Saddle Mountain

2 August 2021
Saddle Mountain Trail
(5 miles, +2,800/-2,800 feet).

So I’m hiking again! Yay!

That’s the good news.

The bad news: I am struggling with posterior tibial tendonitis! I had intended to continue my PCT hike up to Truckee in July and then do the PCT in Washington in August. But it wasn’t to be.

Just as well. It’s another bad fire year out there. But maybe that will just be the new normal. Sigh.

Anyhoo, I already had my plane tickets to Oregon, so I visited my friends Orion in Bend and then Aquarius in Portland, who were originally interested in doing some of my Washington PCT hike with me. Aquarius asked me if I was up for a day hike, and I said I thought I could do 5 miles in my current physical state. So he found a beautiful hike not too far from his home.

At the trailhead Aquarius chatted with some other hikers who were new to the area. He offered them water. In fact he kept offering water to people on the hike. And that, combined with his February birthday, led to the perfect trail name!

This is a very steep hike — climbing about twice as much per mile as a typical section of the PCT. In many places there is a metalic grid laid over the trail to prevent erosion and to help with traction.

Since it was such a thigh-buster, we didn’t stop much on the way up to enjoy all the lovely flora.

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Humbug Mountain
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Aquarius stops to enjoy the view – notice the steel grid on the trail
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Made it to the top!

While we lingered at the top, we noticed a woman on her phone casually walking a spur section of trail with steep drop-offs on either side. Aquarius was so nervous for her, that he actually started filming her in case she met an untimely demise.

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Don’t fall!

But it all worked out. I promised I would not follow her out there, but we did go check out a meadow where the spur started so I could start taking pictures of all the amazing wildflowers we had rushed by on the way up.

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Aspen fleabane
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Common Cat’s Ear
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Edible Thistle

After the meadow we slowly started back down.

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A tree grows from a deep ravine, with the north ridge of Saddle Mountain in the distance
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Nootka Rose
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Pacific Stonecrop
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And a close-up

Aquarius warned me about a poisonous plant that some people mistakenly eat. When we found it, some ants who were apparently immune were enjoying its nectar.

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Western Hemlock-parsley
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Coast Goldenrod
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Western Wallflower
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Pearly Everlasting
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Harsh Indian Paintbrush

One of the flowers we found was named after Alice Eastwood, the noted botanist who built the botanical collection at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

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Alice Eastwood’s Fleabane
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Wandering Daisy
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Common Wooly Sunflower
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Ribwort Plantain
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Common Yarrow
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Mountain Sweet Cicely
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Salmonberry (yum!)
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Coastal Hedge-Nettle
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Common Cowparsnip
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Thimbleberry (Aquarius wouldn’t let me eat this, but apparently it is edible — better safe than sorry!)
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White twisted-stalk
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Red Baneberry
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Western Rattlesnakeroot
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Western Cone-Flower
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Western Columbine
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Another pause for the view
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Copperbush
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Nodding onion
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Candy flower
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Harebell

We passed a hiker on the way up who asked us to take a photo of her with her dog. Aquarius went full Annie Leibowitz to make sure she got the perfect shot!

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Say cheese!
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Common St. John’s Wort
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Fireweed
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Ragwort
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Cinnabar moth in caterpillar form
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Scouler’s Harebell
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Woodland Beardtongue
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Western Lilly of the Valley
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Large-leaved Avens
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White Inside-out Flower
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Purple Foxglove
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Largeflower Fairybells
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Coastal Monkeyflower

It took us a lot longer to hike down than up with all my stopping for flowers, and towards the end I also needed breaks to stretch my calves and hamstrings (doctor’s orders!). But eventually we did make it down and Aquarius switched from offering water to offering beer at Pelican Brewing in Cannon Beach. Yum!

I’m so glad to be back out. I’m hoping to keep stretching and healing and maybe Half Cookie and I will be able to do a trip in the Sierra later this month.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. 100peaks says:

    Glad to see you out again. And those plants and flowers are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. zozozoom says:

    Wow – Incredible number of flora for a 5-mile hike. Don’t think this hike is for me +2800 -2800 🤔 Great you were able to get back out on a trail. ZoZoZoom

    On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 11:16 AM The JimmyJam Hiking Club wrote:

    > JimmyJam posted: ” 2 August 2021Saddle Mountain Trail(5 miles, > +2,800/-2,800 feet). So I’m hiking again! Yay! That’s the good news. The > bad news: I am struggling with posterior tibial tendinitis! I had intended > to continue my PCT hike up to Truckee in July and t” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jay Harrison says:

    Well, I knew most of the flowers but had to look up Annie Leibowitz. Glad to see you on the trail. Hope we can get together soon. BTW, I am kidding about knowing most of the flowers; they are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glide says:

    You can totally eat Thimble Berries. Unless they get a lot of sun, they usually aren’t too sweet, but added some sugar and made jam once. The leaves make great toilet paper too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LauriEssss says:

    Yay you! And me, because I love your posts and to feel your joy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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