Saturday, July 12, 2014

Crystal Mountain Loop Hike

Left: View from Crystal Mountain Ridge Looking Southwest to Mount Rainier; Right: West Facing Slope on the Ridge

Hike Notes

Length: Our course, about 11.7 miles, but we did not do the loop properly.
Duration: 5.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 2,608 ft
Location: Crystal Mountain, South Cascades

Our first hike of the 2014 season. We parked at the Crystal parking lot and then walked down the road to pick up the trail head. (The WTA instructions were not exactly precise on this hike.) The first half of the hike we saw one group of bikers who came bombing down the trail. This was the pleasant half of the hike. Then, we hit the Summit House and were suddenly in a throng of flip-flopped gondala-riders who didn’t cede an inch of space to park our butts as they occupied every bit of sitting space. We continued past the Summit House where we missed picking up trail 1163. A big mistake because the rest of the trip down was on depressing and unforgiving-on-the-knees ski-service roads. And, this part was noticeably more littered with cans and bottles than your average trail. The interesting plants we saw was on the first part of the hike.

Plants

[Family] Genus species (Common Name)

[Berberidaceae] Achyls triphylla (Vanilla Leaf)
[Ranunculaceae] Aquilegia formosa (Western Columbine)
[Cornaceae] Cornus canadensis (Canadian Bunchberry)
[Polygonaceae] Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Buckwheat)
[Liliaceae] Erythronium grandiflorum (Yellow Glacier Lily)
[Ericaceae] Menziesia ferruginea (False Azalea, Fool’s Huckleberry)
[Scrophulariaceae] Penstemon proceus (Littleflower Penstemon)
[Scrophulariaceae] Penstemon davidsonii (Davidson’s Penstemon)
[Polemoniaceae] Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)
[Ericaceae] Rhododendron albiflorum (White-Flowered Rhododendron, Cascade Azalea)
[Crassulaceae] Sedum divergens (Spreading Stonecrop)
[Ranunculaceae] Thalictrum occidentale (Western Meadowrue)
[Violaceae] Viola orbiculata (Roundleaf Violet)
[Melanthiaceae] Xerophyllum tenax (Bear Grass)

Left: Achyls triphylla (Vanilla Leaf); Right: Aquilegia formosa (Western Columbine)
Achyls triphylla (Vanilla Leaf)Aquilegia formosa (Western Columbine)

Left: Rhododendron albiflorum (White-Flowered Rhododendron, Cascade Azalea); Right: Thalictrum occidentale (Western Meadowrue)
 Rhododendron albiflorum (White-Flowered Rhododendron, Cascade Azalea)Thalictrum occidentale (Western Meadowrue)

Left: Menziesia ferruginea (False Azalea, Fool’s Huckleberry) flower; Right: Cornus canadensis (Canadian Bunchberry)
Menziesia ferruginea (False Azalea, Fool’s Huckleberry) flowerCornus canadensis (Canadian Bunchberry)

Left: Xerophyllum tenax (Bear Grass); Right: Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Buckwheat) with Microsteris gracilis (Pink Microsteris) – small white flower
Xerophyllum tenax (Bear Grass)Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulfur Buckwheat) with Microsteris gracilis (Pink Microsteris) – small white flower

Left: Erythronium grandiflorum (Yellow Glacier Lily); Right: Penstemon davidsonii (Davidson’s Penstemon)
Erythronium grandiflorum (Yellow Glacier Lily)Penstemon davidsonii (Davidson’s Penstemon)

Left: Penstemon proceus (Littleflower Penstemon) with butterfly; Right: Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)
Penstemon proceus (Littleflower Penstemon)Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)

Left: Sedum divergens (Spreading Stonecrop); Right: Viola orbiculata (Roundleaf Violet)
Sedum divergens (Spreading Stonecrop)Viola orbiculata (Roundleaf Violet)

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