Cone Peak / Iron Mountain

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Leader: Sue Wolling
Hike: 8 miles, 1900 ft (Moderate)

What a glorious day for a hike on Iron Mountain! This was not an experience of solitude, as we found the parking lot nearly full, and took off hiking behind an enormous group of people. Fortunately, the large group was the Native Plant Society, and they move at a pace of about 3 feet per hour as they take out hand lenses and field guides to examine each plant—so we passed them quickly and set off on our hike. After ascending some rather steep switchbacks through the forest, we reached flower-strewn meadows, arrayed in trillium, larkspur, paintbrush, phlox, wallflower, Solomon’s Seal, monkeyflower, and…well, some others that I’m sure the Native Plant people identified. The peak of the Iron Mountain wildflower season won’t arrive until around July 20, but we still saw a nice display. Walking on, we discovered the “patches of snow” that the Ranger Station had mentioned—though we all agreed that this was more like “batches” than “patches” of snow, and the footing was a bit treacherous. Walking carefully, we made it over the snow without incident, and were rewarded with a dazzling view of the Cascade peaks: Diamond, the Three Sisters, Washington, Jefferson, Hood and Adams. We enjoyed lunch on the Forest Service’s newly refurbished platform, complete with benches, while basking in wonderful sunshine. For our descent, we opted to skip the snow by heading down Iron Mountain Trail to the Santiam Wagon Road and back to our cars. We probably hiked a shorter distance than scheduled this way, but no one felt shorted. This was one beautiful day in Oregon!

Members: Sue Wolling, Chris Stockdale, Barbara Norregaard, Barry Taub, Lamonte Smith, Brian Popowsky. Nonmembers: Tonya Cronkright, Mary Christensen, Ellen King.

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