Monument Creek & Methow River

Day two of our three day weekend started late. After not finding camp until after dark and finally getting to bed at 11:30 pm we slept in on Sunday. We had kicked around some ideas for the day and settled on heading to Mazama and the Monument Creek Trail along the Lost River. A short way down the road Kim noticed a single patch of Tweedy's lewisia along the road. This is a rarely seen flower so we stopped. Good thing too as Kim realized she had forgotten her cameras. It would have been awful to drive 40 miles to the trail and not have a camera. After a stop in Winthrop we finally reached the Monument Trailhead. The cars in the lot had licence plates from dealers in Lynnwood, Kirkland, Bellevue, Renton, and Seattle. Every one was from our neck of the woods.

We had another sunny warm day. The trail has lots of flowers. Balsamroot, penstemon, desert stars, paintbrush, and more. The trail is high above the Lost River. It is occasionally in sight and most always in sound. We saw families out for a stroll, trail runners, and even a group of backpackers. The trail moved a short way from the river and into a flat forest area. Here we saw a lone cedar tree. Kim noticed a calypso orchid then another and another. I have never seen so many calypso orchids in one place. Not only the usual ones but white ones too. I had never seen a white calypso. Very neat.

We made very slow progress as the flower photo opportunities were plentiful. We only went about a mile and a half but it was well worth the time. When back at the car we figured out the next hike. A short drive down the road took us to the River Bend Campground. The road to Harts Pass and Slate Peak goes off here. We went straight, past the campground, and to the Methow River Trailhead at the end of the road.

The trail starts on an old road and soon reaches Rattlesnake Creek. The creek is a torrent at this time. There is a flat topped log across that is not all that wide. We crossed okay and met children down the trail who crossed. Not everyone will like it. Later in the season I'm sure the creek will be a rock hop. The same 2002 Needles Fire that hit Driveway Butte burned up this trail. Driveway, our previous days destination, is right across the river. In fact a trail leaves from near this trailhead and climbs the north side of Driveway. We looked but could not find it. This time of year nobody is fording the river anyway.

As with the other hikes this weekend the flower show was excellent. More of the same ones we saw earlier. Paintbrush was especially abundant. The trail is sometimes near the river and sometimes far away. The river is on the left and open fields are to the right. This soon changes as the slope steepens and the river enters more of a canyon. There are a few ups and downs but the trail does not gain much elevation. At one time this must have been a forested walk. Now it is all out in the open. Little shade but great views all around. There are a few logs down as no work has been done yet this year. None pose a problem to get over or around.

We went a little over a mile to where the trail came near to the river. A short drop took us to the shore. The river is really ripping through here. There are live trees here which provide some shade too. We spent some time at the river before starting our trek back. The sun was lower now and really lit up the flowers. It was a slow trip back as we enjoyed the river, the silvered forest, and the flowers. No log removal on this trail yet but none of the downed logs present a problem.

This day we were able to drive back to the Chewuch before dark. We had a nice fire to cook steak, salmon, patatos, and corn on the cob. I ate better than I do at home. We were in bed by 9:30 to help make up for some of the sleep we missed the night before. Two days and three trails down and one day to go.

Kim's report is here: Nwhikers Report & Photos

Tweedy's Lewisia
Tiny Blue Flower
Monument Creek Trail
Indian Paintbrush
Star Flower
Lost River
Calypso Orchid
Grassy Forest
Paintbrush & Parsley
False Solomon's Seal
Methow River
Parsley Lined Trail
Burn Along Methow
Orange Paintbrush
Back Lit Paintbrush
Near Methow River
Flower Garden
More Paintbrush
Yellow On Black
Grass & Burn
More Flowers
Completely Burned
Oregon Grape
Snow Above
Shade On River
Shaded Silver
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2009