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CritterPainter's Blog

Various ramblings of a country gal


Mt. Ellinor

Category: gardening among the rocks | Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:29 pm

A chilly start to the day this time. Low, clinging clouds greet us as we start to climb up Mt. Ellinor, elev. 5944 in the Olympic Mt. range on the peninsula. And as the stabbing pain in my legs will soon attest to, it's all straight up!
A surprising number of cars greeted us when we arrived at the parking area, and the folks we meet range from Mountaineers with full survival gear to a young couple, new to the area, who just decided to go up on a lark (they didn't get to the first half of the trail).
We pause partway up to get some pictures-these are the clearest

(besides, it took an hour & a half just to get these loaded up on my computer!)
The whispy clouds climbed up the slopes, advancing and retreating on a whim. In places, they wrapped themselves around us, muffling all sound, and we were not just the only people on the mountain, we were on another planet altogether. Then suddenly, the clouds would open and reveal small groups of hikers above and below and, once, a brief startling view of Puget Sound and Seattle far in the distance.
DH was here back in April, and at that time the avalanche slide was still buried in snow. Now it's snow-free briefly, revealing that someone long ago built stone steps up the slide. The slope to either side is dotted with wildflowers and we are very surprised to see many of the same species that dot our prairie in early spring- bluebells, yarrow, daisies, the ubiquitous thistle, and unlike home, indian paintbrush.
The fog plays peek-a-boo with us until we pass out of the tree line. Now we turn around and see the clouds stretched out below us like an undulating blanket of seafoam. We press slowly onward- I cannot climb quickly because of the beta blockers the doc has me on. But moving slowly means taking in more of the fleeting views.
Finally we reach the summit. As we sit down to our apples-and-gorp (ok, trendy people call it "trail mix" but I'm an old-school hiker) (oh, gorp is an acronym for "Good Old Raisins and Peanuts") we are joined by two chipmunks!
One seems to be older than the other, larger and with a fuller tail. Here's junior At one point I was holding my hand down to scatter some peanuts for him; the impatient little fellow ran up to me and Put His Paw In My Hand to take a peanut! *melt*
Here's DH doing a victory pose at the peak, my pic is in the "post a picture of yourself" thread
A few things I learned from this trip: always check your hiking boots to ensure that the padding won't give way halfway up a mountain (I hiked barefoot part of the way down), take along unsalted nuts for the locals, and I must consult with my doc about BP med that doesn't sap my energy so much!

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