Friday, April 13, 2012

Black Mt. Ramble

     This morning Rick and I headed up to the recreation area parking below Mason Dam (Phillips Lake) and explored  a blocked off road toward Black Mt.    Rick had been up this road last fall - finding a nicely graded uphill climb with a great view of the Elkhorns from the top of the ridge.  Sounded perfect for this spring day for a short hike.
First buttercups of the spring!
     After a steep initial climb and a deep trench designed to stop motorized vehicles, the road leveled out to a gentle climb through a thick Ponderosa pine forest.  We heard a few birds (saw a pileated woodpecker) and a chorus of bullfrogs right at the trail beginning.  Otherwise....peaceful and quiet!  Annalea Kauth had told us the buttercups were out on the north side of Phillips Lake - and we hadn't traveled far before we spied ONE solitary buttercup in the middle of the road.  Later we found many open slopes covered with the little yellow flowers.  That is the ONLY flower we saw in bloom, however!
    Shortly after traveling under the powerline clearing and at a sharp left curve of the road, we left the road and headed up the ridge to the right to a large, very volcanic and rocky, clearing with views out to the Elklhorns.  Unfortunately, the clouds were starting to roll in and the blue sky that HAD been behind the range was now definitely growing whiter and whiter (and perhaps grayer also!)  [There was a good reason for leaving early this morning, according to the forecast!]  Still made for a beautiful spot to gaze out over the valley, although we couldn't see most of the lake from our vantage spot.   We did see a couple of fires burning and had passed a "Smoke Ahead" sign on the road driving up.
    Bushwhacked down the ridge and then angled back to meet up with the original road again.  The forest floor was so soft due to piles of pine needles.  Total time hiking was only about 2 hours - a great get away!!  Our timing was perfect - drops of rain started falling shortly after we returned to the car!


No comments:

Post a Comment