Hiked the loop over Bald Mountain & Oak Ridge trail on Saturday. Trail was 95% snow-free, even the top at 3779' was bare (didn't expect that!). 3-6'' of snow in the trees as you get on Surveyors Ridge, but lots of tracks from hikers before me. Flowers were just starting here and there on the lower trail, maybe a month before full bloom - but views were great over Parkdale and Upper Hood River Valley.
Probably first time I saw more hikers than bikers on this trail. Weather started overcast but became more sunny as the day went on. I started pretty late ~2:30 pm and finished in the dusk, didn't use flashlight until 5 minutes to the car.
First flowers (I think avalanche lilies)
Before long, started seeing snow on Surveyors Ridge. Thought I'd encounter more on the trail, than I actually did.
Lots of bright yellow lichen on the trees
As I often change hike plans on the go, looking at this view I decided to descend on the bare ridge to the left of Bald Butte.
On top of Surveyors Ridge, I hiked a bit of road where it intersects the trail 2 times. Less than 1/2 mile of true snow.
Coming across the powerlines, I could hear quite a bit of shooting from east side of the ridge, but didn't see anyone. And no motorcycles this time
There was just a bit of snow off east side of the ridgeline
And the view was hard to beat from the summit
Some cherry-like brush on the top, was shining like copper
As I started down the west ridge, saw something unusual ahead.
The ridge was steep in the beginning and the end, but very easy in the middle. Lots of balsamroot blooms (freeze dried variety)
So much better than hiking down powerline road
Looking back at Surveyors Ridge
What good hike without seeing wildlife?
three more deer
Towards the bottom, the ridge steepened and entered pine/oak mixed woods. I thought it's how Hood River Valley may have looked like back in the day, before the orchards
Following what I thought deer trails, I noticed it could be human trail many years ago. Saw these logs at creek crossing, and a few more cut logs, but almost no trail thread except maybe 100 yards down into a ravine
Some ladder-like structure at the springs. This place, surrounded by tall cedars, devils club, and down trees, was dark and a bit creepy
Looking uphill, saw possibly fresh bear tracks that I missed earlier? Almost my step size, but I couldn't have walked into this 4-5' high fir. And I usually walk in straight line
I believe tall ridge on the left is where I went down
Parting shot of Wyeast
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