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Year-end wrap up

The hikes of 2013 – A year in review.

What an amazing year of hiking it was! As we reach then end of 2013 we thought we’d make one final entry recapping the beautiful areas and unique features we were blessed enough to encounter while out on our “wanderings”. We began the year in February at the Oregon Coast, hiking at Gwynn Creek and Cape Perpetua then finished up just a couple of weeks ago, once again on the Oregon Coast at Tillamook Head, 140 miles north of where we had started. Sandwiched in between these two hikes were 40 other adventures in which we climbed mountains, crossed rivers, and scrambled cross-country to explore a small sampling of the trails of NW Oregon and SW Washington. We put together a map of the approximate location of the trailheads for each of the hikes.
2013 Trailheads
An interactive version can be viewed on mapquest using the following link.
http://mapq.st/1bQXoXo

I’ve always been interested in numbers so I have kept quite a few statistics regarding these 42 hikes. Here are some of those that I found most interesting. We visited 10 wilderness and 2 scenic areas in 8 different national forests. In addition to the national forests we hiked in 4 state parks and at a national volcanic monument. Some of the other numbers are as follows:
Total Miles (according to the Garmin) – 515.2
Cumulative Elevation Gained (approx.) – 88,000′
Minimum/Maximum Elevation – sea level/10,358′
Total Moving Time (per the Garmin) – 240hrs 36min
Total Time on the Trails (per the Garmin) – 280hrs 6min
Total Miles Driven (approx.) – 7550 miles

For the most part the weather was good. We had a warm, dry end to Winter which carried into Spring clearing many trails of snow earlier than normal. This allowed for some earlier visits to some of the higher elevation areas and also an early bloom for most of the wildflowers including the bear grass which only blooms every 2nd or 3rd year. A mild summer kept temperatures bearable and despite the dry beginning to the year the fire season wasn’t too bad. Fall brought an early snowstorm and left an early winter wonderland at mid-elevations and some unusually cold temperatures of late created some interesting ice displays.

Words can’t do justice to the beauty of God’s creation that we experienced this so year I’ll try to keep them to a minimum and attempt to let pictures show what they can.
I have to start with the Cascade Mountains. The most awe inspiring creations, these steadfast beacons that on clear days dot the horizon always seem to draw our attention.

From the rim of Crater Lake in the south to Mt. Rainier in the north they rise above the other ridges, rooted in their positions, yet ever changing in order or varying in appearance depending on what our location was. Some of the views we had were amazing.

Mt. Scott, Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Baily, & Diamond Peak from the South Sister Summit
View from the South Sister
Cascade Peaks from Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Hood (minus the North Sister which was hidden behind the Middle) from Mt. Fuji
Waldo Lake
Mt. Washington to Mt. Hood from the Pacfic Crest Trail near Yapoah Crater
Belknap Crater, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson & Mt. Hood
Mt. Washington to Mt. Bachelor from Three Fingered Jack
Broken Top, Mt. Bachelor, The Three Sisters, Mt. Washington and The Husband
Mt. Rainier, The Goat Rocks, and Mt. Adams from Wildcat Mountain
Mr. Rainier, The Goat Rocks, and Mt. Adams
Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams from Silver Star Mountain
View from Ed' Trail

Individual peaks working from the south to the north.
Mt. Thielsen:
From Fuji Mountian
Mt. Thielsen

Diamond Peak:
From Waldo Mountain
Fuji Mountain and Diamond Peak
From Fuji Mountain
Diamond Peak

Mt. Bachelor:
From Fuji Mountain
Mt. Bachelor
From Tam MacArthur Rim
Mt. Bachelor

Broken Top:
From above Moraine Lake
Broken Top and Moraine Lake
From Fuji Mountain
Broken Top and Ball Butte
From Tam MacArthur Rim
Broken Top

South Sister:
From above Moraine Lake
South Sister Climbers Trail
From Tam MacArthur Rim
South Sister
From Fuji Mountain
South Sister

Middle & North Sister
From Tam MacArthur Rim
Middle and North Sister
From Scott Meadow
North & Middle Sister and Little Brother from Scott Meadow
From the South Sister
South Sister summit view

Mt. Washington
From the Matthieu Lakes Trail
Mt. Washington
From Fuji Mountain
Mt. Washington and Belknap Crater
From Three Fingered Jack
Mt. Washington and The Husband

Three Fingered Jack:

From the Matthieu Lakes Trail
Three Fingered Jack
From Canyon Creek Meadows
Three Fingered Jack from the upper meadow

