A few of us decided to make a shuttle hike starting at the Bissell trailhead heading up to Old Baldy, then down Old Baldy to its intersection with the White Iris trail and then back down to 4615 where we took the waiting car back up to the Bissell trailhead.
We decided to go cross country from the Bissell trail over the ridge and down to the un-named lake below Old Baldy. It was pretty easy going, although steep in spots. We ate lunch on the ridge and then headed down to the lake. Partway down the hill, we found this cool cave:
A little bit farther down the hill we came to the lake, which was really kind of pretty:
The lake was still over half frozen over with a fair amount of snow around it:
After hiking around the lake and exploring a bit, we headed back up the hill to Old Baldy. We came up the ridge to the north of Old Baldy and then caught the trail and headed up to what is now a not very bald Old Baldy. We then headed down Old Baldy with the intention of hitting the White Iris trail. There were only a few patches of snow like this on the Old Baldy trail:
Along the way we found a great viewpoint that had a wonderful view of Mt Hood:
A little farther up the trail where the trail heads over the north side of the ridge the snow suddenly got 3-4' deep and we had trouble following the trail. After attempting to follow it for a bit we decided to head downhill to try and find the White Iris trail. We finally found it, along with a lot of snow (probably 2-3 feet at least) at the 4614 road crossing:
After this road crossing, the trail was pretty much snow free the rest of the way down the hill. We were hoping the white iris would be in bloom, but due to all the snow, it had not yet bloomed.
The good news is that someone seems to have adopted the white iris trail. There was evidence of recent cutting and even tread work, and the trail was much less faint than the last time I was on it. I'm really glad, because it is such a beautiful trail, especially when the iris are blooming!
The weather for the day was pretty much perfect - not too hot, not too cold, and good visibility. There is still a LOT of snow hiding in the hills, though!
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