Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

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Stevefromdodge
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Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by Stevefromdodge » August 16th, 2012, 2:07 pm

I make this hike just about every year. Last year we turned around about a mile in, when we saw smoke over to the east. That fire later burned the entire area.

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This is looking across at the saddle where all the downed trees are

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Last year, we picked our stomachs full of huckleberries right here

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New view of Laurence Lake.

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Nuveau cairn

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Shadow of a tree

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The forest was completely silent except for what sounded like someone walking up behind me. When I turned there was no one there. I kept hearing small branches breaking every five seconds or so. It turns out that the small branches high in the trees are slowly breaking off and falling. Perhaps the heat is drying the dead wood. In any event, every few seconds I would hear a branch break. Sometimes I would see the small twig fall to the ground. Once, about 20 pounds of bark sloughed off the side of a tree.

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Farther up, the forest floor was littered with fading Avalanche Lilies.

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The burned area extends from the junction with the Old Vista Ridge Trail to the junction with the Eden Park Trail.

Wy'east Basin is completely unburned.

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The Timberline Trail was unburned until the corner where the trail turns south to enter Elk Cove. The flames engulfed the entire rock face there. A couple of trees are down here, but they're easily passed.

The meadows are stunning

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Looking toward the mountain, another row of burnt forest is visible.

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This is looking at the west side of the next ridge over (Stranahan Ridge?). This area looks to be the most devastated by the fire.

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Elk Cove is beautiful right now. The lupine bloom is as strong as I've ever seen it. The "Old Man" seedheads are thick too. On the other hand, the corn lilies and the pink Lewis' Monkeyflowers that typically grow near the creeks haven't even started.

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I'd heard that the fire burned right to the edge of Elk Cove and people weren't lying.

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Dollar Lake, the namesake of the fire, is completely untouched.

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No bugs on the trails, but I did run into a few mosquitoes when I briefly ventured off trail. Great day.

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BigBear
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by BigBear » August 16th, 2012, 2:11 pm

Black forest, wildflower meadows - that's quite a Jeckyl & Hyde day. The flowers are sure enjoying the August heat after all that moisture.

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hlee
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by hlee » August 16th, 2012, 4:21 pm

I really loved your TR and photos. I'm planning/hoping to head up to Hood on Monday, but haven't decided 100% where to hit up, and this may sway me in that direction. Love all the Pasque flower/Lupine shots.

Hannah

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
-- T.S. Eliot

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Grannyhiker
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by Grannyhiker » August 16th, 2012, 4:40 pm

Beautiful report, Steve, amazing contrast of the burned forests and those meadows bursting with flowers! The burned forest has its own stark beauty that you've beautifully captured in your photos. Even the burned forest is starting to burst with life, too. I hope I can get up there before the snow flies!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

payslee

Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by payslee » August 17th, 2012, 7:47 am

I think I said hi to you up in the cove that day, Steve. The scent of the meadows was intoxicating! My friend and I took the Elk Cove trail up and saw no one all day but you and two groups of backpackers who were coming heading down as we were going up. It's like our own private paradise park, but with prettier glaciers :-)

An incredible place, both fire-ridge and meadows!
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That was me that day...
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I could stare at the Coe glacier all day.
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It smelled even better than it looked!
-payslee

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Stevefromdodge
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by Stevefromdodge » August 17th, 2012, 8:17 am

I remember meeting you!

Love that lupine smell.

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Peder
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by Peder » August 18th, 2012, 12:59 pm

Dollar Lake, the namesake of the fire, is completely untouched.
Yes, I have also found that amusing!

The wildflowers are amazing (or is it just your pictures?), I may well succumb and go up there to take another look soon.
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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Waffle Stomper
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Re: Elk Cove from Vista Ridge 8-12-12

Post by Waffle Stomper » August 18th, 2012, 2:05 pm

Wonderful trip report and photos. It will be interesting to see how this all changes as the years go by.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." - John Muir

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