Midnight & Yoran Lakes – Diamond Peak Wilderness

Our final October hike brought us to the Diamond Peak Wilderness for our second ever visit. This 52,611 acre wilderness is home to numerous lakes and 8,744′ Diamond Peak. Our plan for this visit was to start at the Trapper Creek Trailhead and take the Yoran Lake Trail to Yoran Lake then head cross-country to the Pacific Crest Trail returning on a loop past Midnight Lake. It was a rainy drive for most of the morning but we arrived at the West Odell lake Access off Highway 58 under clouds that were beginning to break up. Parking for the trail is located across from the Shelter Cove Resort next to some railroad tracks.
DSC07839

DSC07841

DSC07842

The actual trail started on the far side of the tacks and quickly entered the wilderness.
DSC07845

DSC07846

Just a short while after entering the wilderness the trail split. The left fork led to Diamond View Lake and the right to the Yoran Lake Trail.
DSC07847

We took the right hand fork which briefly followed Trapper Creek passing a small waterfall just before crossing the creek on a footbridge.
Small waterfall on Trapper Creek

DSC07853

The trail split again at the Yoran Lake Trail which headed uphill to the left while the path on the right led to Pengra Pass and the PCT. We began the steady climb up to Yoran Lake as a little fog rolled through the forest.
DSC07854

DSC07859

Yoran and Midnight Lakes were only two of several lakes we were going to be visiting on the hike as well as a number of smaller ponds. We came to the first small lake after 3 miles on the Yoran Lake Trail.
Unnamed Lake along the Yoran Lake Trail

DSC07870

In another mile we arrived at Karen Lake.
Karen Lake

On a clearer day we would have had a great view of Diamond Peak but we had to settle for some briefs peeks of the peak.
DSC07887

Just to the NW of Karen Lake we found Yoran Lake at the end of the Yoran Lake Trail. Diamond Peak was again hidden by the clouds, but we had a little better view of Mt. Yoran.
Yoran Lake

DSC07898

Yoran Lake

We made our way around the lake to the northern end where there was a pair of small islands.
DSC07929

DSC07926

We left the lake shore when we passed the second island, crossing a pretty little inlet creek, and headed true north toward the PCT.
DSC07930

At first we were following a faint path but we lost the tread as we passed by a pair of small ponds.
DSC07931

DSC07932

A couple of quick checks of the GPS showed we were on course to arrive at Liles Lake which lies next to the PCT. Our guidebook said to go around the left side of the lake but we arrived closer to the right side. We picked up a trail going around the lake and decided to just follow it around that side.
Lils Lake

DSC07941

It looked like the right side might be difficult to go around earlier in the year when the water level would have been higher but we had no problem following the path and hooking up with the PCT on the north side of the lake. We turned right and started downhill passing some small ponds and passing through some interesting forest.
DSC07950

DSC07953

The next lake we came to was Hidden Lake.
Hidden Lake

We passed several more pretty little ponds between Hidden Lake and the next named lake which was Arrowhead Lake. It was pretty clear why this forest is full of mosquitoes most of July and August with ponds and lakes seemingly everywhere.
DSC07961

DSC07963

DSC07965

We almost passed by Arrowhead Lake waiting for a clear path to it, but when we didn’t find one we made our own. We were glad we did because this lake had some of the prettiest water we had seen that day.
Arrowhead Lake

Continuing down the PCT from Arrowhead Lake we passed a rock that Heather dubbed Gorilla Rock due to it’s interesting shape. She thought it looked like a gorillas head and arm.
Gorrilla Rock - named by Heather

Shortly after passing the rock we spotted movement through the trees further down the trail. I thought we’d seen another person or dog coming up the trail and then we saw a second flash of color which we could tell was an elk. A total of four elk cows had crossed the trail and passed in virtual silence through the forest and over a small ridge. I was snapping pictures every time one appeared through the trees but I never got more than the back half of one.
DSC07978

The final named lake we visited was Midnight Lake.
Midnight Lake

We stopped at one final unnamed lake/pond before arriving at Pengra Pass.
Small lake/pond along the PCT in the Diamond Peak Wilderness

We left the PCT at Pengra Pass and followed an old road right .4 miles where a trail split off from the right hand shoulder.
DSC07997

It was only another .6 miles back to the Yoran Lake Trail and .7 more back to our car. On our way home we made a pit stop at Salt Creek Falls, the previous hike we’d taken in the Diamond Peak Wilderness. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/salt-creek-falls/
Salt Creek Falls

All the lakes were very nice and we are hoping to do some backpacking in the area sometime. Diamond Peak is a non-technical climb and there are trails all the way around the mountain making for numerous possible destinations. More ideas for future trips 🙂 Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157648430549439/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205280662043261.1073741917.1448521051&type=1

Jefferson Park – 2014

The only location we have visited in each of the last three years is Jefferson Park in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. For awhile it looked like that streak might be broken this year, but then Heather accidentally signed up for a 5k race on what was to be our final weekend of hiking in October. We rescheduled our final October hike and I decided to take advantage of the Columbus Day holiday and head to Jefferson Park to keep my streak alive.

