Cascade Head Rainforest Trail – 9/28/2019

With the weather forecast for the Cascades calling for a mix of snow and rain we decided to dial up another coastal hike where a chance of showers was a bit more appealing. While hiking in a little snow can be a lot of fun the snow/rain combo is much less so. We decided it might be a good time to check out the Rainforest Trail at Cascade Head.

Earlier this year we had hiked to the meadows on Cascade Head (post) hoping for some nice views and flowers but spent most of the time in the fog with a little rain thrown in. We thought we might be in for more of the same when we did a final weather check before leaving in the morning and saw that the 40% chance of showers/mostly sunny forecast had been replaced by a 90% chance of showers decreasing to 40% later in the day. At least this time there weren’t going to be any viewpoints and rain almost seemed fitting since we would be on the Rainforest Trail.

We arrived at the Cascade Head Trail – South Trailhead a little too early and had to sit for about 20 minutes waiting for enough light to start hiking. We’d driven through a few showers through the coastal range but there was no precipitation falling as we set off on the Rainforest Trail, which is also part of the official route of the Oregon Coast Trail.
IMG_0058

The trail set off uphill following an old logging road that was crowded with vegetation.
IMG_0062

IMG_0063

The trail was a little muddy and slick in spots but given the recent rain we’d had it wasn’t as muddy as we had expected. It also wasn’t nearly as cloudy as we’d expected with a few breaks visible to the west.
IMG_0072

IMG_0074

IMG_0075

There are no real viewpoints and no trail junctions over the first 3.5 miles, just the rain forest which transitioned to a more open forest with some mature trees toward the latter end. The most obvious marker along the way was a boardwalk over the headwaters of Calkins Creek approximately 2.7 miles from the trailhead.
IMG_0080

IMG_0078Ferns on a tree trunk.

IMG_0081

IMG_0085Lichen overhanging the trail.

IMG_0091

IMG_0092

IMG_0096

IMG_0097The boardwalk

IMG_0099Nursery stump

IMG_0111Spider finishing its morning web.

IMG_0112

About 3.7 miles (and 1200′) from the trailhead we arrived at Forest Road 1861.
IMG_0115

Up until 2008 the trail continued 2.4 miles on the far side of this road and descended to Highway 101 near Neskowin (post) but storm damage that year prompted the Forest Service to abandon that section forcing Oregon Coast Trail hikers to follow FR 1861 1.2 miles to Highway 101 and follow its shoulder into Neskowin. In March of this year volunteers from Trail Keepers of Oregon (TKO) began work to reopen the abandoned trail. We had heard that completion of the repairs should take place by 2020 so we thought we would check on the progress.

Pink flagging marked a path on the far side of the road so we began following it.
IMG_0116

IMG_0117There is a flag in there.

This path led us to a junction at an old sign near the road.
IMG_0119

A better path was coming up from the road here. (If we had turned right on FR 1861 for a short distance we’d have found it.)
IMG_0120

We weren’t sure how far we’d be able to go and kept our eyes out for an sign of closure but we found the trail to be in good shape. Flagging was present in many areas and the time and effort of the TKO trail crews was evident.
IMG_0122

IMG_0123

IMG_0133Flagging along the trail.

IMG_0136

IMG_0137Elk had obviously been on the trail recently.

IMG_0138Fern covered hillside.

There was a brief break in the trees along the way which gave us a view of Cascade Head’s high point.
IMG_0147

There were also some impressive fungi along the section.
IMG_0140

IMG_0141

IMG_0149

IMG_0151

A mile and a half from FR 1861 the trail began a steeper descent via some switchbacks as it approached Fall Creek. There was evidence of quite a bit of tree fall in the area.
IMG_0153

Near the bottom of the switchbacks we spotted a TKO crew.
IMG_0155

They were a bit surprised to see actual hikers since the trail hadn’t officially been reopened (they said we were more than welcome there though). They indicated that the final .7 miles of trail was still pretty rough as they had done work on that section yet. We thanked them for their hard work and let them know that the upper section that they had worked on was probably in better shape than parts of the trail that hadn’t been abandoned. We turned around and headed back up to FR 1861 and then dropped back down to our car enjoying the forest along the way.
IMG_0165

IMG_0167

IMG_0169

IMG_0171

We never did have a shower pass over and actually wound up under a mostly sunny sky after all. The 10.4 mile hike gained approximately 2000′ total but most of that was gradual. It was an enjoyable hike even though there wasn’t much in the way of viewpoints or other “features”. It was also fun to see the trail crew doing their thing. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Cascade Head Rainforest Trail

Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground (Mt. Rainier National Park) – 9/21/2019

We spent most of the Summer doing day hikes from home so that we could be back in time to give our elderly cats their daily medicines which put a limit on how far away we could go, but we had purchased tickets to the Seattle Seahawks/New Orleans Saints game prior to Buddy getting ill so my parents graciously took over for a day. We took the opportunity to drive up the day before the game and stop for a hike in Mt. Rainier National Park.

