We had a good winter. Copious amounts of snow in the high country. A full season at our local ski area. Reservoirs full – but not too full – for the dry months ahead. But winter seemed reluctant to say good-bye. 😦 Fits of rain, snow, and gloom plagued the holiday weekend. Then – in a day – it snapped over to sunshine and heat. 😎

Today was that day of transition, so we went up to Mount Ashland for one last hike in the snow under amazingly convoluted clouds. From the ski area, we hiked out along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), then cut-up to Mount Ashland’s west ridge and enjoyed a walk on perfect spring snow to the summit. From there, it was a plunge step extravaganza down one of the closed ski runs to the parking lot. From our vantage point on the summit, we could see plenty of snow along the Siskiyou Crest to the west, in the Oregon Cascades to the east, and in the Trinity Alps to the south. Trails above 6,000 feet and along north- or east-facing slopes aren’t going to be clear anytime soon. We celebrated our bold summit bid (and our 29th wedding anniversary 😀 ) at Caldera Brewing and (later) at Amuse in Ashland.

Clouds swirl over Grouse Gap
More swirling above the PCT
Clouds over McDonald Peak
Clouds over Mount Ashland’s west ridge
Sun and clouds over Mount Ashland
Marsh marigolds along the PCT
Easy walking on spring snow
Mount McLoughlin mired in clouds
The lookout site (arrow) on Wagner Butte
Contemplating the Siskiyou Crest’s snowpack
On to the summit
The weather radar (NEXRAD) site atop Mount Ashland
Looking east from Mount Ashland toward the thunderheads building over Eastern Oregon
Descending from the summit, under the watchful eye of NEXRAD