Betsy and I spent a couple chilly nights on the north side of Mt Adams in early July 2019. It was overcast each morning and very chilly, but eventually it burned off and the afternoons were cool but pleasant. We did short backpacking mileage each day and then nice dayhikes from camp each afternoon. The cool temps meant that we had some interesting cloud formations on this trip.
We hiked up the Killen Creek trail and had some nice wildflower outbreaks. Here is a field of avalanche lilies
The trail had a number of reroutes since the last time I hiked it a few years ago. Here is the old eroded section, filled in with sticks to slow the fast moving water
And here is the new reroute. I think the old 3.1 miles for this trail is now closer to 3.5 miles up to the PCT
The north face of Mt Adams is a unique profile
After setting up camp behind an unnamed pond a quarter mile west of the Killen/PCT junction, we went for a hike up to High Camp. But rather than using the standard trail, we found a cross-country route over towards Adams Creek. We just looked on the map, the GPS, and with our eyes in front of us, and chose a spot to head up. Mostly it was grass hillsides, but at one point we came over a rise and found the most intense patch of indian paintbrush that I think I've ever seen.
As we continued up, we went past this pond on the western slopes below High Camp
Finally we got there and the skies had mostly cleared for us - alpine tundra at about 7000 feet
Looking the other direction (north) we saw the other part of High Camp and many dozens of miles distant, Mt. Rainier was partially in the clouds
That evening as the sun set, cloud layers and both low and higher levels made for quite the scene
The next morning it was completely socked in and in the low 40s, but patches of blue started showing pretty early and by 9am, Mt Adams was mostly clear
That day we hiked east on the PCT, past Killen Creek, and turned right on the Highline Trail to gain a little more. After 5 miles we set up camp at the treeline and the edge of the Muddy Fork debris basin, with some clouds lingering on the mountain
That afternoon we set off on the Highline Trail for 2 3/4 miles up to Devils Garden at 7700 feet. You have to cross two forks of Muddy Creek. The second and upper one is usually a challenging rock hop or wade, but this early in the season, it was easier
Just before Devils Garden we saw two mountain goats. They weren't moving very fast. When we stopped, they stopped and laid down in the snow.
The lowland suckers were still pretty much socked in that day at mid-afternoon, but we could see Rainier above the clouds
Up above, Adams dominated over the tundra fields of Devils Garden
This was the earliest in the year by far that I have ever been up here and the wildflowers were the best I had seen
Here is a place you wouldn't want to cross the creek
The next morning we awoke to completely gray skies and temps in the upper 30ss. It's July, should be warmer than this. We headed down the Muddy Meadows trail and while the views of Adams from the meadows are usually great, today we had to make do with the amazing lupine displays