I returned to the Westberg Trail for a Mountaineers hike. The hike was for the Mountaineers Conditioning Hiking Series (Seattle branch). The hikes begin in April - each month mileage and elevation gain are increased. By September hikers who stick with the course are hiking up to 18 miles round trip with up to 4,500 feet of elevation gain. Leading hikes for this series has helped me to stay in shape as well.
This time I mentored a new hike leader and was able to lead from the "rear". I enjoy leading from the rear because it gives me a chance to photograph the wildflowers and wildlife. The new leader did fine and will be leading more hikes for The Mountaineers (John Connelly).
We hiked beyond the memorials for increased mileage and gain. The hike ended up being 9 miles round trip with just under 2,500 feet elevation gain. It was also the first "hot" hike of the year. Still no sign of ticks. A few changes with the flowers - more grass widows, lots more sagebrush violets but bitterroot has yet to bloom. Balsamroot is just getting ready to bloom - another week or so for them if it stays warm.
Since I didn't get any great photos yesterday I am sharing a sketch made by one of our hikers, Catherine Jean Barrett. We thought her sketches were beautiful -- if you'd like to see more of Catherine's work you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org