Cooper Spur.

On Friday my friend and I hiked up the Timberline Trail from the Cloud Cap Trailhead on Mount Hood to Cooper Spur.  Bird diversity was low (10 whole species) but the scenery and other bits of nature made it a great hike.

It was a bit like hiking uphill on a beach, but instead of sand the trail was all volcanic ash.   My first Oregon marmot made for a good distraction:

Yellow-bellied, I assume, based on range.

 Mountain Bluebird, appreciating the view of the desert to the east

 White lupine!

Cooper Spur Shelter

We stopped to eat lunch by some large boulders that were home to a most pathetic beggar.

See him?

Golden-mantled ground-squirrel says "give me your bread crumbs!"

 Farther up the trail we came across a Horned Lark family with two speckly young birds.

Anyone know what this is?

There are good views of Eliot Glacier from a little side trail:

And downslope from the glacier:

We ended up running out of time to get to the top of Cooper Spur but the hike was still an awesome one.  On the way down we ran into another marmot...

A woman asked what we were looking at and when I pointed out the marmot she called her arguing family over to see.  They quit arguing and started exclaiming how big it was, and oh look it's going over there, and so on.  Marmot saves the day!

Explorer's gentian

We were most of the way back down the trail when a baby bird started peeping loudly.  It took awhile to realize the bird was right in front of us, chest high on a branch.

The yellow on the wings made me think siskin, but it was too big with that big honkin bill.  The bill also rules out solitaire.  Gray Jay?  Clark's Nutcracker?  Any other ideas?   This is at 6000-ish feet

It was a fun hike and sooo nice to be somewhere that actually required a sweatshirt!  Good times!!


  1. Pretty up there. I love those marmots. I thought that bird looked jay-like too. What a little muppet. We were debating whether to head to the mountains or the coast to escape this heat. The coast won our though :)

    1. The current status of the baby bird is that it's either a Varied Thrush or a Western Tanager.

  2. Awesome hike Jen...I want to be there too! I don't recognize your unknown flower it has a different shaped center for sure...maybe that baby is a clarks nutcracker...the white may be yellow as he is so fresh outtta the nest. and yesterday while trying to take care of business in our capitol city my van stalled 4 times Grrrr!! So Im back to trying to get answers today.

    1. Oh man, car trouble never ends, hope you find some answers soon!

  3. Huh. AZ Horned Larks hang out in like dry ponds beds and sagebrush habitat, plus the agr. fields. It's strange to see them on a mountainside.

    1. Yeah. Ours hang out in ag fields too, and in sagebrush, and on the sand by the river, and the empty parking lot next to the airport, and of course, on tops of mountains.


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