This actually turned into an "after work" hike as I had to go in at 1:00 for awhile. Got to the Meridian Parking Lot about 3:00 and hit the Trail about 20 minutes later. Decided to go Counterclockwise and get the uphill out of the way early and also maybe get some good late afternoon shots on the other side of the mountain.
I tried to do this Hike about a month ago, but almost right away, took the wrong Trail and ended up ultimately doing the Peak 3004 Loop with another unnamed Peak thrown in. So the only part of the Pass Mountain Trail I saw on that Hike was from the Saddle going down to the parking lot.
I actually made fairly good time on the uphill. The Trail is very smooth and it's a very steady climb, but not steep at all, so it actually seemed easy???
After a small break at the top for a snack, kept going and was just amazed at this trail. It was impeccably groomed, hardly any loose rock at all and very well defined. You can really get your butt moving on this thing and the Scenery never got dull. I was smoking along pretty well and refraining from taking too many pictures until I got to the west side of the mountain, where the Scenery was all new to me and the lighting was becoming very nice. Then I started slowing as the Picture Taking increased....
Unfortunately, the pictures that I most needed to get, didn't turn out as it was pretty much late dusk when I had a stare down with a couple of Mule Deer. I almost didn't see them, they were kind of blending in with the darkness at that point, but they were only about 20 yards away and were stopped and staring me down for the longest time. Tried messing with the camera settings, but couldn't get either the Aperture or Shutter Speed right to capture them in the darkness....Pretty soon they wandered off and it was almost dark. I had a light with me, but even though the moon wasn't full, it was right above me and gave me enough light by itself for me to finish the last mile.
There were some Wildflowers on this hike, but it was sporadic and most of the Perennial Flowers were kind of pathetic, not big, and robust like in other areas. Alot of the shrubs are blooming and the Cacti are just starting....I would go for awhile and not see much, then there would be a small hillside of small poppies and lupines. Most of these were on the shaded side of the mountain though and so were closing up shop early.
I am in love with this Trail. It's very Scenic, very easy to hike as far as footing and with the exception of your first uphill at the beginning, mostly level with gentle rolling ups and downs occassionally. If I lived closer, I would make this my workout Trail every day, unfortunately, it's a bit far for me to do that. Trail Runners must love it. Will do this one again....