We had rotated the trails we used to reach Jefferson Park between the three most popular approaches – The Whitewater Creek Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail from the north, and the South Breitenbush Trail. Since the Whitewater Creek Trail offered the shortest drive and hike I decided to revisit that trail.
DSC07602
It is also the most popular approach but the parking area was nearly empty when I arrived. It was a surprisingly warm morning despite the forecast of snow for the very next day and I was able to leave my hat and gloves in my pack as I set off. I’d dressed for a typically chilly Fall morning and I wound up having to remove my two lower layers before I’d gone a quarter mile, but once I got my clothing situation corrected I was able to set a nice pace as I climbed along the Sentinel Hills.

The trail started off in the trees offering only brief glimpse of the top of Mt. Jefferson. One and a half miles in an unmarked trail joined from the left coming from Triangulation Peak. Another mile from the junction is where the views started unfolding as the trail wound up and around the Sentinel Hills.

The Three Pyramids
DSC07609

Triangulation Peak
DSC07612

Mt. Jefferson
DSC07622

Fall was on display in the wilderness and the forest was full of color.
DSC07624

DSC07630

DSC07637

DSC07641

The trail joined the Pacific Crest Trail at the 4.2 mile mark which I continued North on for another .9 miles to Jefferson Park.
DSC07655

The view of Mt. Jefferson from the park is the main attraction.
DSC07653_stitch

There are many other attractions in the park though including five named lakes, the South Fork Breitenbush River, and wildflower meadows (If you time it right). We had visited all the lakes and the river and seen some of the wildflowers, but we had never headed toward the mountain itself. I decided that was what I was going to do on this visit so I took the first well worn trail leading off to the right from the PCT and headed for Mt. Jefferson.
DSC07661

I wasn’t sure where this trail was going to lead as it climbed through a series of meadows.
DSC07662

Eventually I came to the tree line where a series of rock cairns appeared to lead up a ridge of loose rocks.
DSC07669

I kept going following the cairns as best as I could. As I was climbing I noticed a fellow hiker higher up along the ridge. The view behind was getting better by the minute as the elevation gain was allowing for a great look down at Jefferson Park.
DSC07671_stitch

Soon I could see Mt. St. Helens with a fresh ring of snow on its upper reaches.
DSC07675

The final push to the crest of the ridge was steep and full of loose footing and the wind was whipping up dust devils.
DSC07681

The wind had been fairly strong but it was nothing compared to the gusts that met me as when I finally gained the ridge crest. It nearly knocked me off balance so I got low and found a nice big rock to sit down on. The other hiker was about 30 yards up the ridge doing the same thing. We were at the foot of the Jefferson Park Glacier staring up at the summit of Mt. Jefferson.
DSC07694
DSC07695

Unfortunately the Sun was also almost directly in front of us making pictures difficult in that direction but the view back toward Jefferson Park did not have that same problem. Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier had joined Mt. St. Helens on the horizon and the entirety of Jefferson Park was spread out below.
DSC07688_stitch

Mt. Rainier & Mt. Hood beyond Park Butte
DSC07685

DSC07684

To the northwest I could see Triangulation Peak and Bocca Cave where we had been about a month earlier. https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/triangulation-peak-boca-cave-via-cheat-creek/
DSC07713

It appeared that it would have been possible to continue east up the ridge along the glacier but the wind was blowing too hard to attempt going any further so I began my descent back down into the park. Once I had made it back down into the meadows I turned right on the first good trail I came to thinking I had hit the PCT already. It was still early enough I had decided to head across the park and visit Russell Lake and hoped to return past the other four named lakes. I quickly realized that I wasn’t on the PCT and I had taken one of the use trails that crisscross through the park. I decided to continue along it as it was leading me in the correct direction for the lake through a series of meadows. I even found some aster still in bloom along the way.
DSC07730

