Tidbits Mountain

June 30, 2001

At 8:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, eleven of us assembled at the SEHS parking lot to begin our car shuttle to and hike up Tidbits Mt. We stopped at Vida Market to purchase trailhead permits, one of those necessary little administrative details. Following the instructions in William Sullivan's "100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades", we turned off Hwy. 126 at MP 44, the Blue River Reservoir junction, and began the 13.5-mile drive to the trailhead. There are no bulletin boards or materials located at the beginning of the trail, except an old wooden sign that reads 2.75 miles to Tidbits Mt. This was a bit confusing as Sullivan's book lists the hike as four miles round trip. None-the-less, we all started off with wonderful weather and excitement for the adventure. The trail was moderate in its elevation gain. It was a fairly steady climb from 4,100 ft. to 5,184 ft. at the summit. The trail went through an old growth forest for the first 1.5 miles. There was enough light filtering through the branches to allow for a beautiful and diverse display of wild flowers. At this time of the year the Rhododendrons, Bunchberry, Queen's Cup and Anemone are in full bloom. We also saw a lot of Bear grass and Vanilla leaf at the start of our hike. We slowly worked our way along trying to identify the different flowers, but we all felt overwhelmed by the variety present. The next .5 mile went through stretches of forest and some very loose scree, which challenged our ability to maintain our balance. We saw vibrant patches of Lupine, Stonecrop and Trillium at this higher elevation level. Looking up from the trail we could see our objective rising above us, the second of two stone towers which used to support an old fire lookout station. After circling around the towers and ascending a rather steep trail, we reached the bottom of the rock supporting the old lookout. To reach the top we had to climb up a rock face for about 40 ft., grabbing onto the remnants of an old stairway to pull ourselves up to the summit. We had reached this destination at about 12:30 p.m., just in time for lunch. One person decided to eat lunch at the base of the rock climb; the others ate lunch on the old lookout platform while viewing the spectacular 460-degree panoramic view of Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters, Three Fingered Jack and Mt. Jefferson. After lunch, we headed back down the trail. At the end of the day we decided that Bill Sullivan had been correct in calling this a four-mile round-trip hike. The return hike was without mishap and we began the drive home feeling very positive about our Tidbits Mountain experience. Hikers were Wendy Dame, Daniele Delaby, Mary Ann & Tom Holser, Yuan Hopkins, Robert Huntley, Helen Liguoir, Sharon Ritchie, Suzanne Shannon, Dan Wilcox and Don Doerr (leader).

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