Pilot Rock Trail and PCT to Babbit Gap 6-14-24

Photos by Kan and Elisabeth, Flower List by Kay, Bird List by Carol

Ashland Hiking Home

What a following! We had 21 hikers today. Fourteen hiked from where the PCT crosses Pilot Rock Road, following the PCT to Babbit Gap. Seven hikers started from the upper lot where Pilot Rock trail begins, hiked 0.8 miles up to the PCT and followed it to Babbit Gap.  One hiker went in on the shorter route and returned on the longer one. Three hike options. How flexible is that?! Different strokes for different folks.

We all met up at Babbit Gap to enjoy extraordinarily clear views of Mt. Shasta, Black Butte, Mount Eddy, and of course Pilot Rock. Fun conversations over lunch and special chocolate covered cherries from Kay. Along the PCT portion from the Pilot Rock Trail crossing to Babbit, we had clear views of Mt. Ashland and Mt. McLoughlin. This hike is ideal for capturing vistas toward all these special mountain peaks on such a clear day.

The weather was superb—cool temperatures and sunny sky graced with wispy clouds. Both groups saw magnificent wildflowers. Among them were red columbine, Tolmie’s pussy ears, bluehead gilia, plumed Solomon’s Seal, thistle, wild iris, blue dicks, ookow, larkspur, western trillium, coyote mint, windflower (anemone), yarrow, and red paintbrush.  The long hikers were sometimes surrounded by thimbleberry plants with small white flowers.  Long hikers particularly enjoyed the bright orange honeysuckle and hillsides of bluehead gilia.  Other highlights were the delicate cream-colored royal polemonium/Jacob’s ladder and the brilliant azure penstemon.

Moreover, each group had seasoned birders that identified birds (seen or heard), as follows:  pileated woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, yellow-rumped warbler, MacGillvray's warbler, Nashville warbler, yellow warbler, chipping sparrow, American crow, lazuli bunting, dark-eyed Junco, sooty grouse, spotted towhee, and red-breasted nuthatch.

Finally, the short group got a lesson from Elisabeth on how to whistle with a blade of grass. Fred mastered it right away.  While the long group marveled at the geometric shapes of a sculpted puffball fungus.

The longer hike was nearly 6 miles RT with elevation gain about 900’; the shorter was 4 miles with about 500’ elevation gain.

Elisabeth and Kay