DSC07735

DSC07734

DSC07737

DSC07739

DSC07740

I ended up at the SE end of Russell Lake which was perfect since we had not been to this side of the lake on our previous trips.
DSC07744

Again the Sun was in a position to wash out some of the picture but the the view from the lake was as amazing as ever.
DSC07746_stitch

DSC07752

I walked around the north end of the lake and located the PCT which I turned left on and started to head back. Near the South Fork Breitenbush River I was surprised to see a single paintbrush still blooming in the middle of a meadow.
DSC07754

When I reached the South Breitenbush Trail I left the PCT and headed west. As the trail began descending a small hillside toward the river I turned left at a switchback marked with a rock cairn. This trail led to Park Lake.
DSC07759_stitch

Staying to the left of Park Lake I followed the path up to Rock Lake.
DSC07764_stitch

DSC07768_stitch

And then continued on to Bays Lake.
DSC07772_stitch

I took a break at Bays Lake and soaked my feet for a bit before heading to the East and Scout Lake.
DSC07786_stitch

DSC07793

DSC07799_stitch

Just a short distance to the East of Scout Lake I was back on the PCT right where I had left it that morning. It was time to say goodbye to Jefferson Park for another year.
DSC07808_stitch

On the way back down to the trailhead I was finally able to get a few pictures of the mountain without interference from the Sun.
DSC07823

The ridge that I had been on earlier.
DSC07825

The only real bummer of the day was not having Heather there to hike with. This was my first solo hike and I have to say I really missed sharing the experience with her. I found it hard to just stop and enjoy the surroundings as much as we normally would. It was an interesting experience but hopefully not one that happens often. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157648750622555/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205245182556296.1073741916.1448521051&type=1

Marion Lake and Marion Falls

When it was time to say goodbye to Central Oregon we packed up and headed for one final hike. We chose Marion Lake as the destination hoping for some good fall colors along the way. We passed over the crest of the Cascade Mountains returning to the west side and the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The Marion Lake Trail set off through a green forest before entering the wilderness area.
DSC07479

DSC07482

We soon found the fall colors we were looking for as we reached Lake Ann.
DSC07484

DSC07489

Lake Ann

A half mile from Lake Ann we took the Marion Outlet Trail in search of the unmarked side trail to Marion and Gatch Falls.
DSC07496

The side trail was about 200yds from the junction and we followed toward Marion Creek and the falls. Someone had put a sign up indicating a yellow jacket nest along the trail so we bypassed that section rejoining the path a bit beyond an overlook of the falls. The path continued steeply down to the base of Marion Falls.
Marion Falls

DSC07504 Stitch

From Marion Falls it was just a short distance down to a view that included Gatch Falls (which some have argued is really a lower tier of Marion Falls).
Marion & Gatch Falls

After visiting the falls we continued toward Marion Lake. At a junction with the Blue Lake Trail we crossed Marion Creek hoping to get a view of Mt. Jefferson from across Marion Lake.
DSC07530

At the edge of a rock field that was ablaze in Fall colors we followed a path down to the lake shore where there was a nice view of Mt. Jefferson to the North.
DSC07555

DSC07540 Stitch

DSC07539

There was an Osprey circling the lake apparently looking for breakfast.
Osprey over Marion Lake

We then recrossed the lake’s outlet and headed toward Marion Lake’s day use peninsula. As we made our way around the lake Three Fingered Jack came into view.
DSC07558

From the peninsula both Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack were visible but never at the same time.
DSC07569

DSC07565 Stitch

After leaving the peninsula the trail crossed over another rock field with even more colorful leaves and many small birds.
Fall colors along Marion Lake

DSC07581

DSC07584

Looking back we could see the peninsula and Three Fingered Jack.
DSC07587

After leaving the lake shore we came to another trail junction which was unsigned. We turned left to complete the small loop back to the earlier junction just prior to the Marion Falls side trail. There was more rocky hillsides and orange leaves along this portion.
DSC07590

We returned to Lake Ann where we found a good number of ducks floating on the far side of the lake.
DSC07591

DSC07593

From there we finished off the final 1.8 miles of our vacation hiking. It was time to go back and get ready for my Grandmother’s 90th birthday party the next day. Happy Trails (and happy birthday Grandma!)

