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Early morning on Memorial Day weekend found me alone at the Douglas Trailhead (a long-abandoned rock quarry) on the west side of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness. It was 37 degrees with fog and drizzle.
The Trail began by climbing to the top of a ridge, providing cloud-obscured views of the upper Eagle Creek drainage to the south. Almost every step of the way rhododendrons and beargrass crowded the Trail.
Soon I was on a short steep path leading to the top of 4,500-foot Wildcat Mountain, an old overgrown fire lookout site. Along the way the snow had kept building up, with about four-six inches at the summit.
After hiking downhill for awhile, I turned north on the McIntyre Ridge Trail to an open meadow with a bench. If it had been a clear day, there would have been a spectacular view of Mt. Hood.
To my surprise, there was a small trillium lily blooming in the snow. It takes a lot to survive above 4,000 feet.
As I hiked the two miles back to the car, I passed 13 hikers and three backpackers. Everyone was kind enough to honor the six-foot distance requirement. But, it was a sure sign that people are craving to get back out into the wilderness.
Wilderness signs and Trailhead
Kinnikinnik (longest palindrome in the English language), Service Berry and Huckleberry leaves
Upper trail and lower trail