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.
And indeed it did! This path climbed along a margin between a rare grove of gigantic noble fir and a lovely mountain meadow.
At the meadow's edge, eagle-eye Roger spotted this gorgeous off-white lily.
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!
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)
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