From the ridge below Cow-Pie Summit, 6,051’ above sea level nestles a high mountain meadow. For most of the year, the meadow is cross-country skiing heaven. If the federal government had not designated this land prime wilderness, it would no doubt be covered by snowmobile tracks.
In June, spring thaw is in full fledge, and by the 4th of July, wild flowers have broken through what snow remains. By late July, the meadow is a stunning array of color: Bright Purple Fireweed, Wild Iris, Marsh Marigold, Scarlet Paintbrush, Silver Lupine, Wild Chamomile, and Fairy Trumpet sway in the usually gentle, breeze.
For generations, summer hikers have stopped to rest and admire the Meadow’s beauty. Drawnby the beautiful flowers, many hikers step into the meadow to pick a bouquet, but retreat as soon as their hiking boots sink into gushy, black mud that is the soil of the wild-flower garden. Others, determined to pick flowers, walk further into the meadow, their boots pulling like suction cups until they find themselves suddenly knee deep. But when they try to escape, the knee-deep mud sucks their leg in deeper. Pulled out with the help of fellow hikers, these people rest exhausted, barely noticing the slimy brown leeches that cover their legs.
These are the lucky hikers.
Some solo hikers have never returned from Cow-Pie Summit meadow. A few locales believe that the lost hikers probably sunk to a slow and agonizing death in quicksand interspersed throughout the meadow.
“It’s deep enough to swallow a mature bull elk,” Zeak Godfrey said lifting his coffee toward Jan Butler for a refill.
“I seen a mature bull elk struggle to get out of one of them holes,” Crazy Jake reported. “Why not a person?”
Though most folk don’t take much stock in such silly notions, most agree that what lies unseen below is deadly.