PCT North of Carson
This spring I've made a couple of trips to the area north of Carson, Washington above the Columbia River Gorge, and begun exploring the southern parts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. In a series of out and back hikes I've covered the span from the road near Sedum Point to Forest Road 68 above Panther Creek and some spurs and other trails around. In a little more than a mile, the Bunker Hill trail climbs 1200 feet up some switchbacks to its top with some views out over the area. In the opposite direction from the Whistle Punk Trailhead I found a Pileated Woodpecker demolishing a snag near Trout Creek. A herd of Elk was grazing in the grass along the PCT heading towards bunker hill, disappearing into the woods when they saw me.
There's a great viewpoint in looking down at Trout Creek on a cliff above. Once I was above 2400 feet the snow covered the trail a few feet deep with a good slope, without any evidence of anyone having been up there in a while. I climbed to the road that leads to Sedum Point but decided that post-holing in warming snow there was slow, annoying going, and headed back, saving that viewpoint for another time. Heading north on the PCT from Warren Gap, I crossed Panther Creek and followed an old road to go investigate Gobblers Knob, a 2221 ft point overlooking Stub Creek and Panther Creek. That turned out to be a wooded viewless, occasional boring camp spot, so I kept on Road 68 until I came back to the PCT to return down. Trillium and lady slippers are out blooming along the way now.
Under the PCT bridge crossing Wind River, a pair of American Dippers has taken up residence and shows off their fishing skills. Watching them dive into the river and bob and float with the current is one of my favorite birding experiences. I was also able to notice the membrane that they have covering their eyes when they blink, which makes their eyes look white when closed.