Yesterday I decided to wake up at a ridiculous hour and drive up to Mount St. Helens to do my first proper hike on the mountain. Well. I had actually planned a short improper hike for flowers, but it turned proper when I ended up at the top of Harry's Ridge, four miles from the Johnston Ridge parking lot.
My first stop was one of many viewpoints on the road to Johnston Ridge.
Varied Thrushes were calling, bats were swooping out of the sky, and a creature unseen was rustling around in the bushes. Perfect.
I began my hike on the Boundary Trail at 5:30 a.m. in the company of nighthawks and Willow Flycatchers.
The flowers were spectacular as I had hoped, though this was definitely a case of quantity over diversity.
Around 6:30 I heard a coyote give a quick howl and a bark so I stopped to scan for it. I never located the source, but he or she erupted in full blown howls with coyotes in several directions responding. It was lovely.
The coyotes quit howling after awhile and I began…