Mt. Jefferson:
From Fuji Mountain (Dwarfing Three Fingered Jack)
Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack
From Hanks Lake
Hank's Lake
From Three Fingered Jack
Looking back down
From Bays Lake in Jefferson Park
Bays Lake in Jefferson Park

Mt. Hood:
From Barrett Spur
Mt. Hood from Barrett Spur
From Table Mountain
Mt. Hood from Table Mountain
From Elk Meadows
Mt. Hood from Elk Meadows
From Lamberson Butte
Mt. Hood
From Youcum Ridge
Mt. Hood from Yocum Ridge
From Timothy Lake
Mt. Hood from Timothy Lake

Mt. St. Helens:
Mt. St. Helens
From the Loowit Trail on Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens from the Loowit Trail
From Johnston Ridge
Mt. St. Helens

Mt. Adams:
From Silver Star Mountain
Paintbrush, penstemon and Mt. Adams

Mt. Rainier:
From Wildcat Mountain
Mt. Rainier

From the giant rock towers of the mountains we move on to the delicate meadows full of wildflowers that often times call the mountains home. We visited amazing wildflower displays near Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, and Three Fingered Jack but the Cascades were possibly outdone by Silver Star Mountain in Washington.
Bear Grass on Mt. St. Helens
Mt. St. Helens from a beargrass meadow along the Loowit Trail
Balsam Root and Paintbrush in the Ochoco National Forest
Paintbrush and balsamroot
Clearcut on Silver Star Mountain
Tarabell Trail
Meadow on Salmon Butte
An arnica in  a meadow of plectritis, larkspur and monkeyflower
Elk Meadows
Elk Meadows
Near Heather Creek on Mt. Hood
Wildflowers along the Timberline Trail at Heather Creek
Mt. Hood Meadows
Wildflowers in Mt. Hood Meadows
Lupine in Canyon Creek Meadows
Three Fingered Jack
On Coffin Mountain
Aster, penstemon and paintbrush
Avalanche Lilies on the Timberline Trail
Avalanche lilies
Western Pasque flowers and Paintbrush near Elk Cove
Mt. Hood from the Timberline Trail near Elk Cove
Barret Spur on Mt. Hood
Lupine and monkeyflower
Gentians in Jefferson Park
Gentians
Jefferson Park
Wildflowers along the South Breitbenbush Trail
Along the South Brietenbush River in Jefferson Park
Wildflowers along the South Breitenbush River
Aster on Yocum Ridge
Aster field on Yocum Ridge
On Yocum Ridge
Wildflowers along the Yocum Ridge Trail
More from Yocum Ridge
Paintbrush and aster

There weren’t many hikes where the presence of water was not felt. We encountered it in various forms and in an array of colors. There were lakes, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, springs, and the Pacific Ocean adding sights and sounds to our hikes.
Roaring Creek
Roaring Creek
McKenzie River
Mckenzie River
Tamolitch Pool
Tamolitch Pool
Russell Lake
Mt. Jefferson from Russell Lake
Umbrella Falls
Umbrella Falls
Diamond Creek Falls
Diamond Creek Falls
Heather Creek
Waterfall on Heather Creek
South Matthieu Lake
South Mattieu Lake
Benham Falls
Benham Falls
Carver, Camp, and the Chambers Lakes
Carver, Camp and some of the Chambers Lakes
Lewis Tarn
Lewis Tarn
Creek near Pamelia Lake
Waterfall near Pamelia Lake
Timothy Lake
Timothy Lake
Little Crater Lake
Little Crater Lake
Frozen pond near Fuji Mountain
Half frozen pond
Birthday Lake
Birthday Lake
Ramona Falls
Ramona Falls
Pacific Ocean at Tillamook Head
View from Ecola State Park
Pacific Ocean from Cape Perpetua
Looking south from Cape Perpetua
Last but not least the most unpredictable of the sights out on the trails are the creatures that call these places home. From flying ants on Coldwater Peak to the black bear who left its tracks in the snow on Fuji Mountain we were the tourists traipsing through their neighborhoods. We spotted our first elk, snow shoe hare, and sooty grouse this year. We also had the mysterious case of “mouse rain” on Salmon Butte which you can read about here:https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/salmon-butte/
Crawdads in Middle Rock Lake
Tide pool at Cape Kiwanda
Snail
Rough skinned newt
Snake
Tree frog
Spider along the Tam McArthur Rim Trail
Bug on Fuji Mountain
Frog
Butterflies
Zerene fritillary butterfly
Swallowtail butterfly
Swallowtail butterfly
Edith's checkerspot
Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly on the way up Coldwater Peak
Hoary Comma
Hoary Comma
Clodius parnassian
Birds
Bald eagle
Seagull buffet
Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Owl
Gray jay taking a bath
Duck family
Northern Flicker
Osprey
Hummingbird
Red Crossbill
Osprey flying over ducks on Timothy Lake
Hummingbird
Canada geese
Pelicans
Ducks on Wall Lake
Great Blue Heron
Little guys
Chipmunk
Pika
Douglas squirrel
Golden Mantled Squirrels
Snowshoe hare

