Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Bouncing from winter to spring, walks and drives dealing with self isolation during pandemic

Birdtail Butte on the Cascade-Simms Road.  A Sunday drive.
Our first alpine flower of Spring, the Buttercup above Holter Lake

Looking at what we would climb

On the scramble above Holter Lake

First Douglasia of season

Our Holter Lake route
In the space of five days I skied in deep, fabulous powder and discovered  blooming alpine flowers while hiking.
We skied Showdown area on Saturday after a dump of snow.  We did an off-trail loop on the north side of Porphyry that finished up with numerous runs up and down the Meadows run on the ski area, even dropping down to the lodge.  We covered more than 5 miles and 2,000 feet of elevation.
On Tuesday we hiked in the Holter Lake area on south facing slopes, which are mainly clear of snow.
We hit a couple of high points from the Holter Lake Recreation site parking area in a large loop, over 5 miles and 2,550 feet of elevation gain and loss.
Along the way I found seven varieties of wildflowers including alpine flowers like pink Douglasia, Buttercups and Pasque flowers.  Spring is here on this mountain face.
There is still plenty of snow on east and north facing slopes.
From one of our many walks along River's Edge Trail
There were lots of wildlife out.  At the Holter turnoff bridge there must have been more than 100 mule deer in the adjacent field.  On the hike we scared up a small herd of elk.
I'm hoping that a promised new snowfall this weekend will allow me some more backcountry runs.
Quite a contrast, eh?
On Sunday, Katie and I took a loop drive along the Simms-Cascade Road, visiting the St. Peter Mission and going to the entry point of the new Birdtail recreation area.  We marveled at this "butte" country between the two towns, the remnants of an old volcano that spread out in laccoliths.
We're doing our best to cope with the social isolation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic that has kept us otherwise isolated and house-bound.
We've also been getting out quite a bit on the River's Edge Trail.

Holter hike route
Wayne Phillips in the timber in deep off-trail powder on the north side of Porphyry Peak

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