A Special Pilgrimage to Silver Star Mountain

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Silver Star Mountain

Over the years we have placed a portion of my father’s, mother’s and niece’s ashes on Silver Star Mountain’s 4,390-foot summit, a peak easily visible from much of the Portland and Vancouver area.

The views are open and far-reaching on a clear day, including the snow-covered summits of the high Cascade volcanoes. Deer are often nearby, as are black bears when the huckleberries ripen in the autumn. Less than one mile away are Indian pits used for religious ceremonies in the long past.

I imagine at times the spirits of the Indians, my parents and niece sitting around an open campfire telling stories. One of these days, I will join them.

Every year I make the pilgrimage to their resting place. This year I was treated to 40-degree temperatures, low-lying clouds, rain off-and-on, and a cold breeze. Great conditions for taking wildflower photos, but not so good for views.

I was the first one at the trailhead and the first one to the top. It was so cold on the summit that I only lasted a few minutes. Still, it gave me time to honor my parents and niece. It’s always a spiritual time, and a special one for me.

Mountain Spiraea

Summit buried in clouds

Mountain Heliotrope


Beargrass Plumes

Avalanche Lily

Huckleberry flowers

Beargrass Plumes lining the trail

Mt. Rainier from the summit of Silver Star Mtn (from a hike three years ago)


Categories: Columbia River Gorge Hikes, Personal ReflectionsTags: ,


  1. Great pics John on a cloudy and cold day. Which trail head did you use? This is a favorite hike, but hard to get there.

  2. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to “join” you on this pilgrimage, John, honoring your mother, father, and niece. It’s a lovely idea, to go every year, and what a beautiful peak Silver Star Mountain is. Love that last photo of Mt Rainier on an unfoggy trip, but also really liked the photos, flowers, plants, and trail from this current visit.

  3. Beautiful. I especially liked the picture of the summit in clouds; it seemed a very fitting photo of a place where your loved ones meet sky and earth.

  4. What a special way to remember and celebrate those who are so special to you. Just wonderful. And somehow these images are particularly beautiful. Your very personal connection is evident.

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