Seventeen of us relished the hike on the PCT to Grouse Gap and beyond. Twelve started at MP7 on Ashland Ski Road and hiked through five wildflower meadows to the Shelter. Five began near the top of the logging road, hiking down to the PCT intersection and followed it to Grouse Gap, then wanted more and so continued on the PCT for awhile in the direction of Siskiyou Peak before reversing and meeting the others at the Grouse Gap Shelter for lunch together. The longer hike amounted to 7 miles RT; the shorter hike was 5.8 miles.
We all enjoyed lots of birds, serenading us with delightfully varied songs. The 7-mile group spotted lazuli buntings, green-tailed towhees, olive-sided flycatchers and a remarkable hermit thrush singing loudly as we completed the trail. Both groups noted Mt. Ashland’s display of wildflowers, including Blue-eyed mary, vetch, larkspur, scarlet gilia, lupine including Ashland Lupine, buckwheat, cat’s ear or Pussy-ears, paintbrush, blue stickweed, and red columbine. There were two members of the orchid family on the 7-mile trail including Pacific coral-root and bog orchid.
Views, including Mt. Shasta, were magnificent, as so often a highlight on this trek. Cool temperature and clear air into July was celebrated profusely.
Elisabeth and Kay