The wildflower season is gaining speed in the lush meadows that ring Mount Ashland. From now through August, there will be changing displays of flowers of different heights, sizes, and colors. The bumblebees will be particularly active in August, as would, in a “normal” year, numerous PCT thru-hikers (but probably not this year 😦 ). We started from where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses the Mount Ashland Ski Road about two miles short of the ski area and hiked the PCT west to Grouse Gap and back. This is an easy six miles (with no appreciable gain) through patches of forest and swaths of meadows, with occasional views of Mount Shasta. A Lazuli Bunting and a Western Tanager made colorful cameo appearances, as did a doe with two spotted fawns and a nest of noisy baby woodpeckers. But this venture was about flowers and, by focusing on them, we stretched what’s usually a three-hour hike into a four-plus hour one. This was easy to do on a day that offered clear, sunny, and cool hiking weather. 🙂 We had the trail to ourselves going out but “distance-passed” more than a few hikers on the way back.