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157648323073921/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205149523124870.1073741915.1448521051&type=1

Mt. Scott (Crater Lake National Park) & Tipsoo Peak (Mt. Thielsen Wilderness)

After a semi-rest day (Sparks Lake) we headed to Crater Lake National Park for our third visit hoping this time to actually be able to see the lake. In 2012 smoke had made it nearly invisible and earlier this year clouds had completely blocked the view. This time we were not disappointed.

August 2012
371

June 2014
DSC08352

October 2014
Crater Lake in the morning

Our plan was to hike to the former lookout tower on Mt. Scott, the highest point in the park at 8938′ and then head north on Hwy 138 to the Tipsoo Peak Trail and also summit that 8034′ peak. The two hikes combined would be just over 11 miles with a combined 3000′ of elevation gain making them very doable in a single day.

The Mt. Scott Trail sets off along a broad plain at the base of the mountain giving a clear view of the entire peak as well as the lookout tower on it’s northern end.
Mt. Scott

The trail climbs around to the south side of the mountain and then up to the long ridge along Mt. Scotts summit. Not only were the skies clear above Crater Lake but we were able to see mountain peaks from Mt. Shasta in the south to Mt. Jefferson up north along the way. The views started early along the trail and just improved was we climbed.

Mt. Shasta, Mt. McLoughlin, and Union Peak to the south.
DSC07238 Stitch

DSC07249

DSC07234

DSC07327

Crater Lake
DSC07252

DSC07256

Crater Lake from Mt. Scott

Mt. Bailey
DSC07310

Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Peak
DSC07309

The Three Sisters
DSC07323

Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack
DSC07327

While we were traversing the ridge over to the lookout tower we spotted a hawk soaring high above the park.
Hawk soaring over Crater Lake National Park

DSC07288

After checking out the tower we headed back down to the car to start the drive to the Tipsoo Peak Trail. We had to make a couple of stops just to take in the beauty of Crater Lake.
Crater Lake

DSC07401

We left the park and drove up to the Tipsoo Trail where we were surprised to find a much nicer forest than we had expected. Our previous trips in the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness had been through lodgepole pine forests which are not exactly eye candy.
Tipsoo Peak Trailhead

DSC07405

We were also surprised by the number of mushrooms we spotted.
DSC07406

DSC07414

DSC07415

DSC07416

DSC07418

DSC07419

DSC07424

The climb was very gradual making it fairly easy going as we approached the summit. Near the top the trail passed by the edge of pumice filled Howlock Meadows where Howlock Mountain, Mt. Thielsen, and Mt. Bailey were visible.
DSC07432 Stitch

Red cinder covered the top of Tipsoo Peak and the 360 degree view revealed several mountains and lakes.
View from Tipsoo Peak

Red Cone
DSC07468

Howlock Mountain and Mt. Thielsen
DSC07466

Diamond Peak
DSC07444

The Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor
DSC07439

Mt. Bailey and Diamond Lake
DSC07446

Lemolo Lake
DSC07467

Miller Lake
DSC07469

Madieu Lake
DSC07470

Lucille Lake
DSC07471

These were a couple of really nice hikes if you are looking for big views without a long or steep hike. Both hikes were on the shorter end (4.6 & 6.5 miles) and both trails climbed very gradually making them very nice options. The access road for the Tipsoo Peak trail was a bit rough and would probably require a high clearance vehicle though. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157647888703099/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205149429002517.1073741914.1448521051&type=1

Sparks Lake

During our stay in Bend Dominique had his birthday and we planned on spending as much time with him as possible that day so we needed a nice short hike for the morning. We picked the 2.5 mile Ray Atkeson Memorial Loop at Sparks Lake which was only about 30 minutes from where we were staying.
Sparks Lake Trailhead

The weather had cleared up nicely from earlier in the week but that came with a cold front which left the temperature in the upper 20’s as we set off on the trail. The first views of the lake and the South Sister were amazing.
DSC07094

South Sister and Broken Top from Sparks Lake

There weren’t any people to be seen but there were plenty of ducks, geese and herons present.
DSC07110

DSC07120

DSC07092

The trail left the lake shore and passed through a lava flow and the Davis Canyon. A narrow lava slot which was an interesting feature.
DSC07134

Davis Canyon

DSC07143

A short climb on the back side of the loop produced views of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top and the South Sister.
DSC07147

DSC07151

South Sister

After completing the loop we headed down to the boat dock and peninsula to get a closer look at the lake. The sky was blue and the Sun shining but there was still a bit of ice water as the mountains reflected in the still water.
South Sister from Sparks Lake

DSC07198

DSC07182 Stitch

A beautifully cold Central Oregon morning. It’s hard to start a day much better than that and ending with a family dinner celebrating Dominique’s 19th birthday was perfect ending. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157648195609306/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205149230437553.1073741913.1448521051&type=1

Chush Falls and Beyond

Our third hike while in Bend took us back to the Three Sisters Wilderness for a mostly off trail waterfall loop that had been reported on by a member of Portland Hikers in November 2013. The plan was to start at the Chush Falls Trailhead and continue past the falls up Wychus Creek passing two more waterfalls then crossing that creek and Park Creek visiting six more waterfalls on three different creeks before recrossing Wychus Creek and returning to the trail.

