Sunday, February 25, 2018

Quick Trip up Kings Mtn

You're about to see moss.  Lots of it.

Obligatory trailhead sign

After patiently waiting the entire month of January for an expected huge dump of mountain snow, the weather gods decided to bring rain instead (they have a twisted sense of humor).  Not a fan of skiing in liquid sunshine, I opted to stay home and mope around the house all morning.  Then, becoming desperate for an outdoor exercise fix, I decided to take a quick hike up nearby Kings Mountain. 

Entering the forest

While searching for a hike closer to home, I'd discovered this lovely trail in the Oregon Coast Range last June.  A mere 45 minute drive had me pulling into its parking area.  Although challenging, this steep, thigh-burning ascent of 2800 vertical feet in 2.7 miles was short enough to fit into an afternoon.

Photogenic mossy trees

So instead of skiing, that's how I found myself trekking through a damp, mossy winter forest.  But from my first step onto Kings Mountain's spongy tread, I was captivated by it's magical green woods.

Loved these fuzzy branches

Devoid of leaves, the mossy tree trunks and branches stood out.  Huge clumps of ferns covered the forest floor.  Everything glowed in bright hues of green.  Absolutely magical!  (I half expected a hobbit to amble out)

Yup, more moss

Of course, I had to capture these wonderful fairy-tale woods.  And I spent the next half hour doing just that.

Mossy old tree stump

Of course my frantic photo session killed any forward progress.  After many dozen shutter clicks, I realized time had got away from me once again.  If I didn't get a move on soon, I'd be hiking back in the dark.

Summit register

So, I put my head down and began the slow uphill trudge.  Kings Mountain trail is a steep one, and it didn't take long before my heart started hammering and breath began huffing and puffing.  Soon, the day's fine cloudy mist transformed into raindrops, necessitating a stop to don pack cover and stash the camera.

Nothing to see here

The remainder of my climb was uneventful, save for the fact that the top of Kings Mountain took forever to reach.  The last couple hundred feet of climbing necessitated wading through icy snowbanks.  No rewarding views for my effort today - I found the summit cloaked in thick, foggy clouds.  A cold wind blew chilly raindrops into my face.  I stayed long enough to eat a quick snack while huddling under dripping branches.

Dense forest

Then I gladly retraced my steps off the summit into the shelter of the forest.  Luckily I hadn't traveled very far when the rain finally let up. 

More forest shots

This break in precip gave me a chance to retrieve my camera and capture some images of the diverse forest zones encountered as I descended Kings Mountain.

Last of the fall leaves

This trail is well-maintained by the Mazamas, a Portland mountain climbing club.  They even provide elevation signs every 500 feet so you can judge your downward progress.

Nearing the bottom

Below about 1000 feet, thick moss reappeared on trees and my camera was once again occupied.  Although this significantly delayed my return trip, I did still arrive back at my car well before dark.  And I'd managed to capture quite a few nice images, albeit mostly of the lovely mossy trees (a happy photographer is one with a full memory card!)

Moss macro     

Although skiing was foiled by weather, I still ended up having a great outdoor adventure.  Not only that, I discovered another local trail that's just as beautiful in the winter.


  1. Great shots! Love the fuzzy green branches.

  2. ...what a gorgeous temperate rain forest.

  3. You captured some great images of your trek up, and down, Kings Mountain.
    I love our moss covered everything.
    Fun post!

  4. Um caminho fantástico e de grande beleza pelo meio destas magnificas árvores.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  5. Very nice. In places like this, a happy photographer is one with a spare memory card!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  6. Hello, I love the forest in Oregon and Washington states. The moss, ferns and trees are all gorgeous. This looks like an awesome hike and a great adventure. Your photos are always a treat to see! I hope you have a great day and a happy new week ahead!

  7. Those pictures could have been taken right here in Bellingham, on one of our trails. Nice to see your artistic work, Linda. :-)

  8. beautiful, beautiful place, and gorgeous captures. Kudos

  9. Hi! Nice hiking for you.The fuzzy branches make me feel that you are in the fairy tale world. Moss covered trees are very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. These images are so magical! Very beautiful shots.

  11. Love all that green, drippy goodness!

  12. Those elevation signs are great!

  13. Looks like a fun hike! I will add it to my list...although I'm not sure about that elevation change! (I should challenge myself...)

  14. There's more moss on that trail than in the entire state of Colorado!

  15. I like all moss on the trees. Glad you had a fun adventure even though skiing was over ruled by the weather. Nice photos and descriptions of your day out! Hugs!

  16. Love those mossy, fuzzy trees!

  17. That much vertical in such a short distance would be thigh-burning! The landscape there does look like a gnome could appear at any moment.

  18. You get a lot more rain there than I'd imagined going by the moss cover. Think we are getting all your snow this year as another set of snow storms just started here this evening, expected to last next three days.

  19. Magnificent captures, my favourite being 'The last of the fall leaves'.

  20. Oh my, I love all that moss and ferns and thick dense forest! We don't see much of that here.

  21. I love the mossy trees. What an enchanted forest!


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