The first weekend of Autumn was an opportunity to hike along a stream, explore an old mine and climb to the summit of mountain.
The Bonanza Trail entered the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness shortly after leaving the trailhead, but it quickly became obvious the trail gets little use and even less maintenance.
The first 1 1/2 miles stayed in the Cheeney Creek Valley and was mainly a nice walk through the alders by the Creek. The next mile climbed the western canyon wall to an old, abandoned mine shaft.
I don’t know what minerals they extracted from the Bonanza Mine, but the mine shaft was six-foot tall, extended 100 feet into the mountain and still had some rusting ore-cart rails visible.
Now the hard work began. There was 2,000 feet of elevation to gain in the next three miles. I soon entered into a transition zone of hemlocks, lodgepole pine, noble fir, beargrass and rhododendrons.
By the time the 4,300-foot summit of Huckleberry Mountain was reached, I was in an alpine area. Earlier in the year it was strewn with wildflowers of every color when I hiked to the summit from the Boulder Ridge Trail.
Mt. Hood loomed large over the skyline covered in fresh snow, but the clouds obscured most of it. I looked down on Hunchback Mountain, thinking how many times I had grown weary hiking to Great Pyramid.
On the way back it dawned on me that I had not seen one other hiker. Amazing!