Dean Stone Trails May 7, 2022

Participants: Carolyn Pardini, Lily and Mariah Haines, Gail & Dell Meuchel, Robin Young, Laurel Vielle, Lee Thornton, Ruth Anderson, Steve Schombel, David & Julie Kahl Though it rained most of the morning, by the time we met at the Pattee Cr. Market at 11:AM it had stopped raining, but streamers of rain and snow kept coming over Blue Mt. all day. We car pooled up to the Sousa Trail Head (4400 ft/1341.12m), on Spanish Peaks Dr. in the Stone Mt. subdivision.  Billed as a wildflower walk, we were checking out flowers only a few hundred yards into the grassy slopes of the lower trail. The trail winds through the grassy area then gets into trees. You cross a private road, and go up to a second road. This road, going east, meets the lookout at the top of the Barmeyer Trail. Or, you can go west on the road, or, up a new section of trail, which rejoins the road trail higher up. We opted for the road as I knew there was a good overlook coming up on it, by a nice jack leg fence, there is private property scattered through the area. This was as far as I had been on this trail, though David had been up to the encircling road at the top. I was stopping to take pictures, and David and I had gotten behind the main group. We could see someone on the maze of switch backs above us, just going up over a ridge. Thinking it was our party and wanting to catch up to them, David and I wandered up the ridge to the road to discover our party was just coming up to join us, we had seen someone else. We stopped and had a lunch break, we were up high enough now that we were catching some of the trails of moisture coming across from Blue Mt., sometimes rain, sometimes snow, and occasional wind gusts. Some of the party were talking about turning back, but wanted to go a ways up the trail to get warmed up before doing so. Every time it looked like we were coming out on the west slope or a west bend corner in the switch backs we hoped for a view point. The ridge ahead, from where we had lunch, looked like a good view point so we all pressed on. Just over the ridge the road ended and it became a new trail only, with lots of short switch backs -actually nothing too strenuous. Everyone started up the switch backs but now we were getting some serious snow or rain. Carolyn and her daughters, Mariah and Lily, decided to turn back, Ruth, who had ridden with them, also went back. We pressed on a few more switch backs and Laural, Lee and Robin turned back. A few more switch backs, we were in trees and viewpoints were getting scarer, we stopped at one and tried to pick out our houses in the lay out of town below us. We could see the signs of the 1978 fire in the vegetation. It was snowing a bit and it was obvious that we would just be getting more of that from across the valley, so we decided to turn back also. It was just a little over 5000 ft/1524m and we had gone not quite 3 miles/4.83k. On the way back down, still in the upper switchbacks, we ran into Paul Jensen and Kim, pushing their bikes up hill. We stopped to talk to them and Gail and Dell got ahead of us and finished going back out on their own. It was just Steve, David and I now, when we got back down to where the other trail -up from the overlook road- came in, we took that route back out. Most of the way out we ran into some of the members of the party that had planned on doing Petty Mt. today. They had waited until noon to see if it would stop raining, and when it didn’t they canceled that trip, but some of them had wanted to do something anyway, so they came our way. Hope they had a nice hike. Flowers we saw: Yellow bells, blue bells, buttercups, shooting stars, prairie stars, parsley, glacier lilies, arrow leaf balsam root, silky phacillia and ball head gillia. Ones we saw just starting to blossom: biscuit root, Wyoming kitten tails, Oregon grape, maybe a first-year alum. Up, but not blossoming yet: lupine, bear grass, and arnicia. Leader: Julie Kahl

At the Sousa trailhead.
A little above the trailhead.
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