[Tweeters] Mt. Adams trip and thoughts of Patrick Sullivan
khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 25 16:23:34 PDT 2007
This weekend, my partner and I had a nice trip to the Mt. Adams Wilderness
area. The days were clear and sunny with a hint of an autumn breeze.
Variegated leaves from the huckleberries vibrantly blazoned the meadows with
pleasing colors. The evening was lit with a full moon and bright stars
casting wonderful shadows of the coniferous trees around our campsite.
Mornings were in the low 30s with icicles forming near the mossy and rocky
We started from the Cold Springs Campground and made the gradual ascent to
explore the southeast side of the impressive mountain for white tailed
ptarmigans. However, as soon as I got above treeline, the hopes of finding
the alpine grouse became discouraging. It was extremely dried and devoid of
lush vegetations and prominent streams.
After hiking and clambering for more than 2 miles above treeline on scree
and unmarked trails, I simply ran out of energy. However, it was simply
exhilarating to be up that high and the thought of having a nice, cold
daiquiri triggered my mind.
We were short of another 2 miles to ideal ptarmigan habitat near Sunrise
Camp where several climbers had reported seeing them. Looking at the
detailed map, this one of the few areas above treeline of Mount Adams where
there is any form of vegetation for the birds to feed and survive. I will
be better prepared for next year as this hike requires a lot of effort.
For all our hard work and efforts, we were rewarded with several WHITE
WINGED CROSSBILLS of immatures and adults near the Crooked Creek area.
Other birds include a female PINE GROSBEAK at 6500 ft elevation.
Otherwise, birding was mediocre with several flocks of evening grosbeaks,
pine siskins, red crossbills, water pipits, golden crowned and fox sparrows.
Raptors included one dark MERLIN, several accipiters, and red tailed
hawks. We flushed one female sooty grouse on the way out.
It was a great weekend but I was truly saddened and shocked to discover the
news of Patricks death upon my return.
Patrick was always an inspiration to me. He was a highly skilled and
talented birder who was always helpful but humble. I was very lucky to bird
with him on a couple of occasions. We enjoyed each other companies as we
are both the same age, started birding at a young age, and are somewhat shy
in a large group setting.
On the last occasion near Winthrop, WA, Patrick and I both bushwhacked
through open fields of juniper and thick grass to watch a male dusky grouse
display. It was a very special moment for Patrick, Ruth and I. We all
attentively watched the grouse perform his spectacular display for quite
awhile. I knew from this experience, his reaction and passion for birds was
more than getting a check mark on a bird list.
It was Patrick's unmatched enthusiasm, passion, and sense of adventure
towards birding that inspired and triggered me to have a strong interest in
birding Washington this past year. His detailed and colorful postings always
piqued my interests.
I cannot think of anyone who can match his amazing, uncanny birding ability
throughout my 25 years of birding.
I hope many Tweeters will continue that spirit of being giving, kind, and
generous to others. I know I will always feel that spirit wherever I bird
because of his profound influence and how much it has enriched my life and
I will greatly miss him and send my love and prayers to Ruth.
Khanh Tran (Portland, Oregon)
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