Big Guys
Our first elk sighting. Near the Observation Peak Trailhead
Columbia Black Tailed Deer
Elk herd on the far shore of the Deschutes River
Elk
Deer near the Lower Black Butte Trailhead

We’d like to leave you with what each of us found to be their favorite hike and the most difficult. For myself Elk Meadows was my favorite. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/elk-meadows/ The variety and beauty we encountered on that hike put it atop my list. As for the most difficult I chose Silver Star Mountain https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/silver-star-mountain/ which was also in the running for my favorite. The heat on that day made it the hardest one for me.

After much deliberation Heather chose the same hike as I did her favorite, Elk Meadows; something about that day had her mesmerized as we traveled up Gnarl Ridge towards Mt. Hood. For the most difficult she picked Observation Peak due in part to having fallen shortly after we stared the hike and spraining her hand and wrist. It made for a more challenging and uncomfortable hike as she endeavored to keep her injury elevated above her heart during most of the journey. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/observation-peak/

Dominique chose Fuji Mountain for his favorite. There was snow and a great view with a reasonable amount of distance. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/fuji-mountain/ For the most difficult he picked Table Mountain and the climb up Heartbreak Ridge. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/table-mountain/

I am already hard at work putting together a 2014 itinerary which will include some overnight backpacking trips and hopefully visits to the Goat Rocks Wilderness and Mt. Adams in Washington. If all goes as planned we will kick things off in January, take things slow until we’ve recovered from our April half or full marathons, and then be ready to crank things up in May. Until 2014 here is a link to a 2013 hikes in pictures album on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157635497870439/

Merry Christmas & Happy Trails!

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Three Sisters Area Trip report

South Sister & Moraine Lake

After a great hike along Tam McArthur Rim it was finally time to tackle the South Sister. At 10,358′ the South Sister is the third highest peak in Oregon behind only Mt. Hood (11,235′) & Mt. Jefferson (10,497′) and the only one of the three that doesn’t require technical climbing skills. We had tried to do this hike a couple of times in 2012, but the Pole Creek fire in the Three Sisters Wilderness kept us from being able to do it. We had been looking forward to this hike all year and most of our earlier hikes were chosen in part to help us prepare for the demands of the climb.

We knew this was a popular weekend for a popular hike so we expected a large crowd would be joining us so we got to the trial head at Devils Lake early and were ready to go just as the Sun began to rise.

South Sister's summit from the trail head parking lot.
South Sister’s summit from the trail head parking lot.

There was just enough light for us to not need to use our headlamps as we set off across Tyee Creek and the Cascade Lakes highway and entered the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Entering the wilderness.
Entering the wilderness.

The first mile and a half of the trail climbs through the forest in a narrow valley before cresting on a large plateau. Brief views behind us revealed Diamond Peak, Mt. Bachelor and distant Mt. Thielsen but it wasn’t until we reached the plateau that we could see our target, the South Sister.
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Travelling along the plateau was an easy walk with gentle rolling hills and mountains on three sides. The South Sister loomed ahead while Mt. Bachelor sat behind and Broken Top welcomed the rising Sun to our right.
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After nearly 3/4 of a mile we spotted Moraine Lake in a sandy bowl below us to the right. A trail joined here and we decided that we would head down there on the way back if we felt up to it. To our left a large lava flow covered a portion of the plateau.

The first 1.8 miles along the plateau had only gained 500′ of elevation putting us at 7200′ when the trail began to climb with a purpose. We were 2.2 miles from the summit and still over 3000′ below it. Not only did that mean a steep trail but the trail consisted of sand and loose rocks making footing challenging. To add to the challenge was the clear view to the top reminding us of just how much further we had to go :).

