Thursday, July 3, 2014

Church meadows, three weeks later

Fifteen Trailblazers headed up the trail today
It was only a mere three weeks ago that we trudged up this same trail to the Church Mountain meadows, knowing we would be seeing lots of snow. It was no different today, except in those three weeks all of the snow was gone from the trail, and it wasn't until we saw the meadows that we had to move from beautiful woodland scenes to reminders of winter.
Native columbine growing next to a tiny stream
Since we thought that the clouds would clear off (they are probably gone by now, but they never cleared for us to see the mountains) we headed upward in pleasant conditions, hoping for a view. In another three weeks, I suspect the meadow will be clear, or almost clear, of snow. But today, we enjoyed the greenery at the lower elevations, and we even saw some mushrooms thrusting themselves up into the light.
Are these... magic mushrooms?
We made our way across the biggest stream crossing before we hit the meadows without incident, even though some of the rocks were slippery. Thank goodness my boots are waterproof! I was careful, though, not to slip and cause me to have wet feet. That's already happened once this season, and that was enough to make me cautious.
Making our way one at a time
And then we emerged from the trees and the trail onto the snow. Although much was gone from our previous visit, it was simply as if we had stepped back in time. The temperature was not exactly cold, but the lack of any sun and the snow itself caused many of us to suddenly feel much colder. We didn't go too far before we decided to stop for lunch.
Trudging toward our lunch spot
I know you can't really tell by looking at this picture, but the amount of snow has diminished significantly from our trip three weeks ago. We could tell, but the lack of any sunshine, not to mention that it's not easy to walk in this kind of slushy snow, meant we wouldn't make it much farther than last time. At least we were all prepared for snow, and many Trailblazers had strapped cleats and other gear onto their boots to keep from slipping. Here's our lunch spot.
Having lunch and donning warm clothes
No sun, although I was optimistic for much of the time that it would clear enough for us to see our beloved mountains. But it didn't happen, and all of us put on jackets and gloves so we wouldn't get too cold. All except Mikey there on the left, he was still in shorts and a t-shirt. But as I've said before, I don't think he was born on this planet.
The only view we had today
As we began our descent back to the cars, the clouds cleared enough for me to get this partial view. Not much, but I realized that it didn't really matter: it was cool weather for hiking back down, we got plenty of good exercise in the beautiful Pacific Northwest wilderness, and we had lots of interesting conversations both up and down the mountain. We will probably attempt Goat Mountain again next week, since the long-range weather looks good for Thursday and we will see what three more weeks of snowmelt looks like up there as well.

Anyhow, it was a fine way for us to spend our Thursday, one which many of us look forward to all week. Feeling pretty darn satisfied on this Independence Day eve. Hope you have a GREAT holiday!


  1. all that snow is just amazing to me! night and day difference! and your pal in shorts and t-shirt... well... :)

  2. Amazing. Things can change quickly in the mountains. That is something that always amazes me.

  3. You mention one of the greatest parts of hiking...the chit chat back and forth while getting to know your friends. I's always "cool" to be able to sit in snow and enjoy lunch on July 3.

  4. How amazing. And thank you - so much - for taking us along.

  5. There really is such a thing as the snowline, and it's still fairly low in those mountains. I am waiting for you to show me meadow flowers!

  6. I spotted Mikey right away, he does kind of stand out in his shorts. It does look like less snow than your last visit but the overcast sky makes it look cold. We are expecting triple digits by Tuesday so maybe some of the heat will drift over and melt it away.

  7. Yep, as I was looking at the photo of you sitting eating lunch, I spotted the shorts right away and knew it was Mikey. I remember your hike 3 weeks ago and it is amazing to see the difference and then to actually go into snow still. We do not have any large mountains this way, so our snow disappears off what us Maritimers call our Mountains, except you would probably call them "Big Hills". ha,ha Happy Independence day my friend - enjoy - looks like it was off to a great start.

  8. One can only be glad they aren't married to a Mikey type. You could probably keep beef on the night stand. No way he is an earthling:))
    Now I understand the backpacks. Not only for food but extra clothing and cleats.
    Hope you have a great 4th.

  9. seeing the clouds in the valley si still a cool view...last year was a big mushroom year here...have not seen as much this all that snow feeds the green...still amazing that while it is in the 80s and 90s here you still have snow...ha.

  10. To me, all that snow is disheartening. How disappointing not to have the view you wanted. But, you and your friends did enjoy the conversation, so all was not lost.
    Happy 4th of July, DJan.

  11. Wow, from such lush greenery to SNOW! You people are a truly hardy bunch,

  12. As you say, a great way to spend a Thursday. Happy 4th to you and yours and to all the Trailblazers!

  13. From green to white, meaning two sets of clothes. That's a lot to carry. I glad you had a great time!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  14. I wonder when the snow will be gone. Too bad you had no views but at least the company was great. Oh Mikey...he must be in a continual state of a hotflash...:)

  15. the snowy July. Are you sure you still don't live in Colorado?! Huh?

  16. From green to white and back again. I love when you get pictures of the little things along the trail like the flowers and mushrooms. :)


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.