple of weeks ago just before the first snowfall of the season. Beautiful day, although the yellow jackets were still out in force. Elk, deer and small mammal tracks along the trail, as well as lots of mushrooms. A quiet place now that summer is over, but still another group out along the shoreline.

Dave's Garden is a resource for gardeners and backyard bird watchers. There are numerous articles and how-to tips for a wide variety of garden related activities. Check out my recent posting on Finding Fall Foliage; I try not to miss out on this spectacular time of year.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dave's Garden

If you get a chance, check out my newest article on Dave's Garden. This on-line site provides a wealth of information about gardening and plants. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hiking the Old Cascades

The Western or Old Cascades have been worn down by the forces of erosion. Once the mighty peaks along the Cascade spine, these peaks are now remnants of their former selves. Just because time and glaciers and weathering and roots have reduced these peaks, most of them still offer some great hiking opportunities and vistas from their summits.

The peaks bear names like Browder Ridge, Iron Mountain, The Pyramids, Crescent Mountain, Coffin Mountain, Scar Mountain, Trapper Butte. They are numerous, high points seen in the distant haze or solid beneath your feet. Some have connecting trails, others are solo jaunts into old growth haunts. They are popular and some are unknown except to the elk and deer and gray jays that filter through their forests.

I've done many hikes across their flanks and up their summits this summer and hope to do more this fall. They beckon and I can only respond. I'm sure they have secrets never whispered, but I hope to have the opportunity to be there when they speak.
The hike up to the summit of Iron Mt

Looking north from Crescent Mountain along the spine of the Old Cascades with The Pyramids, Coffin Mountain and Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Adams in the distance.

Crescent Lake from the summit of Crescent Mt

From Middle Pyramid looking south towards Cone Peak and Iron Mt

Friday, July 12, 2013

Iron Mountain

Hiked the Iron Mountain loop on Friday. Great weather, cool in the shady forests and good vistas from the observation point. There was a good diversity of wildflowers, although the recent spell of dry weather had taken its toll. Some were already setting seed and others were just not in extravagant numbers. Still nice, but a shade past the peak. Still, a moderate display here is comparable to a fantastic display in some other areas.

We hiked up the east side to Cone Peak, then across to Iron Mountain and up to the observation deck. On the way down, we crossed Highway 20 and hiked the Santiam Wagon Road trail back to Tombstone Pass. About a 6.8 mile loop, although my GPS conked out at one point and underestimated the mileage...

At the summit


The Metolius

Hiked the Metolius River loop a couple of days ago. Beautiful weather, crystal water, flowers popping, birds a-singing. Accessed the trail via a fisherman's spur about 1 mile upstream of the Wizard Falls Hatchery. Hiked along the east side to Lower Bridge Campground, then crossed over to the west side trail and back to the parking spot; made about an 8.4 mile loop.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

North Pyramid Trail

Hiking the North Pyramid Trail from the Parish Lake Road is a great way to gain the high peaks and views of the surrounding mountains. The forest of Douglas and noble fir, western hemlock and Alaskan yellow cedar provides a lot of shade on the uphill. Though the views are few along the trail, Scar Mountain stands out in particular. Once the saddle between North and Middle Pyramid is reached, the views begin to open up of Jefferson, Washington, Three-Fingered Jack. A short trail leads up to the summit of Middle Pyramid and then the views are incredible - from Mt. Adams southward. Unfortunately, haze and scattered clouds blocked the view to the far south, but Iron Mountain, Cone Peak and the Three Sisters were clearly visible.

Although the wildflowers were subtle, there were great patches of bunchberry, windflower, penstemon and buckwheat along the trail.

Scar Mountain from the North Pyramid trail


Summit of Middle Pyramid looking south towards South Pyramid


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Coffin Mountain and Bachelor Mountain

Braved the rains yesterday and headed up Coffin and Bachelor mountains in the Old Cascades. Low clouds obscured the High Cascades and occasional rain showers swept over the peaks. The wildflower show was pretty good - definitely a primo Beargrass time.

Coffin Mtn trail - 1.3 miles long, 1000' elevation gain
Bachelor Mtn trail - 1.8 miles long, 1100' elevation gain

Coffin Mountain trail sign - 1.3 miles to summit

Beargrass blooming along the trail

And more Beargrass

Bachelor Mountain Trail - 1.8 miles to summit

In the mists

Bachelor Mountain summit

Bleeding Hearts
Fields of Rhododendrons in bloom

Other interesting creatures along the trail - American pika along Bachelor Mtn, White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos along Coffin Mtn trail. Also, Sooty Grouse drumming in the forest.