This would be our second visit to the park having hiked the Northern Loop on a 4-day backpack in 2015 (post). For this visit we were looking for something on the SW side of the mountain that would be a good late Summer/early Fall hike. A little research led us to Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground from Longmire.

We arrived at Longmire just after 8am and prepared to set off on the Trail of Shadows.
IMG_9580

IMG_9579

Our trail was located across the park entrance road from the National Park Inn.
IMG_9587

Also across the road was the shear cliffs of Rampart Ridge and the snow capped summit of Mt. Rainier.
IMG_9589

We were excited to see the mountain as it had been raining for several days and more rain was forecast for the next few, but a partly sunny forecast had at least given us some hope.
IMG_9590

The Trail of Shadows is a .7 mile interpretative loop around Longmire Meadow. We followed this trail clockwise for a quarter mile where we arrived at a junction with the Rampart Ridge Trail.
IMG_9592

IMG_9599

IMG_9601

IMG_9602

IMG_9604

We turned left on the Rampart Ridge Trail which promptly began climbing via a series of switchbacks to the top of the ridge. The trail climbed through an old growth forest with lots of mushrooms this time of year and a bit of fall color showing on the maples.
IMG_9606

IMG_9607

IMG_9609

IMG_9611

IMG_9613

IMG_9618

IMG_9619

IMG_9623

The trail gained the ridge after a little under 1.5 miles and began to follow it to the NE. One and three quarters of a mile from the junction we forked right to a signed viewpoint overlooking Longmire.
IMG_9627

IMG_9629

IMG_9632

The position of the Sun wasn’t ideal, even with some clouds around, but Eagle Peak was also visible (albeit through some trees) rising above Longmire.
IMG_9628

Less then a quarter mile from the viewpoint we came to a turn where the trail began to descend, but before we started down we followed a short path to a rocky viewpoint where we got a better look at Mt. Rainier.
IMG_9687

IMG_9673_stitch

IMG_9684

Mt. Rainier was the main attraction but to the NW behind the clouds was another interesting and colorful peak, Mt. Wow.
IMG_9690

We spent quite a while at the viewpoint before starting down on the Rampart Ridge Trail which we found turned back toward the mountain and provided another spectacular view.
IMG_9692

IMG_9694

We were soon back in the mushroom filled forest grateful for having gotten such a nice view of the mountain already. We figured if the clouds moved in, at least we’d gotten to see that .
IMG_9706

IMG_9702

IMG_9707

After 2.9 miles on the Rampart Ridge Trail we came to a signed junction with the Wonderland Trail.
IMG_9709

Here we turned left following the pointer for Indian Henry’s (Hunting Ground)
IMG_9710

We had gained over 1400′ climbing up to Rampart Ridge and now we began to lose 400 of those feet as the Wonderland Trail dropped to Kautz Creek in 3/4 of a mile. Mushrooms remained a main theme of the hike as we descended through more green forest.
IMG_9713

IMG_9712

IMG_9714

IMG_9719

As we neared Kautz Creek the mountain once again came into view.
IMG_9722

IMG_9723

We dropped into the washed out canyon of Kautz Creek where, you guessed it, there were some more interesting mushrooms amid the rubble.
IMG_9725

IMG_9731Satuick Mountain

IMG_9730

IMG_9734

The crossing of Kautz Creek was fairly easy as far as glacier fed streams go. The creek was split into three channels which were small enough to rock hop across dry footed.
IMG_9735First crossing

IMG_9736Second crossing

IMG_9737The third channel was the largest but still relatively small.

IMG_9740Mt. Rainier from the far side of Kautz Creek.

The trail then reentered the forest and shortly arrived at Pyramid Camp.
IMG_9743

IMG_9745

IMG_9746Yet another big mushroom.

IMG_9748

After a brief stint in the trees we emerged at another washed out creek bed. According to the map this was Pearl Creek (which later becomes Pyramid Creek after merging with a couple of other streams).
IMG_9749

This creek would have been a little trickier to cross had it not been for the presence of a pair of footbridges.
IMG_9750

IMG_9753

IMG_9755

After crossing the creek we popped back into the forest and almost immediately came to a clear spring.
IMG_9758

Beyond the spring the trail began to climb steeply gaining over 400′ in a half mile before becoming a bit more gradual as it traversed up the hillside crossing a few creek beds along the way.
IMG_9760

IMG_9763There were quite a few coral fungi present as well.

IMG_9766Fishers Hornpipe Creek

IMG_9769The mushrooms in the back had exploded.

IMG_9770

IMG_9773

IMG_9774A few red huckleberries left to eat.

