The cooler weather has started to reduce the bugs in Indian Heaven Wilderness and with the first frost this area will provide some wonderful hiking opportunity.
There are access trails from all sides into the wilderness, with wide degree of difficulty. For the more challenging access take Lemei, Cultus or Indian Heaven trails; for the easier access take Thomas Lake, Placide Lak or the Crest Trail. Avoid the East Crater trail this year because of the construction and new bridge work.
The holiday weekend is over now and if this year is like normal, most people put away their camping equipment.
Starting on Sept. 9, some of the campgrounds will be closing. Oklahoma, Moss Creek, Goose Lake, Peterson Prairie and Paradise will be closed the week of Sept. 9. Panther Creek and Beaver will remain open for another week or two.
All Forest Service campgrounds will remain open so there are may to choose from if you want to go camping and they will remain open until snowed out.
A really great bike ride for beginners or children is the Trout Creek Hill loops. There are several miles of road system in this area that are all inner connecting loops. These roads are closed to motor vehicles and gated. There is very little use in this area so even on weekends you can have it to yourself. It is a fully timbered area so there is not much for views but the true old growth forest is spectacular.
Huckleberries are in full swing now with berries available in all areas of the district. The lower fields are starting to dry up in the exposed areas but there are still plenty of berries if you check north slopes or shaded areas.
The high fields are spotty this year but Bare Mountain has a good crop and the area off road 6035 looks good.
There should be berry picking well into the middle of September this year unless we get a hard freeze.
Salmon fishing has improved greatly since last week and will be peaking in another 10 days.
Steelhead fishing is still hot and should be good for another two weeks.
Trout fishing is slowed down but there are still plenty of trout to be caught. Goose Lake's water level is dropping fast again this year but it looks better than last year.
There are very few grouse this year -- again -- since we are on the low end of the grouse cycle.
Deer and elk hunter are having a difficult time getting close to animals because of the dry weather. To be successful in the early archery season a person needs to get into the heavy brush in wet areas where the animals are holding up now.
Bulls are not active yet and bugling is probably a couple fo weeks off. Many younger bulls are still in velvet.
It has not been a bad year for yellow jackets or bald faced hornets. This writer has seen very few all summer and not many nests have been reported.
This does not mean they are not out there. To avoid these pests around your camp or at home, there is one simple rule to follow. They are attracted to food, be it fruit or meat. If you have fruit trees make sure you pick up and get rid of any fallen fruit. Keep food stored properly in containers and don't let your trash build up, especially if there are food scraps.
These little pests get very aggressive this time of year so keep an eye out for them.