Sunday, August 13, 2023

Timber-South Fork Baker Loop Hike

It was Saturday morning, and I wanted to get in an early hike. I woke with my husband at 5 am and got moving and out the door by about 5:30 am. That had me heading up the hill to Great Basin National Park as the sun came up, and I couldn't resist pulling over to the side of the road and enjoying these spectacular sunflowers at sunrise.

Then I continued to the park entrance and had to pull over again! Obviously, this wasn't going to be a quick hike with my draw to picture-taking. So join me on this journey of one of my favorite trails in the Park, about 5 miles long and 1,500 feet elevation gain and loss.

Before I even reached the trailhead, I had another stop, to let some deer cross the road. A mom and two fawns (one pictured here) went by me.

Then it was time to hike. Five other vehicles were at the trailhead, but I didn't see anyone else. I started up the Timber Creek trail at a comfortable pace. I hadn't noticed these arrows on these trees before, but obviously they've been there awhile. 

The flower assemblage is different now than earlier in the year. In addition to paintbrush, there are lots of buckwheats blooming in yellows, pinks, and whites.

Here's some redroot buckwheat (Eriogonum racemosum) with a bee on it.

I really like the trail when it gets a little higher and flatter! The Timber Creek trail is relatively steep for quite a bit of its length.

The silvery lupine decorated parts of the trail, and at the higher elevations there are limber pines, white fir, and Douglas fir.

As I popped out into the high meadow, the light shone on Pyramid Peak in the distance. A splotch of sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum) caught my eye and I moved over to get a photo.

I really love this meadow, so decided to get a selfie.

And then I got to the sign and realized I could put my phone on it and put on the 10 second timer and get some views with scale. Here's looking north.

And south.

And east.

And west.

A bumble bee on my sock. After hanging out in the meadow for a bit, it was time for the lovely walk down South Fork Baker.

The trail is in great shape.

I couldn't resist a photo of these lupine with a background of aspen.

Spotted coralroot

Shaggy Scalycap (I think, guess is based on iNaturalist)

Weidemeyer's Admiral butterfly on yarrow

A greater frittillary

The mountain mahogany has its "hellfeathers" right now. The seeds are great for getting into the back of your shirt and causing some discomfort.

I've seen a lot of these Police Car moths this summer.

I snacked on these currants. Yum!

Columbian monkshood near the trailhead.

Prairie mallow, also near the trailhead.

My lovely hike was over (with only three other people on the trail!). But the good stuff kept coming, including three bucks next to the road. This mule deer enjoyed the serviceberry for breakfast.

I could do that loop many more times this summer if I just had a little more free time. It is such a great way to spend a few hours, and going early in the morning meant that the temperatures were wonderful.

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