Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This hike takes us into high country on the drier side of the Cascades, where larch and fir grow. There are a surprising number of different species up here. I am again enchanted by the fall colors of blueberries among the green heather, and take a prodigious amount of pictures.

Up at the lake, the trees have tortured branches, bent like arms, curled down as if they were wilting. The lake is blue and cool and filled with mini-trout (cutthroat and rainbow) that are attracting catch-and-release fishermen. We hear there were mountain goats at the lake, but the fishing population must have scared them into the hills.

Instead, we find a ptarmigan shuffling down the trail ahead of us. He scuttles into a thicket, where I snap his picture each time he peeps out to see if I'm still there. We descend from the lake, crossing the hunting station of a hoverfly--a patch of sunlight in mid-air above the trail. I can see the insects he is darting after, respectable bites the size of gnats, but I can't tell if he is catching them. He had better be getting energy from the sunlight, because his wings are beating furiously and continuously, and must take a prodigious amount of fuel.

We return to the parking area, where I paint a meadow with blueberries and silver-trunked trees.

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