Juneuary*

*Juneuary: A word derived from the combination of June and January. Used to describe crappy weather in June, because although it’s supposed to be getting close to summer, it still looks and feels like January outside. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

I’ve hijacked the term for this blog post to be a word derived from the combination of June and January, used to describe excellent weather in January, because although it’s supposed to be the middle of winter, it still feels like June outside.

Clap, clap, clap for the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.

January was so uncharacteristically sunny and dry that I was able to hike over 100 miles that month. Specifically, 108.5 miles with 28,000′ of climbing. Most of my wandering was in the Gorge, where you could navigate dry trails and peak out on sunny summits for 200-mile views over a sea of valley fog.

The month started with a “hardy” hike up Hardy Ridge to Phlox Point and then over to the summit of Hamilton Mountain.

sunshine on Hardy Ridge

Hamilton Saddle

Hardy Ridge moss

Then there was that amazing Birthday Hike.

Then it rained for a short spell and I got a little cabin fever, so Karl and I went for a beautiful stroll along the Eagle Creek in Clackamas, a dark and primordial old growth forest filled with fairies and mushrooms.

This is very large tree. (photo credit: K. Peterson)

But then it was back to sunshine and 70 degrees on the mountain, so up, up, up we go!

It probably wasn't over 90 degrees, but it was definitely warm.

climbing for a better view

Jefferson and the Three Sisters

A very nice ridge

Letting my socks dry in the 70+ degree sunshine

Oscar enjoys the sunshine

Hello!

I wanted to do some exploring in the Table Mountain Complex and accidentally found a new-to-me trail (former railroad grade) that led to a new-to-me jeep track, that led to a new-to-everyone steep bushwhack up the west side of Table Mountain, which led to this stunning view at the top. (Special kudos to my hiking partner that day, who was game for all of that nonsense!)

the golden hour

dance-worthy trail

Mt. Hood, Bonneville from Table

hiking along a nice double track

many drainages

handy ropes for the steep drainages

crossing Cedar Creek on a mushroom log

And because I missed the objective of the first visit to Table Mountain, I had to go back to do what I intended to do the first time. The weather was a little different and provided some special microclimate gifts above 3,000′.

our first glimpse of Table Mountain

flocking

winter scene from the Table Mountain summit

flocked Mt. Hood cairn

frozen fog, sun, and weather in the Gorge

documenting the flocking

frozen fog flocking

Mt. Adams framed by hoar frost

hoar frost spikes

looking back at the summit of Table Mountain

frozen fog formations

descending the north ridge of Table Mountain

the battle between sun and cloud

Then I got a “map” of all the “trails” in the Table Mountain Complex and went back for some more exploring in the Hamilton Creek drainage and around Cedar Mountain on game trails and long-forgotten logging roads.

wandering around Cedar Mountain (photo credit: K. Peterson)

That day we did a two-fer thanks to a canceled afternoon obligation. After hiking around Cedar Mountain, hiked the Cape Horn loop before it closed for falcon nesting season. The wind gusts in the Gorge topped 100 MPH, which made for some exciting cliffside overlooks. Here I am, forever immortalized on the internets, hanging onto Oscar, a tree, and my hat at one such viewpoint.

That same weekend was topped off with an incredible 15-mile circumnavigation of the Restricted Area #3 on the north side of Mt. St. Helens, from the Hummocks to Coldwater Peak and back along the Boundary Trail. There was so little snow that we wore Microspikes for 3/4 of the circuit, but carried snowshoes the entire way (for “training” purposes).

Juneuary. The good kind.

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