hiking the Carne Mountain trail in search of glorious autumn gold left by the larch leprechaun after he lost his treasure chest somewhere above spider meadows and was hindered from searching further because of a bad blister on his toe
I changed the banner on my blog tonight to the dueling Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex. What do you think? I was going to go outside and help myself to a sprig of needles off our neighbors’ douglas fir (the tree that makes our lights flicker during each and every winter storm and last month obliterated the neighbors’ trampoline to the dismay of nearly a dozen children in the neighborhood) and incorporate it into the picture but I decided to keep things simpler for now.
I was initially inclined to continue tonight with pictures and stories from Kauai, but late this afternoon I caught a glimpse of the wintry Cascades and for some reason was reminded of a hike I did on Carne Mountain way, way back in September. Perhaps because it occurred to me that as much as I may occasionally feel a pinch of the winter blues, I’m lucky I’m not a flower on Carne Mountain going into my sixth month of hibernation. It’s sort of a cliche in the Cascades and Olympics: The idea summer never reaches some ridges or meadows. It really is true. In a normal year, it’s not true about sun-splashed Carne Mountain of the Entiat Range. That said, in my very humble opinion the best time of year to hike Carne is just before the snow flies and larches in the area are turning gold. The Carne Mountain trail is an autumn tradition for a lot of hikers in the Washington Cascades. I was lucky to visit on such a pretty, lonely day. The larches were still another week from prime but they looked amazing to me. Here’s a picture I took a quarter of a mile into the hike on the Phelps Creek trail: This summer I fell in love with taking pictures of hiking trail signs. I passed by here in August for my trip up-valley to Spider Meadows and Spider Gap. I looked forward to getting high on Carne because once you’re up there you get a view of the Phelps Creek trail route (the way to Spider Meadows). I took a deep breath and turned right for the 3,600 feet of elevation gain to Carne’s summit.
It was a good day for a hard hike, the air was crisp and cold. I was tromping in snow at the 3 mile mark (that’s about when you arrive at a sheltered basin below the summit ridge of Carne). I took the picture below as soon as I reached the summit ridge of Carne Mountain. I still had a little ways to go before I reached my high point. The picture looks tilted but it’s not, the clouds give it that effect though.