|Lakes Lookout in the background|
Today I made arrangements for our Bountiful Basket pickup (right in the middle of the day!) so we could take off as soon as I was done serving breakfast at the Presbytery meeting. We left Baker City at 10am and headed up to Anthony Lakes area - determined to get one more HIKE in before the snow falls. From the valley, it appears that all our snow has melted, but closer look from the basin reveals otherwise! While we were hiking through alot, we did find enough to leave footprints. The sunny weather in Baker City did NOT transfer to warmth up on the mountain, however! A COLD wind was blowing as the colds huddled around the peaks. Occasionally the snow broke through, but Rick and I were both glad we had brought our gloves!
We decided to just explore and wander today - no peaks, no long hikes. We headed up the ski run road briefly and then cut up the far run to upper Hoffer Meadows, up the north side of Hoffer Butte, and into the Rock Basin. Did some heavy duty rock scrambling up there. The basin is filled with such HUGE rocks! The "wild African turkey grass" has turned virtually brown, but it still colors the hillsides with an overall reddish tinge. The lowbush huckleberries are losing their leaves. We did find a few purple asters still in bloom, covered up by snow in some cases.
On the south side of Hoffer Butte we stopped to snack (out of the wind!) and then enjoyed poking around the little tairn at the base of Lees Peak. It was iced over with a thin coating! In another pool, a thick slab of ice floated around. We cut down a different drainage to drop back into the Hoffer Lakes area, which gave me a new view of the lakes than I have seen before. I also hadn't realized how many granite slabs form the side of that mountain!
We dropped back down the Hoffer Lakes trail to Anthony and then back to the car. On down the road to the big parking area by the Gorham Butte road, where we parked and then headed up the hillside to the south to look for potential Christmas trees. We finally flagged three trees with the red cloth of my old sweatpants!