A Pilgrimage to Silver Star Mountain


Silver Star Mountain is easily visible from much of the Portland and Vancouver area, and is located about 28 crow-flying miles northeast of home. The upper mountain is mostly bare due to the century-old Yacolt forest fire, providing an uncommon “alpine” area at 4,300 feet.

In late May I began the hike from Grouse Vista. The plumes of a few beargrass dotted the lower hillsides with their bright white colors, joined by red paintbrush, rosy spirea, yellow pea, lavender wild iris and purple penstemon.

After a detour to some Indian pits, I did the final steep one-mile climb to the summit of Silver Star. There would have been grand views of the crown jewels of the mid-Cascades sparkling in the sun but the clouds obscured all expect a hazy Mt. Hood.  

On a personal note, we placed my father’s ashes on Silver Star’s summit 17 years ago. Sitting on the summit gave me an opportunity to honor his memory. He would have enjoyed the location. The views are open and far-reaching. Deer are often nearby, as are black bears when the huckleberries ripen in the autumn. Less than one mile away are the Indian pits used for religious ceremonies in the long past.

I imagine at times the spirits of the Indians and my father sitting around an open campfire telling wild and woolly stories about hunting and other adventures. Even though I miss him, he is always nearby when I am in the wilderness.

Rock Creek Falls

Rock Creek Falls

Oregon Flag

Oregon Flag

A pretty section of the lower trail

A pretty section of the lower trail (soon the hillsides will be covered with wildflowers of every color)

Columbine

Columbine

View from one of the Indian pits (Mt. Hood in background)

View from one of the Indian pits (Mt. Hood in background)

Hikers on Silver Star's false summit

Hikers on Silver Star’s false summit

Cow-parsnip flowers must be a real treat

Cow-parsnip flowers must be a real treat

Silver Star Mountain summit

Silver Star Mountain summit

Marsh Marigolds

Marsh Marigolds

Looking up the trail to Silver Star

Looking up the trail to Silver Star

Canadian Dogwood

Canadian Dogwood

Paintbrush and Lupine

Paintbrush and Lupine

The Indian pits are to the right of the two bumps

The Indian pits are to the right of the two bumps (nice views indeed)

Yellow Paintbrush

Yellow Paintbrush

Yellow Pea

Yellow Pea

Beargrass

Beargrass

Sunlight on the lower trail

Sunlight on the lower trail

Yellow Pea lining the lower trail

Yellow Pea and a few beargrass plumes lining the lower trail

 

 

Categories: Columbia River Gorge Hikes, Personal ReflectionsTags: , , , , ,

6 comments

  1. Great job John, the wildflower ID is very help. We will be up there very soon.

    Like

  2. Beautiful photos! So many wildflowers to see, so little time.

    Like

  3. Very moving. May Bus rest in peace.

    Like

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