Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hunchback Mountain

The parking lot at Gateway Transit Center was mobbed with hikers. After enduring a long spell of rain, it was not surprising to find so many people at this central gathering place of hiking groups. Today was going to be sunny to be followed by rain on Sunday. I could sense the deep frustration with the past weather and the excitement/desire to get out now while the weather was good.

There were two dozen hikers that wanted to go Hunchback Mountain with the Mazamas. Since this hike was in a Wilderness Area, our group had to be limited to 12 people. So I joined an unofficial splinter group that hiked independently from the official group.

The trail starts out steep through the lush green undergrowth dominated by Oxalis and Sword Ferns. After the first two miles the trail levels out and most of it is along a forested ridge with a few openings that afforded viewpoints of the Salmon River Valley. There were a couple of times when I had the trees to myself and could absorb the (near) quietness of the forest. I also enjoyed how the trail varied from hiking along steep hillsides and narrow ridges. At the Great Pyramid, a narrow rock ridge that juts out above the Salmon River Valley, we escaped the red ants and found a sunny viewpoint to enjoy our lunch.

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