(Above from Max Warbington's Instagram, trailing Denver Orr through High Cascade Snowboard Camp this week.)
Impressive riding is the norm up on Mt. Hood during the summer, but there has been a different type of stylish flying going on in Oregon this week. Butterflies have once again descended upon the volcano on their route out of the PNW and down to California, but notably much earlier this season. While we have been waiting for an edit with Crazy Town's "Butterfly" in the background (Come come my lady, You're my butterfly, sugar baby), we have now seen enough social media posts to warrant a quick explanation of the butterfly effect on Mt. Hood.
(Butterfly cameo from Brandon Sorel's Instagram.)
According to a Washington State University study monitoring approximately 15,000 butterflies in the Pacific Northwest over the past five years, a large population migrates from the PNW to California in late summer and early fall. The journey averages around 500 miles, with the farthest butterfly found in Tecolote Canyon (California), after traveling over 800 miles south of its launch point. Videos started popping up at the beginning of the week with countless butterflies getting cameos in trick clips as they pass through the lanes at High Cascade Snowboard Camp.
Although the study specifically focused on Monarchs, this early of a migration pattern suggests that the majority of species currently lapping the glacier are California Tortoiseshells, commonly confused with Monarchs. We don’t know that much about butterflies, so we hit up a few of the riders currently up at Mt. Hood to see what they had to say about their fleeting visitors.
Red Gerard: “They are beautiful, but pretty annoying. They are always splatting on your body and lenses.”
Lyon Farrell: “Red and I have been riding as fast as we can with our mouths open hoping to catch one.”
Luke Winkelmann: “These butterflies are getting a little annoying now considering they splat all over your stuff every run. There’s probably millions flying across the glacier right now.”
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