Cyclists hit Rainier for annual RAMROD

If you’re heading to Mount Rainier National Park on Thursday, be forewarned: You will be sharing the roads with bicyclists. About, oh, 800 of them.

That’s how many bicyclists are expected for this year’s RAMROD, short for Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day. Now in its 30th year, the ride, sponsored by the Redmond Cycling Club, begins and ends in Enumclaw.

Riders head to the park on S.R. 706 and enter at the Nisqually entrance, then head up Paradise Road to Stevens Canyon Road, following that to S.R. 123 and taking that up over Cayuse Pass to 410 for the return to Enumclaw.

The park roads remain open to motorists, but those should expect slow traffic along the riding route, since road shoulders are narrow or nonexistent throughout much of the park.

AROUND AND ABOUT

Want to see wildlife without leaving your computer? Hey, check out a webcam! The Forest Service has one checking out sockeye salmon swinning upstream to spawn in Alaska’s Steep Creek on the Tongass National Forest. Just go to Youtube and search for Forest Service salmon watch. Now, if only you could actually catch some sockeye, you’d really be in business.

Just a heads-up for Gifford Pinchot and Mount St. Helens area visitors, a temporary repair to the Swift Creek Bridge at milepost 4.2 on Forest Road 90 is set for today. One lane will be open continuously for most of the repairs, but there will be the occasional 15-minute full closures.

Salmon fishing in Marine Area 2 off Westport is back to seven days a week, after having been open five days a week to keep the catch from reaching the quota too quickly. Anglers in marine areas 1 and 2 may keep two salmon per day, only one of which can be a chinook. Those in areas 3 and 4 can keep two chinook daily.

BIRD ALERT

When the temperatures approach that hundred degree mark, birders either head for the high country or they hunker down close to home to do their birding. So it’s not surprising to be getting reports of short local trips and from residential yards and feeders. A Terrace Heights couple was watching the fighting antics of the rufous hummingbirds at their trumpet vine when they were surprised by a pine siskin that flew into and fed at their thistle feeder. This is quite an unusual summer sighting for us in Terrace Heights. One Yakima resident reported their first visit by an Anna’s hummingbird this week. They’ve had them every year since 2009 but usually not in July.

Birding closer to home provided locals with good looks at some neat birds. The Kiwanis Park osprey nest had four birds in it this week, two adults and two young. This is the second year the ospreys have nested atop a light fixture at the Kiwanis ball fields and one local birder spotted her first peregrine falcon and common nighthawk of the year, along the Popoff Trail.

Those who ventured out in the heat found some early shorebirds in the lower valley. The pond between Granger and Outlook on highway 12 held killdeer, western sandpiper, semi-palmated sandpiper, least sandpipers, lesser yellowlegs and black-necked stilt, while a flooded corn field west of there held killdeer, black-necked stilt, greater yellowlegs, and western sandpiper.

— Kerry K. Turley

ON THE CALENDAR

The Cascadian Trekkers will be the first group to head out from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart, taking off at 7:30 on their way to Mount Rainier’s Crystal Peak (Green Trails Map 270, Mount Rainier) for a 9-mile hike with 3,100 feet of elevation gain. As always, bring lunch and the 13 essentials, and don’t be late.

The second Cascadian group to take off at 8 from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart lot will be the Free Spirits, whose hike at Kelly Butte will be a 4-miler with 1,000 feet of elevation gain and some great views. Again, bring lunch and the 13 essentials.

Riders on Mount Adams Cycling’s weekly 21-mile Naches loop will depart the Suntides Golf Course parking lot at 6 p.m. Road cyclists only need show up, and they’ll need head- and tail-lights, helmets and the ability to maintain a 12- to 15-mph pace.

The Cascadian Pokies will head for the Pleasant Valley Trail for two hikes, split up between trip leaders Jim and Jackie Hertel. Jim will lead a leisurely, two-mile “Pass the Torch” hike, with the objective being to provide participants a better knowledge of such things as tree identification, wildfire history and forest successful. Jackie will lead other hikers on a more ambitious trek. Each group is limited to 12 participants because of the Wilderness “12 heartbeat” rule, so call ahead at 469-4458 to sign up in advance.

The Cascadians will lead a relatively easy 4- to 5-miler in the Mount Rainier National Park, hiking out of the White River campground with a possible side trip up the Moraine Trai and then past the old 1800s-era copper mine. Those planning to drive should bring a Senior or Interagency Pass. The group will head out from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart south lot at 9 a.m.

The Cascadian Trekkers will do another of their “Big Five” hikes, this time to the Kendall Katwalk northeast of Snoqualmie Pass (Green Trails Map 207). The group will head out at 7:30 a.m. from the 40th Avenue Bi-Mart south lot for the hike, an 11-miler with 2,700 feet of elevation gain. Bring lunch, the 13 essentials and plenty of energy.