Cinder Cone is an old volcanic plug or basalt plug. Originally John named it Cinder Cone, but there is no ash just gravel-like pieces of basalt lava. So it’s a misnomer, but it is fondly referred to as Cinder Cone. It was a favourite area for mountain bikers who rode their bikes from town up the East China Creek Road to about kilometre 5 then took a right on a road that led to the top. The last part of the road was always a challenge to some because it of it steepness. Once the view was admired they headed down a steep trail on the other side.
It was this steep trail, that we were looking for on Saturday but somehow managed to miss it. We meandered through a Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir forest and encountered numerous sighting of the Clark’s Nutcrackers who seem to favour this type of trees. We also sighted a Pleated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, an immature Golden Eagle, Red-breasted Nuthatch, the usual chickadees, and heard either Gold-crowned or Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The woods was alive with the “sound of birds”. Unfortunately, John was the only person who knew anything about bird identification; unless he saw them, he found it hard to identify them by song.
The hike was quite pleasant with glorious sunshine whilst the rest of the valleys were still covered in mist. The one aspect that marred the hike was all the dead fall that we had to step over. Eventually, we came across the trail coming down from the top and we were able to follow it and were justly rewarded with magnificent views in all directions; the valley bottoms were just coming out of the mist. We did a quick trip to the pond which was virtually dry and not of much interest. We decided to walk back to the car following the East China Creek Road and thus avoiding all the deadfall.
The total hike took 3 hours with a stop at the top for an early lunch.