Silverstar 2019 – Rugby’s Trip Report

Or

How I Almost Became Known as “Silvie”Rugby Logo

Today, I had one of the biggest adventures of my life.

It started off like most hiking days.

I double checked I had my 10 Bear Essentials and made sure Carolyn had her macro lens. We loaded it all into the Big Red Truck and headed down the street, where we stood in line for cinnamon rolls. While the first part of the drive was all highway, there were 10 miles of really bad, high clearance 4WD dirt before we got to the trail head. It was turbulent (I decided it would be a good idea to stay seated, my seat back in the upright position and seatbelt securely fastened). The Big Red Truck did great (until the check engine light came on, but that’s a different story. This is about me, not the truck).

Silverstar Mountain, Ed’s Trail

We started up Ed’s trail to the top of Silverstar. This is my favorite way up, since the trail is above tree line and follows the ridge much of the way. (I actually met Ed 12 years ago, but that is a bicycle story because he’d gotten too old for hiking).

Wildflower Meadows!

I immediately saw so many wildflowers.

  • Whites of bear grass, valerian, avalanche lilies and service berry (and, in the shadier spots, there were still trillium!)
  • golden yellow lupine, wall flower and violets
  • orange-red columbine
  • red paintbrush, pink phlox, hot pink rock penstemon
  • blue lupine,
  • purple violets and the other penstemon whose name I can’t remember

I enjoyed the rainbow of the meadow while listening to the melodies of birds, pikas, bees and wind. It was great.

A Five Volcano Day

The sky was a bit hazy, making photos of the mountains a little challenging. But we saw Rainier, Helens, Adams, Hood and Jefferson. It was warmer than we’d expected (it’s often pretty cold up there!) but there was a nice breeze.

Snack Time
Phlox

I like phlox, even though it’s a pretty common plant. I stopped here for a snack.

Half way up, I started to get hungry. We stopped at a rocky outcropping and I began rooting around for the snacks. I overheard Dixon talking about nuisance bears — the ones that frequent trailheads and campgrounds and end up getting tranquillized and re-located. I decided to only have a nibble or two and not eat all of the chocolate.

Summit!

We got to the top, took a bunch of photos, enjoyed the view, and had a snack. On the way back, we took the Silverstar Trail, making our route a loop. I was heating up from sun. So was really happy when we came across a pile of snow. I love seeing snow on a warm day in June. I dove in and rolled around in it. I created a few snow angels. Ate some more chocolates. I worked really hard to make a huge snow ball to throw at Dixon and looked up. My target was missing. They were gone

Lost

Lost BearI was alone on the trail. They’ll figure it out, I thought.

They’ll come back for me. I assured myself.

I waited.

I waited for what felt like a really long time.

But they didn’t.

A big group came by and they noticed me and gave me a bite of their sandwich. They suggested I get out of the snow, so I did. And then they kept on going down the trail.

I waited. I was wondering how long I’d be stuck there when I saw three hikers on their way up. Two guys and a gal. Maybe they would help me.

Rescued

Omar is a nice guy. Though he tickled my ear a little bit.

I hopped in to Omar’s pack, happy to be heading back up to the top.

They were really worried about me and decided that they just couldn’t leave me on the trail. One of the guys offered me a lift, and without thinking twice, I jumped in to his back pack. I liked that they were heading up the mountain because I was eager to see the top again.

Summit II.

We got to the summit and I got even more photos of myself. They were interested in me, asking a lot of questions. I felt important. They made sure I had more snacks and water and they even promised me a pint of beer at the bottom. Only a small part of me was wondering what happened back there with Carolyn and DIxon because I was having a great time. Little did I know the stress those two were going through while I enjoyed the attention of this new group.

They gave me a new name, Silvie, short for Silverstar. Kind of like how Rugby is short for Rugenbrau. And they had a wonderful idea of hiring me to be the mascot for a running club. That sounded interesting! Feeling special and delighted to have new adventures ahead with Billie Jo and friends. I headed back down the mountain. Not far from the top, I heard a familiar voice.

Rescued. Again.

“Have any of you seen a bear?”

While some of the nearby hikers looked alarmed at the idea of a bear in the area, my three buddies knew immediately that the red-faced, gray haired, anxious looking hiker was asking about me. They smiled broadly, glad to know that I was back where I belonged. As much as I was interested in the job offer, I already had a place to call home.

Worried Humans

I said my good byes to Billie Jo, Omar and the other guy. I gave Carolyn a hug. A few hundred yards down the trail I saw Dixon waiting for us in the shade. He looked hot. And grumpy. Uhhoh. I was in trouble. Serious trouble. I gave him a hug, too. He seemed relieved to to see me, but it was clear they’d both just high-tailed it back up the mountain, nearly doubling their mileage in the heat of the day in order to find me. They both looked hot and stressed out. I could tell that while I was meeting new friends, thinking about different adventures, eating snacks and getting pints of beer lined up, they were worried something bad had happened to me. Carolyn and I sat down next to Dixon in the shade for some water and a snack. Neither of them said much. I stayed mum, too.

More Pretty Meadows and Views

We walked back to the car, enjoying the butterflies and views of the Cascade volcanoes. I was envious they got to enjoy this a second time, but decided it was best not to mention that.

After taking off our packs and swapping in to more comfortable shoes, we jumped in to the Big Red Truck and noticed that while it started up just fine, the check engine light was now flashing. We stopped at the Lewis River and enjoyed the cool clear water. The big cedars made a lovely shade. My paws got cold while I looked for fish. There was a rock that looked just like one of the  water carved rocks just upstream of Blossom bar on the Rogue River. We made it home safely after a short stop at Ridgefield where we took some photos of eagles, red winged blackbirds and other critters using really big lenses. Dixon and Carolyn seemed less frustrated with me. I started to relax a bit, but knew I needed to be on best behavior.

After dinner and seeing my friends back home, I have to admit I was glad to be back, chasing the rabbits out of the garden, and hanging out with my family.

Bear Lessons

Here’s what I learned.

  • Don’t get lost. If I do, stay put. Heading back up to the top, even if it was with a fun group of runners, wasn’t the right thing to do. I really made Carolyn and Dixon worried.
  • Don’t ever forget home. Carolyn and Dixon care about me. I should never doubt that. And the others in my life, Rugenbear, Fezzik, Willis and the rest, would have been really sad if I’d not come home.
  • Trust in good people. But if something does happen, and I’m no longer with Carolyn and Dixon, there are really nice people out there. Billie Jo, Omar and the other guy, for example. Someone will find me and good things will happen. There are worse things than being known as Silvie!

2 Comments on “Silverstar 2019 – Rugby’s Trip Report

  1. Great hike, great company, great story. Glad your a safe!

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