Silver Star summit pano- the mountains are hiding today
Hardy Ridge & Phlox Point

May has been a good month. Portland and the surrounding area are suddenly exploding with it's-almost-summer! sentiment: warmer days, longer daylight, and a recently doubled population as every human and dog in the metro area is outside taking advantage of the glorious weather. In the Cascades the high country is beginning to melt out, and I'm finding myself stir crazy for alpine trails not yet accessible. In my lust for new found trails, I've gotten a little off course sometimes during my explorations, but always in good company and good spirits.

Silver Star was one of those "oops" moments: I managed to turn around both myself and my hiking companions one day by unintentionally hiking the Larch Mountain trail instead. In my defense, there's nothing even remotely approaching signage, and the Yacolt Burn Area is a confusing tangle of old jeep roads. Having never tackled Silver Star from the Grouse Vista TH (both hikes start from the same trailhead), it's kinda easy to see how I might get confused {<= well, no, not really, especially if I had actually *read* the trail description. Oh well. Win some, lose some}.

It was not a memorable hike, but the day was redeemed by the lure of Happy Hour and hamburgers back in Portland and an impromptu layover hike in Lacamas Park. I'm not the biggest fan of city hiking, but as Marut (my one time park ranger turned amazing nurse friend) pointed out, city parks allow us easy access to nature and hiking that might not otherwise be there for some people. Touche.

And Lacamas is actually really charming. I could see it becoming a nice winter stomping ground.

sun-filtered trees in Lacamas Park

Later that week I re-tackled Silver Star from the Grouse Vista TH. I can see why it is reviewed as the least scenic approach to the area; that said, it is also only 35 road miles from my house which is akin to a quick Gorge hike. Huzzah.

And the flowers...they are trying really, really hard to make a comeback after winter hibernation. In another month, the entire area is going to be a color explosion. 

pink trilliums along the trail

avalanche lily

wild iris :)

Didn't feel warm at the summit though. 

What May looks like at 4400 feet

Iron Pug the sequel

In the using-our-arms-instead-of-feet category of transportation, Andy and I are continuing to take the kayaks out for short spins, testing our water wings. We've been sticking close to home mostly because we're still getting ourselves outfitted to a) drive the boats longer distances and b) participate in potentially hypothermic water conditions.

the day started out cool and cloudy, finished warm & sunny. Welcome to the PNW

the winter hat came off later, I swear

Elk Rock Island landing

like I said, one of us always screws up the picture

Lake Oswego in the distance from Elk Rock Island


On the kind of day made for sunscreen, J.B. and I hauled the dogs up Hardy Ridge & Phlox Point, a Gorge "summit" a stone's throw away from my good ol' friend Hamilton

Phlox Point is really...phloxy.

Hamilton Mountain looks tiny from Hardy Ridge


Table Mountain from Hardy Ridge

more phloxy-ness

A promising start to the summer. I *might* even get a slight tan this year. 

All smiles on Hardy Ridge


Ingunn said...

Aaahh, these photos are getting me excited about summer! Look at those dry trails! I keep thinking about Silver Star, but it's quite a drive for us...but then again, it might just be worth it.

Manda said...

You MUST see Silver Star. It's absolutely beautiful. Ed's Trail is probably the least exertion/bang for your flower buck, but the road there is ugly. Bluff Mountain trail (passing by Old Baldy) is also excellent, but longer. Roads in the area, in general, pretty much suck, but I think the one to Ed's Trail is the worst.

Flowers sound like they will be POPPING in about 2 weeks! :)