Ethan, Karen, & I headed off to Whiskey Dick Mtn & Chinaman's Hat on this sunny, mild day. Chinaman's Hat is a conical peak at the west end of Whiskey Dick Mtn. Ever since I had a read a WTA report from there I had wanted to go, and when Karen told me that it had been calling to her for quite some time, we decided to try it. We started from the Wildhorse Wind Farm Visitor Center and took the Solar Trail up Whiskey Dick Mtn to the solar array and then continued on along the top of the mountain and over to Chinaman's Hat. On the summit we found an rusty old tin with a notebook and trinkets inside - probably a geocache. We stayed our usual hour or so soaking up the sun and the views before heading back the way we had come. There were still some small snow fields to cross and much of the trail along the top of the mountain was quite muddy. Going and coming we saw a group of 4 deer. We also saw a lot more wildflowers than I expected. The Umtanum Desert Parsley (a rare local endemic) was profuse. Not far behind was Cusion Phlox, which was more purple than I have usually seen it. There was also quite a bit of Dagger Pod and Large-fruited Desert Parsley along with Rock Lupine about to bloom and Hedgehog Cactus, mostly without buds yet. There was some Hooker's Balsamroot, but it was pretty worse for the wear from the cold. If it stays warm, there should be quite a flower show up here in a couple of weeks. We didn't see any other hikers, though there were quite a few others at the visitor center when we returned. There were beautiful 360 degree views for the entire hike.
Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area - Ridgeline Solar Trail, Whiskey Dick Mountain West Peak — Saturday, Apr. 23, 2022