We were greeted at the trailhead by some chilly air. We could see parts of the tops of the Three Sisters which were mostly engulfed in clouds. What we could see though showed that a little fresh snow had fallen sometime in the previous couple of days.
DSC06970

South Sister
DSC06972

Frosty ground
DSC06979

The beginning of the trail is on an abandoned road which we followed for about a mile and a half before reaching the former trailhead which was now only marked by a homemade sign.
DSC06985

The 2012 Pole Creek Fire burned through the forest here creating interesting color contrasts where water was present.
DSC06987

DSC06988

DSC06990

A mile from the old trailhead we came to a wide flat area with a Trail Ends Here sign. Beyond the sign the top of Chush Falls was visible.
DSC06991

To the right was a clear path down a steep slope to the base of Chush Falls.
Chush Falls

After returning to the trail ends here sign we picked up another clear trail continuing up Wychus Creek. The second waterfall was just .3 miles up this use trail.

Middle Chush Falls
Middle Chush Falls

We found Upper Chush Falls another .3 miles from the middle falls. This was by far the most interesting of the falls on Wychus Creek. It was also the most difficult to get a good view of because of its location in a rocky bowl and 230′ height.
Upper Chush Falls

Upper Chush Falls

Upper Chush Falls

Upper Chush Falls

My parents, who had started the hike at the same time we had, caught up with us here. They had not spotted the trail down to the base of Chush Falls so we were able to give them that information before we set off cross-country in search of the next fall – Phoenix Falls.

In order to reach Phoenix Falls we needed to be up above Upper Chush Falls and over to the next creek which was East Fork Park Creek. We had unfortunately neglected to bring the maps we had planned on having with us, but we still had our Garmin (and tons of batteries). I had also spent a lot of time pouring over the maps and Google imagery of the area and making notes so we felt fairly confident in the resources we did have. We crossed Wychus Creek below the upper falls and began to skirt around a ridge end in search of a draw that I hopped would be the easiest way up to the plateau above the ridge. We picked our way around the ridge following game trails as best we could until we could see the draw below in between two ridge ends. The draw did indeed look like it would have been a good option but we had crossed the creek and headed around the ridge way above the draw so continued up and around the ridge finally reaching the draw near the edge of the plateau. Travel became much easier once we emerged from the draw. We continued SW toward the location on the creek where we expected to find Phoenix Falls. The South Sister loomed ahead on our right as we went.
DSC07013

We reached the edge of the canyon in which the East Fork Park Creek was flowing and began following it up toward the sound of a waterfall. Soon we could see the falls we were in search of with the added bonus of Broken Top rising over the shoulder of Phoenix Falls.
Phoenix Falls

To the right of Phoenix Falls were the Three Sisters. The 110′ falls roared down into the canyon creating a good amount of wind up on the rim.
Phoenix Falls

Phoenix Falls

Phoenix Falls

From Phoenix Falls we headed back downstream below the confluence of the East & West Forks of Park Creek and crossed what had become Park Creek. We then made our way along the West side of Park Creek to Middle Park Creek Falls. This was the most difficult to get a clear view of due to the angles of the canyon and a couple of downed trees laying between the canyon walls.
Middle Park Creek Falls

Just down the creek was the next fall – Howlaak Falls.
Howlaak Falls

We left Park Creek at Howlaak Falls and headed cross-country again toward yet another creek – South Fork Wychus Creek. The final three falls we hopped to visit were on this creek. We had to traverse along another ridge end to find the creek and this time Heather took the lead picking up a good game trail which wound up leading us almost directly to Columnar Canyon Falls, the first of the three falls we were looking for. A short steep trail led down to a rocky overhang which allowed for a good view of the falls. Not a spot I’d recommend for anyone nervous around heights.
Columnar Canyon Falls

