After meeting at Lava Lake SnoPark on Tuesday, June 23 before 9:00 am our esteemed leader, Roz, made the critical decision (based on something Eileen reportedly said) to hike Browder Ridge from the West trailhead, instead of the Gate Creek trailhead as originally planned. It was a great choice, as the trail initially switch-backed through old growth Hemlock up to several south-facing meadows filled with wildflowers. I particularly liked the deep blue carpet of Larkspur, but also the Bleeding Heart all along the trail.
The first ridge was wooded, and gave us respite from the sunny slopes and the climbing with a long, level walk. The second part of the ridge was fairly steep exposed rock with spectacular views that didn’t let up all the way to the summit. At the summit, we could see south to Diamond Peak, and north to Mt. Hood, with close-up views of the Three Sisters and Mt. Washington. This was a demanding 5.4 mile climb of 2000 feet to the summit on the hottest day this year, but the trail got a five star rating from all!