Summer day trips: Mt. St. Helens and Horsethief Butte

A few weeks ago Jacob, Matthew and I drove up to Mount St. Helens for a hike and some exploring.

The harsh paintbrush was looking fantastic, even better combined with the mountain or a caterpillar.

We hiked part of the Boundary Trail toward Harry's Ridge from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.  We noticed a couple of ants with a tiny caterpillar but could not decide if they were working together or fighting over it.

The wildflowers were looking good along the trail.

Rosy pussytoes (Antennaria rosea)

A few people werestopped at one spot looking at something down in the distance which turned out to be two black bears.  My first ones at Mount St. Helens and Matthew's first ones in the wild. 

Birding was mild but we did hear then see a couple of Common Nighthawks and later barely heard a booming Sooty Grouse.

After our hike we drove down to Coldwater Lake because I had never been there.

We walked around some of the short trails, marveling at the tent caterpillars that were all over.

More from Lincoln City.

As we chip away at all the work that needs to be done on the new house we try to fit in some time for exploring the new area.  Last month we did our first hike in the area through Grassy Knoll Open Space to God's Thumb, a point that offers excellent views.

The trail was lovely with wildflowers and bird songs for company.

Iris tenax, I assume

Corn lily (Veratrum californicum)

Birds along the trail included Swainson's Thrushes, Wilson's Warblers, Pacific-slope Flycatchers, Band-tailed Pigeons, and a Hairy Woodpecker.

The Hairy had a sweet view 

View of Lincoln City and Devils Lake to the south

After weaving back in and out of forest we found our first views of God's Thumb.

That rock in the water on the left is smothered with cormorants and murres.

Once at the top of the thumb Jacob noticed a few gray whales were hanging out just left of that rock.

Now that's a nice 5MR bird!  All around the thumb were wildflowers including the very showy Hairy-stemmed checker-mallow (Sid…