Iron Mountain, Linn County, OR

July 6, 2007: We have been having a heat wave with the temperatures in the high nineties but today the weather guesser promised cooler temperatures so Lucy and I decided to try the Iron Mountain Trail. I have been waiting for a plant to bloom so I could figure out what the species might be. Keys usually require watching a plant through its entire life cycle. Today might be the day I identify it.

We thought we could avoid the weekend crowd and have the place to ourselves. Wrong. The parking lot at Tombstone Pass was full and overflowing. We might have avoided the weekender’s but there were plenty of folks out on vacation Friday.

Lucy is a conversation starter so we chatted with nearly everyone on the trail. (What a cute little dog… what kind is it?) One large group from Eugene was on a guided tour led by NPSO. Another family group was here on vacation from Massachusetts. Their three children were full of pep and ambition but I wondered how their day would finish. The loop trail is about six miles and the last I saw of them they were headed up the Iron Mountain Lookout trail. The view from the top is spectacular but children don’t always appreciate what we adults see. (I wish I could still see what the children see.)

Butterflies were numerous… in fact it is a bit embarrassing, driving down the highway, to have so many come to an untimely end smashed against the windshield. California tortoiseshells were in the majority but there were many others as well. I wonder if anyone has conducted a study to estimate how many road kills occur during swarms.

The flowers were beautiful. I suspect next week and the week after might present different species but the flowers would still be beautiful. Lucy makes photography difficult because she will tug on the leash just about the time I press the shutter button. We have a routine figured out… I set up the tripod and focus the camera… I tell her to sit and if I am quick enough I might get the picture.

Cascade Penstemon
Cascade Penstemon (Penstemon serrulatus) Iron Mountain 7/6/2007

Lucy was glad to get back to the car and immediately laid down in her bed. Usually she has her nose pressed against the window but after the hike today she was exhausted. We had walked about six human miles but dog miles were at least twice that distance. The outside air gauge read 88 degrees so it did get warm but it wasn’t unbearable… with plenty of water to stay hydrated and plenty of shade we thoroughly enjoyed the day, visiting with the folks on the trail.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Images: