Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mother's Day on Marys Peak

(I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on my last post.  Losing our beloved family dog was tough, and the outpouring of support from all of you really meant a lot.  Truly, blogging buddies are the best!)

I have a Mother's Day tradition.  When that special Sunday rolls around, I gather my family together, and we all go for a hike.  My son was busy that day, but since my daughter had just driven up to Portland two days prior, I decided to travel her way and try a trail nearby.

Where's the summit?

Marys Peak had been on my radar for several years.  The highest spot in the Coast Range, this 4,097 foot mountain was reputed to boast expansive views, from the ocean to the Cascades.  I'd also heard the summit wildflower meadows weren't too shabby.

So my hubby and I picked up my daughter and drove west from Corvallis, up an extremely windy Forest Service road, until we finally reached its end.  The higher we climbed, the thicker the clouds became.  Imagine my disappointment when we reached the parking area, only to find it cloaked in a thick fog.

Mother's Day photo op!

From the parking lot, a short but steep trail leads hikers 0.6 mile to the summit.  Sadly, our tough uphill slog brought no rewards that morning.  Everything was shrouded in a thick, white mist.  Oh well, I made my family pose for photos anyway. 

Photo with the hubby

I posted this photo of my hubby and I on Facebook, and someone commented on the fact that I was bundled up, while Roger was in shirtsleeves.  Don't let my husband's lack of jacket fool you - the wind was blowing up there, and it was freezing!  Roger just has a high tolerance for chilly temps (we joke that he's part Alaskan!)

Heading towards the Meadow Edge Trail

Disappointed by the lack of views, my family and I decided to try another trail.  We left the summit, and located the nearby Meadows Edge Trail.  My hiking book said this short two-mile loop wound through an impressive old-growth forest.

Gigantic tree

And indeed it did!  This path climbed along a margin between a rare grove of gigantic noble fir and a lovely mountain meadow.

Hidden lily

At the meadow's edge, eagle-eye Roger spotted this gorgeous off-white lily.

Mossy woods

Beyond the huge firs was another grove of smaller trees, all draped in fuzzy lichens.

These yellow flowers were plentiful!

The surrounding forest floor was full of wildflowers, especially this tiny yellow specimen (I have no idea of its name).

Forest floor green with Oxalis

Further downhill, the hillside vegetation changed to a vibrant green carpet of Oxalis.

Water droplets on Oxalis leaves

These plants look like large clovers - but with three leaves, instead of four.  (Didn't stop Roger and Denise from looking though!)

Little white flowers

There were even tiny white flowers blooming in some Oxalis patches.

Roger trying for a trillium photo

Deeper in the woods, we spotted a bunch of beautiful trillium flowers.  The first ones I'd seen this year, I spent a lot of time trying to get that perfect shot.  Roger took out his cell phone and joined in the fun.

My trillium shot

This was the best of my trillium images.   Not too bad!

Lotsa lichen

For all you lichen lovers out there, here's a close up of the wispy green and beige lichen that covered most of the trees.  (You're welcome)

Lovely green woods

As my family and I walked through the woods, we began to notice the sky clearing.

Bleeding heart flowers

By the time we'd finished the Meadows Edge Loop, the fog had vanished, replaced by high clouds and partial blue sky.

Road to the summit

Having missed seeing views the first time, I was game for a return to the summit.  Roger said he'd join me, but Denise opted to wait in the car (she'd recently rolled her ankle and it needed a rest)

Summit wildflowers

By this time, quite a few people had arrived, and they all seemed to be taking a gravel road to the top.  Instead of taking the trail, this time Roger and I followed everyone else up this alternate route.

Fantastic views we'd missed the first time

Although the woods had a few good wildflower displays, I was kind of disappointed thus far by the lack of flowers.  But as I got close to Marys Peak summit, that all changed.


Boy was I glad we'd followed the road!  It wound right past an enormous flower field.  The steep, rocky uphill slopes were covered with purple Phlox and a smattering of orange Indian Paintbrush.  Taking the trail this morning, we'd missed all of this.

Summit meadows were a carpet of wildflowers

At road's end, the summit meadows were covered with tiny, yellow blossoms and deep purple larkspur.  It was simply wonderful!


And now I could finally see those wonderful views.  Although not a very clear day, the adjacent hills and farmlands were a great sight to see.  I was so glad the weather decided to cooperate!

Glad I climbed back up again!

I lingered up top for a long time, snapping photos and taking in the vistas.  But a grumbling tummy finally convinced me to head back downhill.  It was long past lunch, and my family had promised beer and burgers at a brewpub in Corvallis.  A perfect end to this wonderful day!

