R Solo: Dog Mountain Wildflowers

Last spring, when we were just getting into hiking, we took what was then for us a pretty arduous hike up Dog Mountain, but were a tiny bit early for the wildflower bonanza. I just got a new (internal frame!) pack,* which I wanted to try out, so I went again yesterday, taking the Dog Mountain Loop counterclockwise, up the “less difficult” Dog Mountain Trail up and the somewhat overgrown Augspurger Trail down.

Last year, the hike up seemed almost absurdly difficult, and I was seriously sore for a few days afterward. But this year it was mostly a pleasant stroll, and I barely feel it today. I love how that works. Oh, and the flowers.

Dude.

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The flowers start immediately, and just keep going.

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After a few miles, the trail breaks into the lower meadow, with spectacular views. In other places, this would be the highlight of a trip.

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The trail reenters the woods for the last little climb before the upper meadow, and it’s spectacular views. Here’s the view looking down toward Wind Mountain.

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The hills were bright yellow with balsamroot. I took way, way too many pictures, but still couldn’t quite capture it. I ran into this lovely gentleman near the top who told me the hills were all photoshopped, but I don’t know if a picture, even a heavily edited one, could do the meadow justice.

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St. Helens is hiding back there somewhere.

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Trail Friend.

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Looking across the Columbia at Mount Defiance.

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After spending a while frolicking in the meadows, Sound of Music style, I reluctantly headed down. The Augspurger Trail is a little overgrown in places, but definitely worth it.

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Another Trail Friend.

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What a beautiful place! We really are lucky to live here.

*The REI Flash 62, which seems pretty nice so far.

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