Looking up the South Sister
Looking up the South Sister

The first section of steep climbing was amid larger gray rocks. There seemed to be an endless number of possible routes braided among these rocks, but sticks and rock cairns marked the correct path. A ridge blocked the view to the east, but to the south the Cascade range was unfolding and lakes dotted the forest. To the west the Willamette Forest stretched beyond the lava mesa.
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The first section ended atop a sandy saddle at the base of the Lewis Glacier. Below the saddle was Lewis Tarn, a pretty glacier melt lake. I had arrived at the saddle before Heather so I headed down to the lake to get a couple of pictures and feel the water (yes it was cold).
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Broken Top was now visible to the east as we sat at the saddle to take a break and get some food before the final ascent.

The rock composition changed here and now we were traveling along a red cinder ridge between the Lewis & Clark Glaciers. The Lewis Glacier had some interesting crevasses.
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The trail was just a little steep here, but the footing was better making this section a little easier than below the saddle. The views were also even more spectacular as we were now looking down across the Lewis Glacier all the way to the peaks surrounding Crater Lake to the south.
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Upon reaching the lop of South Sister’s rim a vast snowfield filled the crater on top of the mountain.
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Across the snowfield was the high point and actual summit of the South Sister. Even though it wasn’t a perfectly clear day, where a view of Mt. Shasta would have been possible, we could see all the way to the tip of Mt. McLoughlin in southern Oregon. In addition to the over half dozen mountain peaks to the south many lakes were clearly visible dotting the forest.
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The trail continued around the rim to the right on it’s way to the summit. Along the way views to the east improved revealing the Green Lakes below the Prouty Glacier between Broken Top and the South Sister, Paulina Peak to the SE, and Tam McArthur Rim where we had hiked the day before. The best views still lay ahead though.
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As we continued around the rim we toward the north side of the mountain the most dramatic views began to unfold. Lined up was a parade of Cascade peaks, the Middle & North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams were only barely visible even with binoculars due to haze but they were there like ghosts on the horizon. Below the South Sister lay the Chambers Lakes in a multitude of colors, from brown Carver Lake to blue Camp Lake like an artists palette.
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Several of the Chambers Lakes
Several of the Chambers Lakes

We’d finally reached the summit!

Heather at the summit
Heather at the summit
My summit pic
My summit pic

We decided to try and continue around on the rim loop after noticing what appeared to be a well worn path. Mt. Washington was hiding behind the Middle Sister and I thought we might be able to find the missing mountain from the western edge of the rim. The path turned out to be much less of a trail and more of a scramble as we climbed over rock piles along the edge of the mountain. A strong wind was blowing across the snowfield making us feel like we could be blown right off the edge. We did manage to get a glimpse of Mt. Washington’s spire over the shoulder of the Middle Sister and got views of of the Lost Creek and Eugene Glaciers as well as several creeks and lakes below the Husband, but I don’t know that I would take that portion of trail again.

Mt. Washington over the left shoulder & Three Fingered Jack over the right of Middle Sister
Mt. Washington over the left shoulder & Three Fingered Jack over the right of Middle Sister
Lost Creek Glacier and the Husband
Lost Creek Glacier and the Husband

After a short stint on the snowfield below we managed to complete the rim loop and arrived back at the climber trail which had become much more crowded. A line of hikers could be seen making their way up as some of the early hikers were making their way back down.
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Surprisingly the descent was much easier than we had anticipated. Despite the numbers heading up there was plenty of room on the braided paths and the deep loose sand helped keep the descent under control. The views were just as impressive going this direction. In fact Broken Top looked even better now that the Sun had risen over head bringing out the colors of the old volcano. On the way down we got a little separated. Heather ended up falling in with two young ladies that shared a similar pace. They quickly formed a trail bond looking out for each other. In her shyness, Heather failed to introduce herself or get their names, but she was very thankful for their company and the feeling of camaraderie. It was nice for her to enjoy the company of women on the trail for a change, even if it was only for a short time.
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When we reached the junction for the trail down to Moraine Lake we decided to head down. I blame the lack of oxygen for that decision. Actually the lake was lovely and only added about 3/4 of a mile and 500′ of additional elevation gain. We sat at the edge of the lake across from the South Sister and had another snack. I think we both would have been happy to stay there, but we would have gotten a little cold that night.
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We pulled ourselves away from the peaceful lake shore and returned to the climber trail via a trail that had come to the lake from Green Lakes and continued on to Wickiup Plain. The intersection was very close to where the climbers trail first crested the plateau so we were quickly back in the forest heading down the final 1.5 miles back to the trail head. Now that it was light we could see this portion of the trail much better. A nice creek ran beside the lower portion of the trail and we spotted some aster blooming in a meadow along side it. After crossing the highway we reached the bridge over Tyee Creek which was lovely.
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Then we were back at the large parking area where we had started. It had been a beautiful day, and we really couldn’t have asked for any more out of this hike. We got one last look at the South Sister before loading up the car and heading back into Bend.

