[Tweeters] Mt. Pugh White-Tailed Ptarmigans (Snohomish Co)
xjoshx at gmail.com
Mon Sep 9 20:15:41 PDT 2013
About a year ago I posted that my dad had mentioned seeing White-Tailed
Ptarmigans on Mt. Pugh, south of Darrington, two years in a row. Since I
had never seen a Ptarmigan I made it a goal to make it up there this year
in hopes of finding some and we finally got the chance last Monday.
After a very, very long climb we finally encountered a pair of Ptarmigans
literally in the trail and were treated to un-crippling views of the birds.
I saw un-crippling, because after climbing 5000ft my legs felt like a mix
of lead and Jello and these birds were the only thing that could make me
feel able to move again. We eventually needed to push past them to reach
the summit, but they only moved a few feet and didn't even looked alarmed.
We finally reached the 7200ft summit and rare looks at some of seldom seen
sides of the areas larger mountains in the area.
Birds were relatively scarce along the hike, with only the usual suspects
along the first 2/3 of the mountain. American Pipits were the only other
high-altitude species present and they were constant on the last mile and a
half as small flocks flew everywhere around us.
This is a great climb, but I can't recommend it as an easy way to see
Ptarmigan. If the distance and elevation gain weren't enough, the last mile
or so is a precarious scramble with a steep trail over loose rock and a
slip in the wrong spot could cause you to go tumbling over one of many
500ft cliffs. Beautiful views at the top though.
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