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March to the Moonscape Atop Black Crater

Peak Summited2021 Black Crater
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadBlack Crater Trailhead off the McKenzie Hwy.
EncounteredWildflowers blooming
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a group
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

The day was beautiful and we started the hike at about 7:40 a.m.  Seven of us, members of the Central Oregon PNW Hiking group, made our way up through the burn.  The gray curlicued stick formations made for excellent arm bangles. The unexpected delight of the trip was the massive display of wildflowers — including purple lupine everywhere, Washington lilies, mariposa lilies, penstemon, old man's beard, fireweed, Indian paintbrush and oodles of Columbine adorning the trail on either side as we hit our stride in the switchbacks before the trail opened up to the final cindered stretch– the closest thing to a moonscape that I'll ever tread upon!  Once atop, we took photos, snacked and chatted.  Before descending, we climbed the final rocky outcropping; I think of this section as the “horn to the other world” and once at the top, I gave a shout out to my dear friend, Joan, who passed away two weeks ago.  It was a fitting tribute to a woman who loved the mountains and dedicated her life to being a surveyor in the backcountry.

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