I kept track of time on the way up today. Eventually I hope to use
this sort of data to give time estimates for the hiking guide I hope to
add to my webpage someday. I hiked at a fairly steady medium pace (for
me) between breaks.
11:35 - Start
11:55 - First view point (trail marker #60)
12:02 - Start hiking after break
12:18 - Second view point (trail marker #106)
12:28 - Start hiking after break
12:42 - End of switchbacks (trail marker #150)
12:55 - Edge of forest (trail marker #183, the last)
1:08 - Peak 2550
When I hiked this trail almost three weeks ago, there were many stream violets in bloom on the lower part of the trail. I saw none of these today, though bunchberries, twistedstalk, false lily-of-the-valley, single delight (smelling faintly like lemon), and other flowers the names of which I do not know were all quite in full bloom. The only snow left on the trail was between where the trail leaves the trees and peak. There was also a very noticable difference in the amount of snow over on the main peak compared to last trip up.
Shortly before the trail leaves the forest near the peak, I noticed a picture in a ziploc bag hanging from a tree. I went up and took a look at it and found that it was a picture which was presumably taken last winter at the same place (it was a tree with a numbered trail marker on it and the marker was visible in the picture). At the time the picture was taken it looked like the snow must have been at least four feet deep based upon where the marker was on the tree and how high above the snow it was. There was another picture like this near the last trail marker (#183) though it had fallen to the ground. I hung it back up again on my way down.
As I was walking up on the snow covered slope, I had the impression that I was following bear tracks. The way the snow melts I figured it could just be melted out human tracks, but there seemed to be noticable claw marks in the snow as well. If they were bear tracks, they were probably at least a day or two old, but it was an interesting question to me all the same.
The clouds were still hanging around the peak as I arrived. Even though it was shrouded in clouds, the air around peak 2550 was comfortably warm so I decided to wait and see if the clouds would clear off. There were many bugs flying around though mercifully they were not the biting kind, for the most part. Even so, they were kind of annoying when they landed on my face so I took the opportunity to try out my mosquito head net. It worked just fine.
I spent about an hour laying on the flat rock that is peak 2550. The clouds lifted some every now and then, but never completely and then they would settle back in. I was hoping to get a picture of myself with the main peak in the background, but with all the clouds obscuring the main peak, the picture wouldn't look like much. After about an hour a couple of guys came up. They didn't stay long when they figured there was not going to be much to see (plus the bugs were annoying them). The clouds lifted a little bit while they were there and after they left I decided to just take what I could get so I took a picture with the main peak half covered in clouds. By this time it was getting late enough that I thought I should start heading back down.
I decided to take a bit of a detour on the way down to see if I could find the trees which I can see from certain places in town that always made me think of a couple of hikers on the ridgeline when I was growing up. I had not gone down very far at all and I was out of the clouds. I took a picture of town through the clearing clouds. The snow on the ridge I was on had melted a great deal and there some of the alpine flowers were in bloom including alpine-azalea and mountain heather. While I was hiking down along the top of the ridge, the clouds lifted completely from main peak. I took a picture of me with the main peak in the background.
I did find a group of three large trees (compared to everything else around them anyway) which were the only ones I saw that were large enough to be the "hikers" I had seen from town. The only problem is that they seemed too close together to have the separation which I saw from town. It was difficult to tell if the line of site was right (I can only see them clearly from a particular area of town) while I was standing on the ground around them.
Going down was largely uneventful though there were quite a number of people headed up. I am guessing they had a better view from the top than I did.