With the arrival of a strong high pressure ridge and the first day of summer, the time was right to hike the Beech’s Mountain loop. Eight hikers and two dogs climbed Beech’s Mountain via the South Chinese Trail. Beech’s trail follows a series of rock bluffs between fir and hemlock forested sections, with arguably the best views of any trail on the Island, scanning the far distance to the south, west and east at various viewpoints. The dry weather was welcome, since there are several steep sections on rock. After numerous photo stops and a rest at the top, the group continued on a route only, descending the north side and dropping down to an old logging road. After about fifteen minutes on the road, we followed a convoluted route over another series of bluffs which brought us to the North Chinese Mountain trail. From here, it was a straightforward walk down the steep trail to the parking lot. The second half of this loop is not recommended unless hiking with someone who knows the route down the far side of Beech’s Mountain. The Davidson’s penstemons at the top were sadly all but finished blooming, but there was columbine, yarrow, saxiphrage, brodiaea, yellow monkey flower and veronica along the way. Total time was four and a half hours; 6.9 km.
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