Wednesday, December 23, 2009

pumping iron..iron mountain, that is

I was a little late in my goal of getting to Iron Mountain to see its infamous amounts of wildflowers this year. They typically bloom in early July and I didn't make it there until last weekend (December 20). Although the vibrant oranges and purples were replaced by white clusters of snow, nevertheless, it was still a great hike and the views were still gorgeous.
"hairy tree trunks" of the Cascades

Dave and I debated if we should bring snowshoes with us on this hike, but eventually decided against it thinking that we could just turn back if the snow got too deep near the summit. Wrong move--snowshoes definitely would have been beneficial for the last 45 minutes on the climb up! Being the couple of hard-headed individuals that we are, we kept going regardless of falling through the snow (sometimes up to the top of my legs) and eventually made it all the way to the summit at 5200 ft.
Dave when we first started to encounter the snow

me trying not to fall through the snow layers (taken by D. Newborn)

typical view on the way up

Another view on the way up Iron Mountain

The panoramic views at the top were fantastic! Mountain peaks covered with a blanket of evergreens and patches of white snowfall stretched as far as the eye could see. As the air passed up and over the mountain, clouds would form and conceal our view behind a mask of thick fog. We could watch these freshly formed clouds then literally roll over themselves through the air as they traveled over the rocky peaks. Unfortunately, we were unable to take in these captivating sights in for very long. It was getting late in the day and the freezing wind was howling all around us. The last thing we wanted was to attempt getting back down surrounded by darkness.

view from the summit!

Dave found the best way to get across areas of weak snow pack was to crawl

trying to get a good shot with freezing fingers! (taken by D. Newborn)

I'm not sure what this nearby mountain was called...made me wonder if all the peaks have names...

one last look before heading back