July 1, 1978
Sourgrass ’77 & ’78: I think this trip report is going to be a first of its kind. Every year in late June or early July I like to lead an Obsidian hike to the Beargrass clearing on the top of Sourgrass Mtn. Every year, due to my procrastinating and malingering ways, my trip report comes in at the last minute. Last year, 1977, I didn’t get it in at all. All winter this has been nagging at my conscience. It was getting so I could hardly sleep nights until I hit on this novel idea. In 1978 I will write a dual trip report. So at the Last Minute, here it is.
Sourgrass 77—The day was sunny and warm.
Balmy breezes wafted the fragrance of Spring flowers across the meadows and
birds were singing from the tree tops.
The shade at the upper edge of the first logging unit was cool and refreshing.
The hike through the trees on the lower trail that leads to the 2nd logging
unit is always rewarding with its displays of Starflower, Windflower,
Queen’s Cup and Coolwort.
As we stepped out into the logging unit I presented my group with a
spectacular view of Diamond Peak.
Sourgrass 77—One of the interesting highlights of the
upper trail is the old blazes found on several dead snags.
Thirteen year old Owen Cox wanted some experience reading trail blazes
so I let him walk ahead of me.
He did gain some valuable experience when he overlooked the unusual
“V” blaze that marks a switchback on the trail.
Don’t worry Owen, I know a Big guy with a beard that puzzled over
that one once too.
Further along comes the U.S.F.S. trail marker that puts us a mile away
from where we really are.
Map & Compass students beware!
Sourgrass 77—I was disappointed.
The blooming of the Beargrass on the Sourgrass was at an extreme low.
Ten or twelve blooms over the entire mountain top.
I identified and successfully photographed an Orange Agoseris for the first
time and made another attempt to get the correct exposure on a Cat’s
Ear (goofed again).
Lunch time found us at my favorite viewpoint looking over the Hills Creek
drainage with Kitson Ridge on the left and a shining Diamond Peak dominating all.
Parker fell asleep after lunch.
He was still exhausted from the Macduff Peak ordeal of the day before.
Several of us debated about what his reaction would be if he woke up and found
us all gone but the little angels on our right shoulders prevailed over the
little devils on our left shoulders and we woke him up before we left.
Sourgrass 77—The jaws of the terrible thicket closed around us.
Devil’s Club clawed at us and the giant Skunk Cabbage of the Sourgrass
threatened to engulf us.
When my thicket is viewed from a distance it is difficult to believe that
there is a way through it, but there is; my secret escape from the mountain.
Emmy Dale had heard stories about my thicket.
She wore gloves.
While resting after the ordeal we found the elusive Wild Ginger blossom and then
on thru the Bleeding Heart and Jacob’s Ladder to the shuttle car and back
to the trailhead.
Sourgrass 77—The return to trailhead is never uneventful.
This year I found a clump of white Penstemon in a field of Magenta.
My attempts to photograph it with a balky camera resulted in double exposures.
Sourgrass 77—Congratulations to Paula Vehrs for her 3rd time
thru the thicket.
No Obsidian trip to the Sourgrass is complete without a visit to old Elk Camp shelter, one of the few way stations of the Old Alpine Trail system still surviving. My thanks to the people who have worked to preserve this haven in the wilderness with its icy spring and the “Throne in the Forest.”
Sourgrass 77 trekkers were