Hardesty Mountain/Mt. June

May 15, 2005

We started out on Sunday, May 15, intending to do this hike as posted, from the Hwy. 58 trailhead to Hardesty Mt., then along the Sawtooth trail to the top of Mt. June and back, 18 miles all told. However, as there was just the two of us, one with pressing homework issues, and it began raining heavily, we aborted this trip after reaching Hardesty, making instead a hike of about 10 miles round trip, with a respectable 3200' elevation gain.

The lower portion of the trail was mudlicious and puddle-wonderful, to crib some lines from ee cummings. This was attractive to Rough-skinned newts: we counted some 30 on the trail. What a gentle, beautiful, wonderful little animal! (Though for another, apocalyptic perspective, read Karek Capek’s Chez classic, War With The Newts.) We also heard a Pileated Woodpecker (but alas, not seen), Winter Wrens, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Varied Thrushes, Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-throated Gray and Hermit Warblers, Band-tailed Pigeon, Golden-crowned Kinglets and Chestnut-backed Chickadees. As when I scouted this trip in April (when most of the higher elevation portion of the trail was under snow), Blue Grouse boomed their love songs, the deep sound, almost more felt than heard, reverberating through the woods.

Many flowers were in bloom, with large areas covered in trillium, vanilla leaf, wood sorrel, calypso orchid and deer (?) lily.

Most people hike to Hardesty by shorter trails but I like this climb from Hwy. 58. It is a strenuous workout, a goodly length, especially when you continue on the Sawtooth trail to the top of Mt. June.

Making this shorter than advertised hike to Hardesty (sans Mt. June) was Andy Jobanek and leader George Jobanek.

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