Iron Mountain/Cone Peak
July 10, 2002
I had first planned this trip as an “A” hike — an out and back from the upper parking lot to the top of Iron Mountain. After getting a few requests to do the entire Iron Mountain/Cone Peak loop, so I decided to try a dual, “A”+“B” hike instead — lead the whole group up Iron Mountain, then continue around with the “B”s after dismissing the “A”s. This does add a bit of complexity/leader-anxiety however, as one must get all to commit to their chosen level before car-pooling. Otherwise one might end up with “orphans” having to wait around for a couple hours waiting for their return rides!
The 2½ mile gravel road (035) to the upper parking lot turned out to be a bit bumpy and washboardy, but provided nice views of Iron Mountain and Cone Peak from a little different angle. Wildflowers were abundant, and snow was not, with only one small bank left by the trail, though several more were seen down-slope. Though the trillium were pretty much past their prime, many others were there to take their place, including several of the big, white lilies that were just starting to bloom.
Also surprisingly abundant were people — rather unusual for a weekday. In addition to our group of 11, there was another group of 11 from Bend Parks & Rec. We shared the shade of the lookout with them peaceably, though they watched the cookie-passing ritual with a bit of jealousy.
We also shared the view with them. The haze to the south seemed a bit heavier than that to the north; while Diamond Peak was the southern most visible peak, a white blob to the left of Hood was perhaps Rainier! (A quick look at a map suggests that Adams is hidden behind Hood from there.)
A slight complication arose when some of the “B”s decided it was too hot (88°) for them to do the whole loop. Problem was solved by an executive decision to reverse the direction from counter- to clock-wise, so the cool-seekers could still visit the meadows on the east slope of Iron Mountain, then return on their own recognizance to to the cool, 90°+ of town. The remaining three then continued on around the loop, taking in the added rewarding sights of the Cone Peak wildflowers and views of Iron Mountain from other angles.
Participants were: Elliot Aronin, Max Brown, Dan Christensen, Wendy Clarke, Jim & Sharon Duncan, Jim Fritz, Steve Helwig, Dick Hildreth, Christine Watts, and Wayne Deeter, lead Iron Monger.