Grasshopper Mountain - September 6, 2008
Coordinator Dollie O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

"Hwy 138 closed...Hwy 138 closed...Hwy 138 closed..."

The sign flashed this bad news in Glide over and over again. Apparently on Saturday, the Rattle Fire woke up and became belligerent and jumped the highway, effectively scuttling our Crater Peak hike.

We have volunteered to lead the club to Crater Peak 3 times now and three times we have been thwarted, once by snow, once by smoke, and now by fire. At any rate we were all dressed up and rather than go home we decided on Grasshopper Mtn after an impromptu roadside conference.

We lost a lot of time going to Glide and back and it was after 11am when we actually started the hike. The first couple of miles or so crossed open forest that had been burnt in the 2002 Tiller Complex Fire(s). There was a robust undergrowth of fireweed, so named as it is virtually the first plant to grow after a fire. Shortly after returning to an unburnt green forest we arrived at picturesque Buckeye Lake where some of us ate lunch.

From Buckeye it was a short walk to Cliff Lake which sat directly below the imposing cliffs of Grasshopper Mtn. The geological story is interesting as Grasshopper used to be a much more significant mountain when half of it broke off in a massive landslide, damming Fish Lake Creek and forming Fish Lake and creating the basin that currently holds Cliff and Buckeye Lakes. Of course, none of this is discernible from the lakes.

After Cliff Lake, it was a tedious uphill slog to the summit of Grasshopper Mtn. At the summit there were still green meadows replete with a stand of 5 foot high purple delphiniums. From the cliff's edge the landslide was a lot more apparent and we had a birdseye view of the lakes. Behind us was Highrock Mtn, Rabbit Ears, Rocky Ridge, Rattlesnake Mtn, Fish Mtn, Hershberger Mtn, and parts of Crater Lake Rim. The views were not as expansive as they normally could be as smoke from the Rattle fire limited the distance we could see.

After soaking up the views, we headed downwards to an egress of Grasshopper Meadow, replete with namesake grasshoppers. We also passed through an elk-trampled meadow at Mosquito Camp which fortunately was not replete with its namesake vampires. After that it was a two mile walk through green forest as the sun sank in the late afternoon. And a good time was had by all despite our not getting to the planned destination.

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