Lush conditions in the Old Ski Bowl.
I was unhappy with the air quality and and some camera issues when I went to Old Ski Bowl yesterday. Heading back up there today, I was pleased to see that the smoke was gone for the most part at higher elevations and I took some test shots to try to figure out some of the problems plaguing my camera yesterday. Things seemed to be working better so I took my three kids up to the small waterfall that cascaded down the west side of the basin. I had dubbed the little cataract “Painted Falls” and returning to the area I thought it was quite appropriate. Aside from the presence of Green Butte, which father-of-the-mountain Ed Stuhl had christened “Painted Butte”, the rocks around the waterfall were countless hues of red and purple as well as grays. Augmented by green trees, pine-mat manzanita and pink heather, it really is a colorful area.
My kids played in the water as I crawled around the waterfall testing out different settings on my camera. It really does seem like things are working better, so hopefully I am getting close to solving the camera issues. This is a great area for kids to play, especially while the small creek is flowing. There are boulders both large and small for them to climb on and the water is always a kid-magnet. They love playing like this and it is nice to be able to turn them loose while I play with my camera and keep an eye on them.
One interesting thing I noted was the aftermath of the thunderstorms that rolled through yesterday afternoon. Driving up to the Old Ski Bowl, there was a lot of mud and debris on the road. This is unfortunate, since the road had just been cleaned off prior to the gate at Bunny Flat being opened. Everywhere I went the ground was wet too. It was obvious that all the normally dry gullies had been suddenly filled with water and fresh logs and such choked some of the gulches. It was also notable how the rain had virtually erased footprints in the sandy areas of the Old Ski Bowl. This is heartening, since it means that tracks that people wear into the mountain are erased fairly swiftly.
Now is definitely the time to head up to treeline at the Old Ski Bowl. Great views, spectacular terrain, abundant wildflowers (especially western pasque flowers) and even the treat of running water make this an idyllic spot right now. I was even surprised at how few people (relatively) there were compared to yesterday. The trails are primed and ready to be enjoyed!