Wind Cave Way, 10 June, 2023
Cache Hikers headed for the Beirdneau Ridge above the Wind Cave on a beautiful Saturday morning. Parking was already filling up at the trailhead at 8:25 a.m. Rain the previous night had dampened the trail but left no sloppy mud. The spring was gushing at an impressive rate.
After one mile we left the Wind Cave Trail at a switchback and turned onto an unsigned but distinct trail to the right, the Wind Cave Way Trail. We passed a hiker with trail tools and soon realized he had been working; the entire trail to the ridge was in excellent condition (except for the invasive weeds). In the last few years many rock reinforcements have been added and the tread has been leveled for good footing and drainage.
The vegetation was lush and green, with multitudes of wildflowers, shrubs, grasses, and periodic groves of trees. We identified arrowleaf balsamroot, big-leaf balsamroot, mule-ears, penstemon, waterleaf, death camas, larkspur, false Solomon-seal, stoneseed, yellow violet, bitterbrush, serviceberry, chokecherry, sagebrush, bigtooth maple.
Rest stops provided moments to enjoy wildflowers and the views of snow-capped Logan Peak, Mill Hollow across the canyon, and the Logan River below. Reaching the saddle and a junction with the Beirdneau trail about 11:00 a.m., we took a break then hiked southwest about 15 minutes to an overlook point where we ate lunch surrounded by flowers and spectacle.
Thanks to Jane for the narrative and photos, Dave P and Kathy for photos and Ralph for photos and GPS data, and to the volunteer trail workers for a great trail.