05 May 2008

Slate Mountain Trail

This is one of the few major trails in the Gibson Jack area that I had never been on...until Sunday evening. I had avoided it in the past primarily because whenever I drove by, it looked like the whole trail was probably being baked by the sun. Since it was early in the year and heading towards evening, it wasn't too bad last night. The part that I was on would probably be okay early morning, too, but miserable in the middle of the day. The first part of the trail follows a valley, so there will be morning and evening shade. I have no idea how far up the trail I went. I had planned to turn around when the trail through the valley started going up one of the mountains, only there was a switchback and it went up the same mountain I'd been on, so I took that as an excuse to keep going. Also, the trail wasn't quite as steep after the switchback, so that made it even more inviting. I finally stopped when the trail seemed set to cross over from the mountain I was on to a mountain further back. It was quite a nice hike, though I have discovered that my hiking boots are only broken in when I'm wearing my nice, thick, winter socks; as soon as I switched back to my thinner, summer socks, I started getting blisters. *sighs*

Pictures and commentary below the fold.

The only bit of water I saw on this hike was right at the beginning, crossing over this bridge. I'm not sure what the name of the stream is... It may be the lower part of Mink Creek, as that trail is just a bit past, and above, this one.

A young moose! I saw him on the way up, when I was maybe 100 yards past the bridge. The people camping in the parking lot said that they (eventually) saw his mother, too, but I hiked on, and when I got back down, both were gone. (Incidentally, I'm not sure it's technically legal to camp in the parking lot, but they weren't building a fire and there was plenty of room... *shrugs*)

There were many of these rockfalls of shale along the way. Possibly they're connected to the name, "Slate" Mountain?

Cute green beetle. I saw several of these in the valley. They were capable of short flights, but didn't seem keen on staying airborne for long.

The sun setting on the other side of the mountain whose side I was hiking up. It was a bit hard to tell what I was taking a picture of, as the sun was a bit bright, but several of my attempts turned out well. This one was the most dramatic.

I know I've identified this one before, but the only name that comes to mind is Spring Beauty, and the leaves are wrong for that. I'm too tired to look for it, though.

Okay, I'm sure this is in the pea/clover family, but that's about it. It was the only one of its kind that I saw near the trail.

Just a pretty view from near the top of where I got to.

Okay, these I've seen before. Yellowbells, Fritillaria pudica. These were spread out everywhere on the east side of the hill, which means the snow melted pretty recently, as they generally bloom just as the snow melts.

And that's all for now. Hopefully I didn't slow your computer down too much with all of these! `/^

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