Silver Star Mountain

Silver Star Mountain

Drive Tougher Than The Hike

Would you believe me if I told you that the drive to the mountain was tougher than the hike itself? Some would say yes, but most would probably assume no. The drive to the trail wasn’t like your typical drive to a trail in the Columbia Gorge or driving to Mount Hood where there’s a paved path and signs on the road that tell you how close you are. This drive started off on smooth pavement that went up and down like one giant wave, but immediately my GPS put me on gravel roads. I had read online on Alltrails.com that the road to the trail was rough and covered with potholes. The gravel road wasn’t mentioned at all so my original thought was that I was going either the wrong way or a completely opposite direction on how you’re actually supposed to get there. Nevertheless, I kept on driving where I started to slowly spiral up a mountain but no signs were present that would notify me if I was actually going the correct way or not. As I kept driving, I finally got to the forest grounds that the reviews online had mentioned. My initial thought before heading out was that it was going to be a little bumpy here and there with some mild potholes, but I was entirely wrong. The dirt road was at a constant incline with hair-pin corners and slippery rocks and dirt from previous rain fall. There were these deep, erratic “trenches” that would pose as a problem if a car’s wheel were to get lodged in between them. They almost looked like veins running through the path with streams of water running through them. It didn’t take too long before I pulled my car off to the side of the narrow road and looked back as to how steep I had actually hillclimbed. Despite having an AWD vehicle, I decided that I would hike from there on out and trust that nothing would happen to me car.

Hiking To The Trail

As I started walking up the steep hill, I had to trust my instincts that the trail was indeed going to be at the top. All I  had to look for was a small, parking lot-like area and I knew I would be in the right place. I finally saw what potholes the reviews were talking about and I was more than glad that I didn’t continue driving. They were about 9 feet long around and were filled with water from the previous day that sure would have posed as a problem for my car. Walking a little bit further, I saw a white truck parked up ahead and was able to see the parking lot where another truck was parked as well. I finally saw trail markers and a directory of the layout of the few trails I could take to get to the peak. So, I journeyed forward onto Ed’s Trail and went on my way.

Peak of Silver Star From a Distance
Peak of Silver Star From a Distance

Meeting A Fellow Hiker

I wasn’t too far into the hike when a hiker about the same age as me came up from behind while I was looking at a breathtaking view. I gave him my regards as he did the same, and he continued hiking on the path. Once I put my camera down, I continued on the same path and eventually caught up to him where I noticed he had a camera out as well. I initiated the conversation and we both got to talking about photography and decided that we would both hike the trail together. He had hiked it before a couple times, so it wasn’t anything new to him.

View of Rock Formations Scattered With Fall Colors
View of Rock Formations Scattered With Fall Colors

 

Can You Spot The Hiker?
Can You Spot The Hiker?

Climate Of Its Own

Further onto the trail we went, I started to notice patches of snow on the ground and even in the distance. I wasn’t aware to how cold it was, because it didn’t feel like it was anything below 45 but I soon discovered that it was more so below 32 degrees when snow started to fall. What started off as a couple of flurries soon turned into actual snow fall that stuck to the ground. The climate had completely changed from a sunny day when driving, to an overcast, to hard snow fall with moderate wind speeds. Our trail gradually turned into a goat path that was narrow, rocky, and slippery.  If you’ve ever played the video game, Skyrim, the path looked identical as to what you would walk on in the game. The snow started to cover the ground which made the journey a little bit tougher but easy to walk through as long as you watched where you stepped.

Beginning Of The Snow Fall
Beginning Of The Snow Fall
Rock Formation That Served as a Natural Frame
Rock Formation That Served as a Natural Frame

Avoiding The Peak

To be fair, we didn’t necessarily avoid. We more so decided that the smarter decision was to not take the path to the peak and to head onto the other path that would take us back to the beginning of the hike. The snow fall had really start to hit and made a huge impact on our hike. We came to the conclusion that there would be no point to hike the rest of the way if there wasn’t going to be a view to see and we needed to make sure we got back in time before it got dark.  On top of that, I had decided to take off my Eddie Bauer button-up hoodie before I made it to the trail (because it felt like a sauna) and had hiked the entirety of the trail shirtless. I didn’t start to actually get cold until we decided to ‘avoid’ the peak and that’s when I had regretted my decision from earlier. My hands went completely numb and I had felt like a complete idiot. Heading back wasn’t all that terrible though. We still got to see some breathtaking views which made up for it.

A Small Forest That The Trail Put Us Through
A Small Forest That The Trail Put Us Through
Behind Us Was The Peak
Behind Us Was The Peak
Sunny Skies Up Ahead
Sunny Skies Up Ahead

Conclusion

The hike itself was definitely more than I bargained for, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. For those who are prepared for it, going in the fall isn’t a bad idea at all especially if there’s a chance of snow. My Olympus was able to handle the snow without me having to worry if it was going to get water damaged. My lens wasn’t weather sealed, but it still held up nicely without a problem.

  • Go in the Fall if you think you’re prepared enough
  • Go in the Spring/Summer if you’d rather not deal with bipolar weather changes
  • I highly advise that people use an AWD or 4×4 vehicle to get there
  • Wear proper gear and come prepared with food and water in case you find yourself hungry
  • Bring a camera! The hike offered amazing views and can serve as great landscape shots as well!

Bonus Images!

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