Although it was great to explore new trails and see grand sights, spending time with my family was by far the best part of this Mother's Day.

Sharing with:  Floral Friday Fotos and Through My Lens


  1. What a great way to spend the day! Your world is so full of wonder and I'm glad you share it with us!

  2. Uma caminhada que proporcionou belas fotografias, gostei daquelas árvores gigantes.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  3. Looks like you had a great day!

  4. Hello Linda, I am so glad you had a wonderful Mother's Day with your family. A hike and then a burger and beer sound great to me. I love the beautiful scenery, the old growth forest is awesome. The green forest floor is gorgeous. Beautiful wildflowers. Great post and photos. Thanks for taking me along. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  5. Nice tradition though I can't see my two lads wanting to go for a walk with mum. Superb scenery and like you said worth going back for. Mothers day in the UK was weeks ago so I find it odd when I see it coming round so soon

  6. Sounds like an excellent mothers day to me! Those gray skies is what is keeping my hubby from saying yes to living in OR. I'm still trying to get him to agree to Ashland...less rain, and hopefully, more sun!

  7. Gorgeous series, Linda! I always enjoy all your photos, including the ones with you in them. Your smile is as beautiful and brilliant as your photos! :)

  8. Love the scenery and I love the wildflowers and trees

  9. Wonderful amazing forest, fantastic wildflowers and view plus family, it definitely couldn't be a better Mother's Day.

  10. Hiking on Mother's Day with family is a wonderful tradition.
    Great post.. thanks for taking us along!

  11. Some of those trees look huge. Love the pictures in the forest.

  12. I love those huge trees and the mossy green forest!

  13. Those yellow flowers are, ironically, violets.

  14. What a wonderful way to spend the day! And the photos are stunning!

  15. What a nice ending to your hike! The wildflowers are beautiful!! I am glad to went to the summit again too! :)

  16. Your day played out perfectly!

  17. gorgeous flowers and wonderful views to go with them. Glad you had a nice mothers day.

  18. This is very familiar territory for me! Sorry about the mist! On a clear day you can see to the coast. That hike through the big trees is lovely though, and I hope you did find it worthwhile.

  19. Stunning scenery and photos on your hike.

  20. It looked like wonderful hikes, even if the first was fog filled....fog can be so mysterious. I love the deep woods trail and all the beautiful wildflowers you found along the way. It looked like the perfect Mother'sDay!

  21. That's a great tradition. I tried to get my husband to go on a short hike on Mother's Day but he begged off. We did go to a state park and walked across a footbridge and along a babbling brook for about 10 minutes.

  22. Gorgeous pictures, Linda! How about friending me on Facebook? It's easy to find DJan Stewart in Bellngham, and there are way too many Linda options to find you. I love those beautiful trillium pictures. I never get any that look right in my shots. You got the flowers perfectly. :-)

  23. Glad to go on a walk with you...

  24. What a wonderful way to spend Mothers Day. Beautiful scenery.

  25. Always nice when your persistence is rewarded with late views. Looks a good hike and a productive Mother's Day. Your hubby's attire and bare arms reminds me of the old song "When it's springtime in Alaska (It's 40 below)

  26. Looks like some lovely views and the flowers you got are amazing ( as always). Sometimes that weather isn't quite what we are hoping for, but there is always something beautiful to see. Those trees look amazing. So so sorry to hear about your dog! That is such a difficult loss!

  27. Your woodland rambles are the best. Your perspectives and compositions always make me feel like I am walking with you.....and I wish I were!

  28. Nice series - like the rain drops on the plants

  29. Well didn't the weather gods just smile on you?! I do the same - no scenic views - resort to macro photos. I love them all but the ones with your family were the best.

  30. What a great hike - a perfect Mother's Day!

  31. Linda, What a fantastic Mother's Day hike. I can't believe you have all these wildflowers growing already. It snowed here today!

  32. Nice pictures - if its the same plant I grew up with, the leaves of Oxalis taste of apple peel - I use to add a few to cheese sandwiches!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  33. What a wonderful way to spend Mother's Day. Lots of pretty flowers, lush greenery and good company.

  34. So sorry about your dog... That's a great Mother's Day tradition. Lovely shots and beautiful flowers.
    Many thanks for linking up with the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

  35. What a great day! I love the lichen and the giant trees. I'm so glad the weather cleared up and you got to enjoy the flowers and the views.


Don't be shy! Please leave a comment.