Monday, September 29, 2008

Silver Star Mountain from Grouse Vista

Loni and I did Silver Star Mountain today. Our previous attempt a year or two ago failed on account of a painful knee plus running out of water. Current attempt was almost derailed on account of Loni has a cold. She wanted to hike anyway, and since it would otherwise have been a boring day we geared up ad headed out.

3.4 miles to the summit, 1000 vertical feet. It's a breeze exercise-wise, but the large loose rocks on long parts of the trail can be hard on the ankles. In much the same fashion, the road to Grouse Vista is hard on car suspension.

We had much trail munching, with huckleberries, salmonberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries. I also found small patches of chanterelles on the way up and the way back. Omelets for breakfast tomorrow, obviously.

The whole time we were on the trail, we could hear the routine cracking of a rifle at regular intervals. It didn't really affect us, but started to get irritating towards the end. The wind blew my brains out, but the various birds looked like they were having fun performing aerobatics in the gusts.

When we hit the top, it was fairly close to where we'd turned around the time before. So close! Oh well. We'd found fresh bear scat, same as our previous hike up this trail. Next trip, we'll be taking a detour to the Indian pits. We'll probably also do the Tarbell trail on the way up if we come via Grouse Vista.

The view is pretty amazing from up top. There is a concrete foundation on one side of the forked summit, and you can see Adams, Hood, Rainier, and St. Helens. It was sort of hazy, so my pictures don't show the peaks as well as I'd like.

There were some older folks arguing about the hikes they'd done while drinking some wine. Also a pack (herd?) of loud boys and girls wearing almost no clothes and drinking beer on top of the rocks. 6 people doesn't really constitute a herd, I guess. We'll say pack. I was jealous for a second because I didn't have beer, but then I saw the domestic swill they were guzzling. C'mon, if you're going to grab cans, get some Caldera or Dale's Pale Ale.

It was a nice slow hike up, and a somewhat quicker descent. On the way back, a couple passing reported a second-hand bear sighting on the trail. No bears were seen by us. Alas. This prompted an alphabetical listing of all of the things we'd seen on the trail, which occupied the next mile or so.
  • A is for Apples, which we forgot to buy.
  • B is for Black Bears, which we didn't see. Or Bolete mushrooms (many!) or Blackberry.
  • C is for Crowded, at the summit. Or Chanterelles, in my fridge. (Caterpiller!)
  • D is for Dogs, brought by everybody, apparently.
  • E is for Enteritis, and the hopes we don't get it from eating all those berries.
  • F is for Fall, bringing mushrooms and red leaves, also maybe waterfalls.
  • G is for Gun, being shot by the asshole down in the valley continuously for 4+ hours.
  • H is for Huckleberries. Yum. Also lots of them in the bear scat on the trail...
  • I is for Idiots. Drinking beer at the summit. Should've packed a pony keg at least, bros!
  • J is for Junko, what a cute little bird.
  • M is for Mushrooms, quite a few out early this year.
  • P is for Plants, none of which I know well enough to eat yet.
  • Q is for Quick, the descent from the summit.
  • R is for Rocks, my feet hurt. Somebody get me a tissue.
  • S is for Steep. At least for the first part. Also salmonberries.
  • T is for Tarbell, the trail we'll take next time. Also thimbleberries..
  • V is for View, although today was sort of hazy.
  • W is for Wind, trying to blow us off the mountain.

K, X, X, Y, and Z don't bring anything to mind, so I leave them be.

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