We then began following the creek down a ridge listening for the next fall. We heard Mosaic Falls before we spotted it. In fact getting a decent view of this fall proved to be as frustrating as I had read it was in the earlier trip report. It wasn’t too difficult getting down to the creek below the falls but there was no view of the falls from where you were able to get to the creek.
DSC07062

In order to see the falls I made my way along the edge of the creek shown above. It was slick and full of thorny gooseberry bushes and complicated by a large boulder that was in the way once the falls came into view.
Mosaic Falls

I managed to get around the boulder just enough to get a fairly clear view of the falls but even then the spray from the falls made getting a picture difficult.
Mosaic Falls

I rejoined Heather who had smartly stayed behind and then we headed for our final fall – Shelter Falls. We had to hop back over the ridge away from the creek in order to continue downhill. The ridge at this point was quite narrow though so we were never far from the creek. When we could we angled back toward the creek and were able to find the site of an old shelter.
DSC07064

Just a little further on we found Shelter Falls.
Shelter Falls

Having successfully found all the falls we were looking for (there are others out there) it was time to make our way back to the trail. This proved to be the most difficult part of the hike in terms of route finding. Wychus Creek was close by and the confluence with the South Fork was nearby. We crossed over to Wychus Creek to look for a decent crossing but the opposite side looked too steep to climb. Not wanting to hike back up the creek we headed down stream. Near the South Fork the ground on the opposite side of Wychus Creek leveled out giving us our best option for reaching the trail on the other side. We had managed to stay dry up to this point but now there was no getting around the need to wade across the creek. We found a good crossing where the water was only mid-calf deep and crossed the creek. From there it was a short climb up out of the canyon. We re-found the trail about 10′ from where we popped up over the hillside. It had been a successful hike despite the forgotten maps. We relied on the GPS, my notes, and the research done beforehand which was a good reminder to always be prepared. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157648214455552/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205149155155671.1073741912.1448521051&type=1

Six Lake Trail – Three Sisters Wilderness

Following our attempt at catching the sunrise from Tumalo Peak we took a day off then headed back out to the trails. The weather was still a bit cloudy but it was okay this time because our goal was a series of lakes and not mountain views. We arrived at the trail just as it was becoming light.
Six Lakes Trailhead

DSC06847

Shortly after setting off we entered the Three Sisters Wilderness.
DSC06849

The trail climbed gradually to the first lake which was Blow Lake which we arrived at just as the clouds began turning colors with the rising Sun.
DSC06859
DSC06860
BLow Lake Sunrise

We left Blow Lake and followed the trail another mile and a half to Doris Lake. Along the way we met a couple of the locals and spotted an interesting group of mushrooms.

Frog on a log.
DSC06873

Chipmunk (On a different log.)
DSC06884

Mushrooms
Mushrooms along the trail

Doris Lake
Doris Lake

From Doris Lake we followed the Six Lakes Trail for close to another mile to a trail junction where we then took a short .6 mile side trip to see Senoj Lake.
DSC06894

Senoj Lake

We returned to the Six Lake Trail and continued two more miles to the Pacific Crest Trail. We then took the PCT south for 1.6 miles past several small bodies of water to an unmarked side trail on the left at a small rock pile. We took the side trail which led us to the Cliff Lake Shelter and Cliff Lake, our turnaround point.

Ponds along the trail
DSC06911
DSC06918

Cliff Lake Shelter
DSC06925

DSC06928

Cliff Lake

DSC06945

We left our gear at the shelter and spent some time exploring a rocky bank and enjoying the lake. When we got back to the shelter we noticed that a squirrel, chipmunk, and a golden-mantled squirrel had all taken an interest in our packs. They scurried off when we approached but soon several grey jays came in to check us out.
Grey Jay at the Cliff Lake Shelter

There were also lots of dragon flies and a butterfly flitting about.
DSC06951

We left the shelter and headed back the way we’d come (minus the side trip to Senoj Lake). There had been a slight chance of showers forecast but the weather had been great and the skies increasingly blue. When we arrived back at Doris Lake we went back down to the shore and followed a trail along it for awhile.
DSC06961

Near the end of the hike we even got a mountain view.

Mt. Bachelor
DSC06963

It turned out to be a very pleasant hike. Each lake was unique and trails were were well maintained and never very steep. Our Garmin showed a total distance of 16.7 miles which was a bit more than we’d expected but the ease of the trail made it seem like less. Happy Trails!

flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157647774074649/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205149078033743.1073741911.1448521051&type=1