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Crooked Creek -- © Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com



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From a distance, Washington’s Mt. Adams looks similar to Mt. Rainier and Oregon’s Mt. Hood.  Seen up close, however, there are many differences that make it special and worth exploring. Unlike the others, there are no major roads nearby. The only access is over slow, dusty, and rutted gravel and dirt roads. Being further to the east, it is a bit warmer and drier, with differences in vegetation as a result. This is a mountain to approach on its own terms: to give it our time, our undivided attention, for at least a full day and better still, several. Almost the entire east side is Yakama tribal reservation land, off limits without a special permit. The real delight is that it gets far fewer visitors than any other nearby Cascades peak, feeling wild and untouched, ideal for solitude.

The Bird Creek Meadows area is the one part of Yakama land that can be easily visited with a day pass issued onsite for a small fee. I’ve hiked many of the trails there and camped in the backcountry nearby. The meadows near the Round-the-Mountain Trail are particularly lush and flower-filled. On a late summer afternoon, the pure waters of Crooked Creek tumbled through this meadow with its mossy rocks, pink monkeyflower, asters, willow-herb, and yellow groundsel.

This photo was taken in 2007. Since then, we’ve had a string of dry, hot summers that have impacted the meadows. It could be the effects of climate change or just normal variation. Wet years should return and if they do, the mountain will reward those who make a visit.


Info:  Chromira digital print of 4x5 Velvia 100F chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper

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