Huckleberry Mountain
Day 3

The forecast for Monday had clouds and a chance of rain. We were prepared to break camp in the rain and face lots of wet brush on the climb up to the real trail in the big meadow above. Instead we awoke in a cloud but with zero condensation on our tents. They were packed away almost entirely dry. One last day of fresh huckleberries in my oatmeal. It did not take long to pick a few dozen. We felt a few drops but it never rained. Since it was dry when we woke up we chose to get an early start down. It would also be nice to get an early start to the drive home in holiday traffic. By 8:05 am we were on our way. The only trick was staying on route back to the small meadow where the trail becomes continuous. We took a little different route than coming in but had no real problem finding the meadow. From there it was just an uphill trail to the high point where most hikers turn around. From there we could not even see the short distance to the tops of Huckleberry Mountain and Boulder Peak. The clouds were lifting however.

Following the trail we saw where we lost it at the big meadow coming up. The actual amount of trail lost in the meadow is minimal. The route hugs the trees at the upper side of the meadow. We took more huckleberry stops but not as many as on the way up. The best display of berries I've seen n years. The route has some ups and downs traversing below the ridge before the descent begins in earnest. We looked far and wide for the mythical camp near 4800' and found no signs at all. There is the remains of a fire someone made right in the middle of the trail. We took a break at Fred Bugner Camp. After seeing the insulator and wire high on the ridge near the summit we looked for more insulators on the way down. Though not looking for them we saw zero on the hike up to the big meadow. On the way down we saw one then began to see a lot of them. At first it was just insulators for the phone wire. Lower down we saw wires used to hang the insulators but with the insulators missing. All totaled we saw 25 insulators and 25 insulator hanger wires. That is far more than I have ever seen on a lookout trail.

All the looking slowed us down but made the descent more interesting. The trail seemed to be much longer on the way out. That is often the case. We did notice the 3 mile marker coming down. Never saw it going up. In the last mile or so we saw a blooming pacific bleeding heart and spring beauty in bloom. They were many months late. At long last we reached the trailhead at 12:34 pm. As expected there were no other cars in the lot. For the three day trip we saw exactly zero people. That is not so easy to do on a maintained trail on the west side of the Cascade Mountains on a dry Labor Day Weekend. Total solitude is not yet a complete thing of the past.

We had a great three day weekend. Our concerns about brush, lack of water, and rain all proved to be no problems. 28 years earlier I hiked 4500' up the trail to views but had neither the time or energy to continue on to the lookout site. Now the trail is much less obvious up high but we had time to reach the lookout and go farther. I remembered the trail as being not that brushy and having a smooth steady grade. After recent trail work it is that way again. Really a nice trail. The views at the big meadow are great. One would need  to be quite strong to continue on to the lookout on a day hike. Some folks do it. We were glad to spread out the trip over three days. All in all, a really great backpacking trip.

Huckleberries & Oatmeal
Packing Up
Campsite Meadow
Trail Through Berries
Small Meadow
On Trail
Ridge Top
Crazy Clouds
Cloud Ears
Bright Hellebore
Misty Big Meadow
Hellebore Leaves
Repaired Trail
Sun On Clouds
Open Forest
Fire On Trail
Another Log On Trail
White Insulator
More Berries
More Brushing
Bugner Camp
Brown Insulator
3 Mile Marker
Mossy Ground
Gary & Big Tree
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

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Huckleberry Mountain Report

Trips - 2018