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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 wildfire, providing an uncommon “alpine” area at 4,300 feet.
In late June I began the hike from Grouse Vista. The plumes of beargrass dotted the lower hillsides with their bright white colors, joined by red paintbrush, rosy spirea, yellow pea and purple penstemon.
After a detour to some Indian pits, possibly built over 2,000 years ago, 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.
On a personal note, we placed a potion of my father’s ashes on Silver Star’s summit 18 years ago. Last year we placed a portion of my mother’s and niece’s ashes on the summit.
Sitting on the summit gave me an opportunity to honor their memories. They 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, mother and niece, sitting around an open campfire telling stories about past adventures.
Even though I miss them, they are always nearby.