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Memorial Day began with blue skies and sunshine, a fine time to climb to the top of Wildcat and Huckleberry Mountains in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.
I drove in the early morning to the Douglas Trailhead (a long-abandoned rock quarry) on the west side of the Wilderness about 33 air-miles southeast of home. The Trail began by climbing to the top of a ridge, providing nice views of the upper Eagle Creek drainage to the south. Almost every step of the way rhododendrons and beargrass crowded the Trail with a few in bloom.
Soon I was on a short steep path leading to the top of 4,500-foot Wildcat Mountain, an old overgrown fire lookout site.
After hiking downhill for awhile, I turned east on the Plaza Trail, an historic route constructed in the late 1800’s by miners and hunters as a pathway between the Clackamas River drainage and Barlow Pass over the Cascades.
After several miles I reached the turnoff to 4,300-foot Huckleberry Mountain. At a nice meadow near the summit I took off the daypack, got out a snack and took a well-deserved break.
Mt. Hood dominated the scene. This is one of the best views of the large volcano. I took my time soaking up the sun before beginning the long trip to the trailhead.
As a wartime veteran, the day gave me a chance to reflect on how fortunate I am compared to some of my fellow veterans who did not make it back home.