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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kendall Katwalk, the last alpine hike of the year

Glorious weather means it is the last chance to get out and get up in elevation. Kendall Katwalk is a wonderful hike north from the Snoqualmie Pass ski area along the Pacific Crest trail. I got up there early since the 11 mile round trip carries 2700 feet of gain going in to the 5400 foot level.

There was a long gradual climb of switchbacks through the forest. Plenty of mushrooms all over. Even though I was on the trail by 845, there were already some folks coming down. One couple had a sack of mushrooms. I know I will have to brush up on safe picking for next season. This little fellow caught my eye. Yes he is purple!

Sometimes it is nice hiking a popular trail. I had some nice chats with folks and received scouting reports about blueberries! There were many fruiting plants all over. Mountain Ash was particularly abundant and a large flock of Robins gave away that they had been eating on the berries. They were plenty drunk on the fermented fruit and swooped and bickered in a very uncharacteristic fashion. A sure sign of Fall.

The Katwalk is well known for its wildflower fields. They are past now but I can see how they will be glorious after next years snow melt. I found a mystery flower that I will ask the gang on Flickr Washington Wildflower group. Yes it was a blue sky day.

I did find some Pearly Everlasting, which is always a fun photography subject

There are some pretty exciting parts on the trail with a drop off that is hard to appreciate on film

At the top of the ridge, on the north face of the nose I found this. I was thankful for my long sleeve jacket. It will not be melting off anytime soon as I heard snow level reports for 4000 feet in the next few days.

I had lunch on a chilly outcrop with a spectacular view. Unfortunately in the full sun, the photos are not the best and just don't do justice to the slope down into the basin.

The colors are slowly changing and the Vine Maple make and elegant picture here.

The most vibrant and welcome bit of color are the blueberry bushes. The leaves blaze red in the full sun. There are several different species here, each with their own distinctive flavor size and color. I sampled some that tasted like they had fermented and others were just right. Some are a bit tart and give nice contrast. There were little ones and big juicy ones. I found a wonderful spot thanks to some folks who got off on a wrong trail. I saved room in my water bottle to collect at their discovered spot and I was not sorry. Look at these wonderful colors and notice how plump these beauties are.

Need I say more???

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