Last August we enjoyed a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to Big Red Mountain as a brief respite from the smoke and excessive heat then plaguing the valley floor. Today found us once again on a hike to Big Red trying to beat excessive heat, which had arrived some weeks earlier this year. Despite Big Red Mountain’s 7,064-foot elevation and an early start, we could feel the heat right from the trailhead at Siskiyou Gap. Fortunately, it’s a scenic, but short, hike, so we were done with it before the heat got really oppressive. The winter of 2017 had been wet and snowy and had put enough moisture in the soil to support thick fields of white Beargrass along the trail for our hike that year. This year we found only dry stalks – either this winter had been too dry or we were too early for the blooms. But a cute family of ground squirrels and some colorful butterflies stepped-up in place of the absent Beargrass to fill our Nature quota for this hike. We were also fortunate to have blue, cloud-enhanced skies on the hike out, as opposed to the milky overcast we labored under on the way back. Overall, an excellent short hike – one well worth doing at different times of the year (when Forest Road 20 is open).