WILLAMETTE NATIONAL FOREST
Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging
Distance: 4.5 miles, elevation: 5,476’, 1,276’ elevation gain, >2 hours duration, rated Hard
“Iron Mountain is a large jagged rock, situated in very rough country,” was an early description of this adventure describing the perch over looking the Santiam portion of the Willamette National Forest. It would be used at different times over the years as a fire lookout and it would be destroyed more than once by heavy snow, high winds, and wildfire.
We were on Iron Mountain early Summer of 2020. There were a good amount of wildflowers decorating the landscape and to be sure this spot is well know for it’s flowers due to the rich soil. The biggest bloom, I understand, takes place in July, but even just after snow melt the flowers ’Spring’ to life and there are blooms through out the Summer.
The day that my college fraternity brother Bruce introduced me to this splendid hike was a warm Summer Oregon day with a mixture of blue skies and whimsical clouds. The hike found us ambling through quiet forests, thick with wondrous fir trees, as well as green meadows dotted with beautiful wildflowers. Then on to some switch backs, passed scraggy volcanic rock, a left over section of snow, and then out on the top with fabulous views of lush evergreens as far as the eye could see, with boundless layers of mountainous ridges, and snowy peaks far in the distance.
Sadly late in the Summer the area was besieged once again by wildfire, and as of this late posting, (Oct 2020), it is closed for that reason.
Oh worrisome thoughts of what has become of this tranquil place. The kind of place that one might find balance from an otherwise over worked, over stressed, over political world that – oh yeah just happens to be smack dab in a pandemic, with a side of firestorm to boot. Prayers for the firefighters, prayers for Mother Nature, prayers for us all.
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Pursuing Balance Through Adventure