Paintbrush Peak


A relaxed wander through wildflowers to a local peak.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

Last fall, John F and I tried to climb Pearl Peak, which is nearby. This morning, we were able to drive nearly the entire distance that John and I had snowshoed. Note that the seven-mile drive is rough as a cob, and you'll be doing well to do 15mph.

So setting off once again to climb Pearl Peak, I was attracted by the trail to Pearl Lake, which obviously went the wrong direction. But it was a gorgeous morning and the trail just looked so nice....

Miners Peak close-up

From the trail, you can't easily see the ridge above, so I wasn't sure.... but suspected this was NOT our peak. But the trail was nice.....



The trail initially cruises south without much elevation change. Easy weekend cruising. Then it does start to gain a bit. Here's a view of Rain Peak, which we climbed in 2003.

Miners Peak

And then we were at Pearl Lake. Now it was clear that this is NOT Pearl Peak, which is quite a bit further north. Time to change objectives, because this is a handsome peak on its own merit.

So now we were shooting for the ridge/saddle just to its right, which is also the saddle to Marge Lake.

South Fork of the Salmon River

On the saddle, the views became expansive. Nice breeze, too. The breeze is important because this area tends to be a bit buggy. That's Marge Lake under Rain Peak.

Lots of white granite to play on.

Ponderosa forest

We climbed the ridge for a time, then had to bail off to the side to get around a gendarme. To my surprise, the sidehilling was pretty good.

Note: Click the picture for the bigger version to understand the peak name.

But the ridgetop had better breezes and much better views. And the scrambling was fun (for some of us). Snowshoes
If you approach from the south, this ridge, has a ton of false summits. The constantly moving summit was almost funny (for some of us). Nick Peak
After quite a bit of work, we finally got to the summit plateau, which was a real plateau. We were also surprised by snow up here, making this a great place to spend some starry summer night. Nick Peak
The actual summit is a block of granite about 5 feet tall and 1 foot across. I might have climbed up for the photo, but it was overly active with a flying ant party. So standing next to it will have to do. Nick Peak
This summit offers up some wonderful views of fun areas to visit in the McCall mountains. Here is North Loon and South Loon. Nick Peak

This is Tsum Peak towering over the Cly Lakes.

The panorama below offers up a ridge walk extending from near the 20 Mile Lakes over Humdinger to Duck Lake. It would require a shuttle (or a hike back down the trail, making a really long day). Volunteers?

Summit ridge
There was lots more to look at, but the day wasn't getting any longer. Time to head down. The descent looked bad on the map, but we were able to find dirt to walk on most of the way down. Deer
From there, we walked most of the way to the car through meadows filled with flowers. Most... plus some areas of deadfall. Deer

But it was the flowers. Miles of them. Julie said this was the most flowery hike ever. Note the big smile.

Also note: This hike could be done much faster if you don't stop every hundred yards to take pictures of the flowers. ;-)


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