Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 6-16 and 6-17-20

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Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument 6-16 and 6-17-20

Post by bobcat » June 23rd, 2020, 3:20 pm

On another self-sufficient car camp trip, I trundled south for a few days. I had never been to the Soda Mountain Wilderness, so that was the main day hike in the area, with a couple of other forays on the side.

Little Pilot Peak and Soda Mountain

I was the first at the trailhead in the morning having spent the night in my car after a rainy evening. I took the PCT through a white fir forest and lush meadows brimming with colonies of false hellebore. One such meadow plays host to an old cattle pond (from a time not so long ago when there was widespread grazing in the area) nestled between stands of aspen.

Entering wilderness, PCT, Soda Mountain.jpg
Siskiyou Mountains owl clover (Orthocarpus cuspidatus cuspidatus), PCT, Soda Mountain.jpg
Rocky meadow, PCT, Soda Mountain.jpg
View to Mt. Ashland, PCT, Soda Mountain.jpg
Cattle pond and aspen, PCT, Soda Mountain.jpg

I left the PCT for a short off-trail ascent to the rocky prominence of Little Pilot Peak, which offered wide-ranging views from Mt. Shasta and Mount Eddy to Mt. McLoughlin. Little Pilot Peak is a sagebrush bald with sheer cliffs on one side and a wildflower meadow sporting peonies, owl clover, and buckwheat.

Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy, PCT, Little Pilot Rock.jpg
View to Pilot Rock from Little Pilot Rock.jpg
Rosy Siskiyou stonecrop (Sedum laxum), Little Pilot Rock.jpg
Mt. McLoughlin from Little Pilot Rock.jpg
Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), Little Pilot Rock.jpg

I returned along the PCT about a mile and took the connector trail up to the Soda Mountain Lookout Road for similar views from the lookout itself, surrounded by an array of communications towers and humming generator sheds. The lookout is staffed during the summer but was still closed up when I was there.

Junction with lookout road, Soda Mountain.jpg
Shasta view from Soda Mountain.jpg
Balsamroot, Soda Mountain.jpg
Lookout on Soda Mountain.jpg
View to Cottonwood Peak from Soda Mountain.jpg
Pilot Rock from Soda Mountain.jpg
Siskiyou onion (Allium siskiyouense), Soda Mountain.jpg

Hobart Bluff

Back down at the trailhead, now with about 15 vehicles, I decided to head north on the PCT for the short hike to Hobart Bluff. Judging from whom I met on the trail and at the summit, this is a very popular excursion for local families with young children. Sagebrush, mountain mahogany, and gnarly western juniper adorn the summit of this cliff, which has lots of delightful, kid-friendly but knee-scraping scrambling opportunities with more limited views than Little Pilot Peak and Soda Mountain.

Hobart Bluff signage, PCT north, Soda Mountain.jpg
White hyacinth (Triteleia hyacinthina), PCT north, Soda Mountain.jpg
View to Emigrant Lake and Ashland from Hobart Bluff.jpg
Oregon sunshine, Hobart Bluff.jpg
Soda Mountain from Hobart Bluff.jpg
Mt. Ashland from Hobart Bluff.jpg

Green Springs Mountain Loop

I hiked this loop on arrival in the area the evening before. The route is a loop in the extended (2017) area of the national monument, threatened but not so far rescinded by the current White House. It makes use of the PCT and a connector trail and alternates Douglas-fir/white fir forest with oak meadows. The PCT part has views across to Soda Mountain, Mt. Ashland, and Pilot Rock. The vegetation on this short, easy loop exemplifies both the Cascade and the Siskiyou in the national monument’s original premise of preserving a unique biodiversity, with some Siskiyou endemics among the more familiar Cascade understory vegetation. Rain shower after shower passed over during the walk until a more persistent deluge hit as I was ending the hike.

View to Pilot Rock, PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
Woodsy passage, PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
Red columbine (Aquilegia formosa), PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
View towards Mt. Ashland, PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
Salmon polemonium (Polemonium carneum), PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
Henderson's star (Triteleia hendersonii), PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
California false hellebore (Veratrum californicum), PCT, Green Springs Mountain.jpg
Close up of sign at north junction, Green Springs Mountain Loop Connector.jpg
Striped coralroot (Corallorrhiza striata), Green Springs Mountain Loop Connector.jpg
Gate on Green Springs Mountain Loop Connector.jpg

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