NARGS Campout Day 2: Coffin Mountain

There have been a number of good beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) years lately, but this one is turning out to be outstanding by any measure.

There have been a number of good beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) years lately, but this one is turning out to be outstanding by any measure. Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), as bright as it is, can’t compete with the beargrass in this scene. Bachelor Mountain, where we hiked the day before, can be seen in front of Mt. Jefferson.

On the second day of our NARGS camping trip, July 6, 11 of us headed up to Coffin Mountain. This is much more popular than Bachelor Mountain, and there were another dozen or more other hikers on the trail. The woman who mans (womans?) the lookout said there are more people are coming to Coffin Mountain than there used to be. I have to wonder if that’s in part because I keep telling everyone I know to go there! But it’s still a relatively quiet place with every bit as good a display of flowers as the much more well known Iron Mountain and Cone Peak, which can be seen to the south. In a great beargrass year, as this one is turning out to be, there aren’t too many places that can rival it for a outstanding show of flowers.

Our annual group portrait, taken at the summit. Back, left to right: Kathy and her dog Juan, Kristy, Kelley, Margaret, Chris, and Yahgoub; front, left to right: Peter, Lynette, my husband Jim holding Kathy's dog Paco, Robin and her dog Austin. And, of course, I'm behind the camera—where I prefer to be!

Our annual group portrait, taken at the summit. Back, left to right: Kathy and her dog Juan, Kristy, Kelley, Margaret, Chris, and Yahgoub; front, left to right: Peter, Lynette, my husband Jim holding Kathy’s dog Paco, Robin and her dog Austin. And, of course, I’m behind the camera—where I prefer to be!

A number of beautiful cliff penstemon (Penstemon rupicola) were blooming along the ridge. The Three Sisters can be seen in the background to the southeast.

A number of beautiful cliff penstemon (Penstemon rupicola) were blooming along the ridge. The Three Sisters can be seen in the background to the southeast.

Who cares about flowers?! The highlight of the day for the dogs was definitely the small snowpack still remaining on the ridge.

Who cares about flowers?! The highlight of the day for the dogs was definitely the small snowpack still remaining on the ridge. Paco (on the right) kept us amused as he repeatedly squirmed across the snow on his side. His delight was contagious.

 

Small-flowered penstemon (P. procerus) is especially abundant on Coffin Mountain. While it was mostly finished lower down, it was still blooming well near the ridge.

Small-flowered penstemon (P. procerus) is especially abundant on Coffin Mountain. While it was mostly finished lower down, it was still blooming well near the ridge.

Camping nearby meant we had lots of time to relax and catch up with old friends. Margaret and Kristy are hanging out on the ridge between the lookout and the tower. Mt. Hood can be seen in the distance on the left.

Camping nearby meant we had lots of time to relax and catch up with old friends. Margaret and Kristy are hanging out on the ridge between the lookout and the tower. Mt. Hood can be seen in the distance on the left.

 

The scene of some of the group heading back down across the meadow reminds me of Sound of Music at the end when they are leaving Austria across the mountains. I'm sure some of my love for the mountains comes from seeing that movie for the first time as a small child (and many times since!).

The scene of some of the group heading back down across the meadow reminds me of Sound of Music at the end when they are leaving Austria across the mountains. I’m sure some of my love for the mountains comes from seeing that movie for the first time as a small child (and many times since!).

The night-blooming morning glory (Calystegia atriciplifolia), which actually does bloom during the day, was the most beautiful and abundant I've ever seen it.

The night-blooming morning glory (Calystegia atriplicifolia), which actually does bloom during the day, was the most beautiful and abundant I’ve ever seen it.

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