A few people we’ve met while hiking in the Carson pass area have recommended the Thunder Mountain hike, so we decide to try the loop variation of it. This is a definitely a more developed area with campgrounds, roads, and the Kirkwood ski area, but we’re won over by the views and interesting cobblestone rock formations.
The pine cones (knobcones maybe?) must be tasty – we see a lot of cores around but only one with a few seeds left.
We see snow plants with huge fruits.
Big California red firs tower over us. They don’t drop many cones, but you can’t miss them when you see one. Eventually the trees open up enough for us to see the cobblestone cliffs towering above us.
Horsemint and arnica are a couple of flowers that make an appearance.
As we climb higher, one bit of trail is still snow covered.
And finally we’re treated to the strange formations and big views on the summit.