The attractions of cooler temperatures, special views of Mt Shasta on a clear day, and nature's ample bounty in the meadows of Mt. Ashland brought out 20 Monday hikers to enjoy this local favorite hike out to the Grouse Gap Shelter.
While the summer heat in the valley has neared 100 degrees our hikes above 6,000' have been consistently in the 60s in shady forests and in the 70s out in the sun.
The top half of Mt Shasta stood out against blue skies and bright sunlight in our view from the trail. But the view took on a seemingly magical quality as it appeared the 14,000' mountain was floating in the sky! Eventually we realized that the bottom half of the mountain was covered in a white shroud of smoke; perhaps coming from the growing Flat Fire in Curry County. Many photos were taken of this unique view of the big mountain.
The three meadows along the trail were thick with green foliage and countless wildflowers. Representing the color spectrum were white Cow's Parsnip, Valerian, some blooming Corn Lily and Bog Orchids; yellow Wallflower, Monkey Face (Mimulus); pink Wild Rose and Pussy Toes; and purple Lupine, Larkspur and Monk's Hood; to name just a few.
We reached the shelter around lunch time and quickly filled the picnic table. Many of us found shade on logs below the shelter.
After lunch we had a group shot taken with Mt Shasta floating in the background.
As we began heading back we saw several Thru Hikers coming down for their lunch at the shelter. On the day we must have seen about a dozen Thru Hikers.
On this hike we had a 7.5 mile out and back with 500' of elevation gain.
Note: Next Monday's hike will be to the pristine Puck Lakes in the High Cascades (OR). We leave Rite Aid at 8 am.