As usual, Grouse Vista was busy, a lot of cars at the trailhead, some getting there early to avoid the predicted heat, one assumes. I eschewed a visit to the summit as I had been there the week before and it was already crowded. From the junction with the summit trail onward, I had the trails to myself.
I took the Silver Star Trail along the north ridge, getting good views of the Washington volcanoes and the East Fork Lewis River valley. Flowers are still out in force, dominated in all the open areas by a sea of bright yellow (and non-native) smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris).
The Chinook Trail junction is not signposted. I had not hiked this trail since it was first developed, about 15 years ago. My favorite part is right at the beginning, looking down into the cliff-lined bowl at the headwaters of King Creek. The trail is mostly in the open, descending two miles to its junction with the Tarbell Trail.
The junction is near a logging road in a clearcut. Fifteen years ago, there were no roads between this point and Grouse Vista and there was a continuous canopy. Now the Tarbell heads through several large clearcuts and crosses a number of roads. Logging landings, with their piles of slash (branches, roots, etc.) stand out on the ridges and slopes. I suppose the forest has come of age and must be harvested. It’s about 6 ½ miles back to the Grouse Vista Trailhead, and the first stop is Hidden Falls, tucked into a cool lush valley.
Then there are more clearcuts before you pass over the Sturgeon Rock ridge and cross Rock Creek. From the bridge there, it was a nice shady ramble back to the trailhead.
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