I wish we made it to the top
Helen and I are planning a trip to the North End of the Island and we
wanted to do some longer hikes to make sure we were ready for it.
Helen has hiked Elk Thurston twice before but it is my first
time. The hiking book said it was the Chiliwack version of the
Grouse Grind - a hike the local do after work. We woke up early
enough on Sunday to hopefully get a parking spot at the base and went
Sure enough, the parking lot was busy. There is logging in the
area so there are new turnoffs to avoid. I laced up my brand new
hiking boots and wee started hiking up. The forest floor was
particularly green. Queens Cup (a six pedaled flower with large
leaves) was particularly common, but near the start of the hike they
were well past their prime - most had lost a few pedals or more.
As we hiked up, it was like rolling the clock backward - flowers
looked younger and more alive as we climbed higher. The make up
of plants changed subtly - what was ground covered in Oregon grape at
the bottom of the hike became ground covered in ginger. The trail
became ever steeper.
By the time we made it to the first viewpoint, (roughly two thirds of
the elevation gain), my feet (in new boots) were killing me.
Rather that a long bad day, we decided to a short good day would be a
better idea. We had lunch and I walked around to take a few
pictures of the local flowers.
The viewpoint opens up a clearing in forest so flowers that weren't
seen before were suddenly common. People returning from the top said
the flowers up the meadows were blooming so we were quite sad to not be
able to go all the way to the top.
our way back down Helen spotted a frog hopping
across the trail. Turns out it was a toad. I was
surprised because we weren't particularly close to water, but it turns
out some toads can range quite far from water during the summer.
The brown spotted back of the toad did a great job of blending in with
exposed dirt we found the toad on.
By the time we made it back to the car, both Helen and I were hurting
really badly. I guess this hike isn't a great way to start the
hiking seasons, or break in new boots! That said, I would enjoy
trying this hike again.
Tags: flower(4), fruit(1), amphibian(1), underneath(1), forest(1), dappled light(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Hiking > Elk Thurston
Last Modified Saturday, January 21st, 2023 at 23:48:24 Edit
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