Iron Mountain / Cone Peak Meadows
June 29, 2008
Well, smarter hikers than the hike leader either cancelled or didn’t show up for this hike. . . I would guess maybe they bailed out due to the first forecast of 95 degrees in the high mountains this weekend or because they checked in with the Forest Service first about trail conditions.
At any rate, one unsuspecting guest showed up and experienced how this moderate hike became a difficult hike in the last weekend of June after a winter of record snows. Several remaining snow drifts provided an interesting hike up to the summit of Iron Mountain, where we discovered that the welcoming Fire Tower had turned into a pile of unsightly rubbish. We averted our eyes from the sad sight and looked out over the mountains beyond where many patches of snow remained from the long winter. Flowers were almost nonexistent.. most of the flora was still pressed to the ground from being under tons of snow. A few trilliums were beginning to poke up through the forest floor and did give the promise of more to come.
Then upon descending Iron Mountain, we decided to try the Cone Peak Meadows trail. And now the adventure began. One snow drift after another soon became a solid field of 4 foot deep snow broken only by the occasional eroding effects of rushing snowmelt and frequent holes around tree trunks where we would catch sight of the trail from time to time. Our adventurous guest did eventually query as to whether this was a good idea but by that time we had already traveled at least 2 miles across the snow fields and had come close to the other side of the mountain.
In the end, after another mile or so, we did lose track of the trail, but the obvious and only way to go was to continue around the mountain and down, so around and down we went. I would say we were bush whacking at this point but there were no bushes to whack.. only more snow. Eventually we did return to the less snowy side of the mountain and made our way down through the trees to the road where we were less than 50 yards from where we were supposed to be. An adventure to be sure. Our guest did enjoy the glissading that we did but decided she really needed to invest in real hiking shoes for her next Obsidian adventure. The Birkenstocks had been a bit chilly!
Hikers were: leader Becky Lipton and nonmember Barb Orsi.