Elk ThurstonGo to Slide Show

I wish we made it to the top


Helen and I are planning a trip to the North End of the Island and we wanted to do some longer hikes to make sure we were ready for it.

 
Patch Of Oregon GrapeHelen Hiking

Helen has hiked Elk Thurston twice before but it is my first time.  The hiking book said it was the Chiliwack version of the Grouse Grind - a hike the local do after work.  We woke up early enough on Sunday to hopefully get a parking spot at the base and went for drive.


Sure enough, the parking lot was busy.  There is logging in the area so there are new turnoffs to avoid.  I laced up my brand new hiking boots and wee started hiking up.  The forest floor was particularly green.  Queens Cup (a six pedaled flower with large leaves) was particularly common, but near the start of the hike they were well past their prime - most had lost a few pedals or more.

Queens Cup At End Of BloomBright Spot On Queens CupPatch Of Ginger

As we hiked up, it was like rolling the clock backward - flowers looked younger and more alive as we climbed higher.  The make up of plants changed subtly - what was ground covered in Oregon grape at the bottom of the hike became ground covered in ginger.  The trail became ever steeper.
 
By the time we made it to the first viewpoint, (roughly two thirds of the elevation gain), my feet (in new boots) were killing me.  Rather that a long bad day, we decided to a short good day would be a better idea.  We had lunch and I walked around to take a few pictures of the local flowers.

  View Point

The viewpoint opens up a clearing in forest so flowers that weren't seen before were suddenly common. People returning from the top said the flowers up the meadows were blooming so we were quite sad to not be able to go all the way to the top.

PhloxRed ColumbineBee On Stonecrop
 
Columbia Lily From BelowWild StrawberryWall Of Lupine

Western Toad
On our way back down Helen spotted a frog hopping across the trail.  Turns out it was a toad.   I was surprised because we weren't particularly close to water, but it turns out some toads can range quite far from water during the summer.  The brown spotted back of the toad did a great job of blending in with exposed dirt we found the toad on.
 


By the time we made it back to the car, both Helen and I were hurting really badly.  I guess this hike isn't a great way to start the hiking seasons, or break in new boots!  That said, I would enjoy trying this hike again.


Bee On Stonecrop
Altitude: 1309m (4294 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, insect
Columbia Lily From Below
Species: Lilium columbianum (Columbian lily)
Altitude: 1306m (4284 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, underneath
Phlox
Altitude: 1295m (4248 feet)
Location: Go To...
Red Columbine
Species: Aquilegia formosa (Red Columbine, Western Columbine)
Altitude: 1291m (4235 feet)
Location: Go To...
View Point
Altitude: 1304m (4278 feet)
Location: Go To...
Patch Of Oregon Grape
Species: Mahonia nervosa (Oregon grape)
Tags: forest
Wall Of Lupine
Altitude: 1304m (4278 feet)
Location: Go To...
Bright Spot On Queens Cup
Tags: dappled light, flower
Queens Cup At End Of Bloom
Species: Clintonia uniflora (bride's bonnet, Queens Cup)
Tags: flower
Helen Hiking
Person: Helen
Patch Of Ginger
Species: Asarum caudatum (Long-tailed ginger, British Columbia wild ginger)
Altitude: 980m (3215 feet)
Location: Go To...
Wild Strawberry
Species: Fragaria vesca (woods strawberry, Greenleaf strawberry)
Altitude: 1306m (4284 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fruit
Western Toad
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Tags: amphibian
Tags: flower(4), fruit(1), amphibian(1), underneath(1), forest(1), dappled light(1)
People: Helen(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Hiking > Elk Thurston

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Last Modified Sunday, July 12th, 2009 at 17:28:37 Edit
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