Ski Road to Above Grouse Gap 7-14-23

Photos by Kay & Elisabeth

Ashland Hiking Home

Eight hikers enjoyed a PCT journey southward through a bountiful display of wildflowers. Six of us hiked from MP7 to the crest above the Shelter and overlooking a nearly clear view to Mt. Shasta and surrounding ranges (6.5 miles RT, 870’ elevation gain). Two hikers shared a shorter version: One from the Ski Resort parking to the PCT TH on the forest road southward to the crest for lunch with all and then hiking down to MP7; another hiked up the PCT from MP7 and returned on the PCT to the forest road and up to drive the car down to MP7. These two hikers covered 4.5 miles RT.  It was a worthwhile experiment to create two hikes of different distances and elevations to enjoy Grouse Gap and the trail between MP7 and forest road, where hikers encountered 5 downed trees across the trail.

We found the corn lily fresh and lovely, only dried up in areas of full sun. We enjoyed a proliferation of Scarlet Gilia and many Western Columbine, Monk’s Hood, Oregon Sunshine, and tiny Blue-Eyed Mary. Indian Paintbrush showed occasionally. Kay’s ‘eagle’ eye spotted an occasional Leopard Lily nestled and nearly hidden off the trail amidst green foliage.  A lesson of the day: These are spotted, not striped, hence called “Leopard Lily” not “Tiger Lily” which many of us have called them. Hikers were grateful, too, for the identification of trees by Nancy who pursued a career with the National Parks and Forest Service. To top it all off, we saw four varieties of butterflies, and heard many sweet birds.  Kay and George are still on the lookout for the Indigo Bunting.