On August 11, my third day of hiking in Central Oregon at AMC August Camp, it was tempting to take a break and do something a little easier, like the trip into Bend for biking, kayaking, and brews! But instead, I hiked the Iron Mountain loop trail, and am I glad I did, because it was my favorite hike of the week.
After two out and backs, a loop trail was a great change! You are always seeing something new. The only out and back part was a short spur to the summit of Iron Mountain, with many switchbacks as we gained about 600 feet in a half mile. The total hike was 7.3 miles, and we went through some mature forests, open wildflower meadows with great views, and to the top of Iron Mountain with a deck on top and 360 degree, if hazy, views.
Here is a track of our hike. The start and end is marked with the red star, and the red arrow marks the direction of travel (counter-clockwise). A purple star marks our main objective, the summit of Iron Mountain with its wonderful views.
Here is a three dimensional view of the area. We hiked across the saddle between Cone Peak and Iron Mountain. The red star indicates where we started and ended.
We started the hike through mature forest. Very relaxing and pretty.
After some climbing, we arrived at an open area with views, including of Cone Peak to the north, and...
Iron Mountain to the west. That is where we hoped to have lunch.
The views from the saddle here were really great.
The shaggy-barked Alaskan cedar is rare in Oregon but fairly common in this area, our naturalist hike leader volunteer told us. By the way, all of the hike leaders were great.
This whole region seemed to be the results on volcanos. Look at all of this volcanic rock.
As we started the steep switchbacks up Iron Mountain, some wonderful views began to come.
Pearly everlasting is the name of this wildflower - a pretty name for a pretty flower!
You can see how hazy it was there. Some of this is the result of forest fires.
I was the last to reach the summit with its wonderful deck.
Even with the haze, the views were plenty gorgeous from the top.
We saw lots of wildflowers on this hike.
Near the end of our hike, I think that I am celebrating actually completing a hike without taking a spill! Also, I wanted to show that there some big trees in this area. However, the short hike that we did after completing this one had some truly huge trees - 500 year old Douglas fir!
This hike had everything but wildlife - a good group of hikers to enjoy it with, a great hike leader, wonderfully varied views and scenery, a great cardio workout, beautiful forests, lovely open views, mountaintop views, and gorgeous wildflowers. For that reason, it was my favorite hike of the week, although they were all so good that it is difficult to choose. One thing I found about August Camp - you can randomly pick a hike each night and not go wrong!
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