Next on the "Linda's summer wildflower tour 2023" is a recap of a most excellent trek I did up to SW Washington's Silver Star Mountain. This is an annual hike that I usually try to time for Father's day because that's normally peak wildflower bloom. Except for this year - our wet, cold spring delayed everything, so I didn't get out on this trail until the second week of July.
However, even late as it was, I still managed to miss peak bloom by a week or so. The lupine was already done, the Indian paintbrush on its way out, and the beargrass blooms were long gone.
|Nice patch of tiger lilies|
But after missing most of my favorite summer hikes for two consecutive years, I was overjoyed to be back on this trail, peak bloom or not!
I started out from the Grouse Vista Trailhead to cloudy skies and cool temperatures. The first mile or so climbed steeply up an extremely rocky trail so I was thankful for the respite.
After getting through the steep rocky part, things leveled out and the forest cleared. The views were nice - one could see forests and mountains for quite a ways. And there were still quite a few wildflowers blooming next to the trail.
|Old stump surrounded by wildflowers|
|Prominent rock outcrop|
I'd nearly forgotten what a tough climb it is to reach the top of Silver Star Mountain. But remembering the spectacular views were worth it, I buckled down and kept going.
|Silver Star summit|
|View from the top|
But finally reaching the top, I was rewarded by awesome views of the surrounding green hills. Usually four of the Cascade peaks are also visible, but today a low cloud bank hid them all. And there weren't many wildflowers blooming. It appeared I'd missed the peak.
|Nice light on nearby hills|
There were two other people already on the summit, but both of them left soon after my arrival. So I had the place to myself for nearly all of the 15 minute break I took.
|Flowers lined the old road to Ed's trail|
Heading back down to the rock cairn junction, I then took a turn in the opposite direction of my approach. When hiking at Silver Star, I always include a side loop on Ed's Trail. Usually you'll find the highest wildflower concentration here.
|These yellow butterflies were going after the yellow flowers|
|Another butterfly species|
|One more yellow butterfly|
|I loved these bright blue butterflies|
|Purple color spot between the rocks|
|Sweeping view from the road|
|A few wild iris were still in bloom|
But, oh were there wildflowers! The higher I climbed, the better the show got.
|Fantastic clouds today!|
|Wildflower and amazing sky|
|Ed's trail began with wildflowers|
|This slope was thick with colorful wildflowers|
Oh it was magnificent! All forward progress ground to a screeching halt.
|The best wildflower display of the entire hike|
|A close up of the flowers|
|Interesting rock outcrop|
|Looking back from where I was|
Ed's trail eventually connected back to the huge rock cairn intersection. From here, it was a 3-mile hike retracing my steps, back to the trailhead.
|A bit of pink|
|The famous rock arch|
I returned to my car with a camera full of images and a big smile on my face. It was wonderful to be back on another of my favorite summer wildflower trails. Silver Star Mountain, I've missed you!