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.