Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Viewpoint Mike Trail

We went for a great hike. It was at the head of Lost Creek Lake. While we were looking for the trailhead we parked at the side of a road and there, directly above our heads, was an osprey nest and a very annoyed osprey. The osprey flew off the nest and then circled around apparently scolding us. It landed on the nest and took right back off and went back to circling. We actually walked underneath. We watched for a bit and then finally found the trailhead. I'm sure the Osprey was relieved, but watching and being that close was just so wonderful!

The nest is on a platform that keeps it safely above the lines

The trail took us through meadows and oak forest. There were beautiful wildflowers including one of my favorites, Indian paint brush. (I took the picture later at camp, when I was alone and could spend lots of time. People and Coal tend to get imatient with me when I get 'stuck' in one place). The trail had clearly not been used much and was quite overgrown. There wasn't a lot of wildlife and if it hadn't been for the flowers it would have seemed unrewarding. I know Chris would have preferred a hike in a more dense forest. We did hear a grouse booming. I loved the suprised look on my friends' faces when I told them it was a bird, it was a new experience for them. We also had lizards scurrying out of our way which delighted Tasha. Towards the top the forest changed from oak to pine. There was a lot of Poison Oak around too which was worrisome.

Looking down at the dam

We had our lunch at the top where we could see the lake and damn. We could also just barely see Union Peak which is the southern end of Crater Lake. The view was great. We had turkey vultures circling over our heads, Coal was hot and Sheba was tired but I didn’t think we looked dead! We then moved on done a BLM road. It was a pine forest. We saw scat (coyote I think). The trail was muddy there and we saw plenty of tracks (Nae was the sharp-eyed person for tracks). We saw raccoon, fox (maybe), deer and elk.

We came to another clearing and found the columnar basalt the trail guide had promised. It looked like giant fence lines and a submarine tail emerging from the ground; more volcanic remnants from Crater Lake. As Tasha and Chris tossed rocks over the edge I watched a red-tail hawk circle over head.

At the end of the hike we once again passed under the osprey nest. We found some lava rock on Big Butte creek and let the dogs at the water. Coal was so hot. Sheba had napped at the top, but after coal cooled off he conked out. The bugs there were awesome. We were seeing more stoneflies. I held this big guy! It was a new insect, Californian Pteronarcys, and I'm such a geek that would have made the whole trip worth while. They were everywhere. Renae wouldn’t hold it, but donated her shoe to the photographic cause. She wouldn't have liked holding it, it was large enough that you could feel it's feet pricking into your skin. Not really painful, but much more than the usually buggy tickle. One more pass under the osprey nest and we headed back to camp. It was a wonderful hike. On the drive back we were really watching and saw 5 osprey nests. It's amazing the things you can see, once your eyes have been opened.

Everyone should end a hike with a dip in the stream and a nap


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