Parting shot of the South Sister
Parting shot of the South Sister

Happy Trails!

Facebook photos: https://www.facebook.com/deryl.yunck/media_set?set=a.10202027388473455.1073741854.1448521051&type=3
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157635348248051/

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Three Sisters Area Trip report

Tam McArthur Rim

An extra long weekend brought us to Central Oregon for a pair of Labor Day weekend hikes. We had planned the coup de gras of our hiking season for September 1st when we were set to climb the South Sister, but first we decided to take a “warm up” hike on the 31st on our way to Bend, OR. We chose Tam McArthur Rim which is located about 16 miles south of Sisters, OR at Three Creek Lake. The trail offered an up close look at Broken Top and a view of the Three Sisters to help us get excited for the next days climb. We also had the option of making this a short hike of just 5 miles by turning around at the rim viewpoint, but of course we opted to lengthen the trip. ­čÖé

The trail offered views from the beginning with Tam McArthur Rim and the North & Middle Sister looming over Three Creek Lake.
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The trail climbed for the first 3/4 of a mile up a ridge to the rim’s plateau. Along the way views opened up across the lake to the north revealing several Cascade peaks. When we reached the plateau the mountains were temporarily lost as we traveled south across a semi-barren landscape. After a half mile the trail bent right and began gradually climbing along the sloped plateau. Mountains once again were visible, this time to the south. Mt. Bachelor rose above the plateau with Tumalo Mountain to it’s left.
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As we gained elevation along the plateau the tops of Broken Top and the South Sister began to peek over the rims edge. The plateau itself was an interesting mix of rocks and sand dotted with clumps of trees. The plants were limited to those capable of surviving windy conditions on little water. Just prior to the final climb to the viewpoint the trail approached the cliff edge where we got our first good look at Little Three Creeks Lake.
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Upon reaching the viewpoint we found that it was a nice wide area with a 360 degree view. At an elevation of 7730′ it was high enough to see a good distance. It was a wonderful spot to take a break and have a bite to eat and would have been an acceptable place to declare victory and turn around. While we sat at the viewpoint we were joined by a Red Crossbill who apparently thought it was a good place for a break as well. Although the view here was good enough to call it a day the trail continued on so we would too.

North & Middle Sister, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack from the viewpoint.
North & Middle Sister, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack from the viewpoint.

Continuing on from the viewpoint the trail stayed fairly level as it followed the edge of the rim toward Broken Top. The open landscape of the plateau meant constant views with Mt. Bachelor to the south, a string of Cascade peaks to the NW and Central Oregon to the east. Between the trail and Central Oregon the plateau was dotted with patches of snow that were still melting feeding silver creeks that flowed down toward the Deschutes River far below. The most prominent of these was the North Fork of Tumalo Creek.

North Fork of the Tum
North Fork of Tumalo Creek

The trail skirted around one of these snow fields and climbed a cinder slope where we could see the final mile of our path before us.
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The final mile climbed a cinder ridge to the base of Broken Hand. From this ridge the views became even grander. To the south beyond Mt. Bachelor was Diamond Peak, Mt. Thielsen and eventually Mt. Scott which resides on the rim of Crater Lake.
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To the north we could see all the way to Mt. Adams in Washington although haze made it difficult to see it well.
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We ate lunch at the base of Broken Hand admiring the colors and shapes of the volcanic rocks of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. We spotted a fellow hiker sitting on the rim of the moraine containing Broken Top Lake, a destination we hope to see next year.
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We spent quite awhile surveying the landscape around us, and I was especially intrigued by what appeared to be a good sized waterfall to the SE of the Middle Sister. It may have been along the outlet creek of one of the Chambers Lakes (possibly Camp Lake).
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We also tried to spot climbers on top of the South Sister since we planned on being up there the next day but couldn’t make anyone out.

On our way back we began running into more hikers and other wildlife too. A silent group of ravens glided by apparently searching for something along the plateau.
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We also spotted an impressive spider which had bright red legs and was just a bit larger than a quarter.
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This was a great way to start a weekend of hiking and really got us excited about our hike up the South Sister. Happy Trails.

Facebook photos: https://www.facebook.com/deryl.yunck/media_set?set=a.10202026938382203.1073741853.1448521051&type=3
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157635322678462/