Saturday, July 15, 2017

Iron Mountain Wildflowers

This weekend we headed down to Corvallis so Emily could go to Lindsay’s baby shower and I could hang out with Jen and Jason.  We had a fun Friday night at Squirrels and then the Crowbar hanging out with all our old Corvallis friends and staying out until the bar closed.  It was a rough morning on Saturday but I was able to peel myself out of bed and head out with Jen and Jason to meet up with their friends Jon and Jenn Pywell for the loop hike up Iron Mountain and Cone Peak in search of wildflowers.  Read on:

After a bit of confusion at the busy trailhead meeting up we hit the trail with Alder and the Pywell’s dogs little Dee and and Hans.  It was nice to be back on the trail after almost 8 years off it.  I had forgotten how beautiful the forest was but my my mind was completely blown when we started to gain altitude and enter the meadows of flowers on our way up to the top.  We were literally engulfed in beautiful flowers on all sides of the trail.  Usually, I take the time while editing my photos to identify them all but in this case I simply don’t have the time as there were so many varieties.  

I felt a little bad holding up the group taking so many photos but I just could’t pass up the opportunity for all the colorful flowers against the lush early summer green of the slopes.  This was the first hike here for the Pywells and they were equally amazed.  When we got to the lookout at the top I noticed that it had been completely re-built just a few years ago.  The tower building that had been there had been torn down and a brand new viewing deck was in it’s place with a central compass dial identifying the peaks in all directions.  We could see as far north as Hood and as far south as Diamond Peak with everything in between including the Sisters group.  

On the summit I got the Mavic Pro out and took a few flights circling the mountain in 4K video and snapping a few pics of the unique volcanic geology of the peak.  Iron Mountain lies outside a wilderness area on national forest lands so I was completely in my rights to fly legally but after I had landed a grumpy old man told me that “it ruins it for some people to make it to the top and hear a drone”.  I bit my tongue and simply said that I was all done flying anyway.  

I understand it could go both ways but there was also a woman at the summit who was very fascinated by the drone and enjoyed seeing the aerial view from my phone while flying.  I don't think it’s too much to ask to just bear with the very faint noise of a drone hundreds of feet away for the short life of a 20 minute battery anyway….

The hike down past the base of Cone Peak was equally amazing with wildflowers and I again flew the Mavic up the slope to the top of Cone Peak where I circled, briefly losing connection with it and scaring the crap out of me!  When we got close to the trailhead we did encounter an unfortunate event.  We came around a corner and there were two officers standing over what was clearly a body in the trail.  

We later heard through Jason’s CMRU channels (we had bumped into Todd at the trailhead) that it was a 50 year old man who had a stroke.  The person had running shoes on and it was definitely a hot day so I guess it makes sense.  At least they died doing something they love!

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