IMG_9776

IMG_9778

Approximately one and three quarters of a mile from the Pearl Creek crossing we arrived at Devil’s Dream Creek.
IMG_9787

This creek flowed through a narrow slot canyon that looked (and sounded) really interesting.
IMG_9789

Although the trail briefly climbed uphill along side the canyon there were no views to speak of save one look down to the water below. From that spot it sounded like there was some sort of waterfall just upstream but there was no angle available to see anything so we settled for more colorful mushrooms.
IMG_9790

IMG_9792

A half mile after crossing Devil’s Dream Creek we did spot a waterfall downhill to the right of the trail just before arriving at Devil’s Dream Camp. A path led down to the creek here. There wasn’t a lot of water flowing but it looked like it might be a pretty good waterfall when there was more flow.
IMG_9796

IMG_9798

After the side trip we passed through the 8-site Devil’s Dream Camp.
IMG_9802

IMG_9803

IMG_9804Bear pole

IMG_9805

It was uphill through the camp but not longer after passing the group site the trail leveled out a bit and entered the first meadow as we neared Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground.
IMG_9806

IMG_9807

A larger meadow followed with a view of Mt. Rainier hiding behind Iron Mountain.
IMG_9819

IMG_9811

IMG_9825Gentians

IMG_9826Mushrooms in the meadow.

IMG_9827

IMG_9828Gray jay in the huckleberries.

A quarter mile from the camp we arrived at Squaw Lake.
IMG_9832Iron Mountain from the lake.

We crossed Devil’s Dream Creek again as we passed around the lake.
IMG_9834

I don’t know where the actual boundary of the hunting ground is but beyond Squaw Lake the meadows kept opening up more as we neared a backcountry patrol cabin.
IMG_9836

IMG_9839

IMG_9840

IMG_9850

IMG_9853Western pasque flower

Finally Mt. Rainier came back into view.
IMG_9855_stitch

IMG_9866_stitch

We spotted the patrol cabin approximately 8 miles (according to my GPS) into the hike. The cabin was set back in some trees overlooking the meadow with Mt. Rainier in the background. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque setting.
IMG_9870

IMG_9871

IMG_9874_stitch

IMG_9879

IMG_9880

We had been playing leap frog with another pair of day hikers who had planned on turning back at the cabin. We had also considered that given the distance and elevation gain to get there, but the mountain was so visible we decided to push on to Mirror Lakes which was just under a mile away. From a junction with the Kautz Creek Trail near the cabin we followed a pointer for the Mirror Lakes Trail .3 miles down the Wonderland Trail.
IMG_9877

The Wonderland Trail lost a little elevation before arriving at the Mirror Lakes Trail junction. Views of Mt. Rainier were plentiful along the .3 mile stretch.
IMG_9895

IMG_9898

IMG_9899

We turned onto the Mirror Lakes Trail which was pretty wet in spots from the recent rains, as were the meadows alongside the trail.
IMG_9905

IMG_9907

IMG_9908

IMG_9909

IMG_9910

There were a number of frogs in the meadow and they seemed to be enjoying the extra water.
IMG_9914

IMG_9964

IMG_9968

IMG_9975

IMG_9976

IMG_9977

Most of the flowers were long since past but a few stragglers were hanging on.
IMG_9919Paintbrush

IMG_9920Butterfly on the remains of an aster.

IMG_9926Gentians

While the Summer flowers were mostly gone the nearby hillsides were heralding the arrival of Fall.
IMG_9928

We were glad that we’d decided to go on even before reaching the Mirror Lakes as the trail just kept getting us closer views of Mt. Rainier.
IMG_9930

IMG_9931Pyramid Peak to the right.

IMG_9935

The best was yet to come though. The largest (and first) of the little lakes that make up the Mirror Lakes had a perfect reflection of the still mostly cloud free mountain.
IMG_9936

IMG_9938

IMG_9941

IMG_9946

We lingered for awhile studying the mountains various features.
IMG_9951

IMG_9956

IMG_9959

IMG_9957

IMG_9955

IMG_9960

IMG_9952

IMG_9953

We would have loved to have stuck around longer but we still had a long hike back to Longmire and a 2 hour drive to our motel so we pulled ourselves away and started back. In the time it took to reach the patrol cabin the clouds had increased noticably.
IMG_9978

The shift in the clouds did reveal more of Emerald Ridge to the north which had some interesting features.
IMG_9980

IMG_9981

IMG_9982

We returned the way we’d come until arriving at the Wonderland Trail/Rampart Ridge Trail junction. This portion of the hike saw us spotting additional mushrooms that we hadn’t noticed earlier and a few more frogs, including one at the spring near Pearl Creek.
IMG_9984

IMG_9987This guy was tiny.

IMG_9986

IMG_9991

IMG_9995Frog on a rock at the spring.

IMG_9993

IMG_0005

The clouds had really moved in by the time we were crossing Kautz Creek and Mt. Rainier was gone.
IMG_0007

From the Wonderland/Rampart Ridge junction we stayed straight on the Wonderland Trail which, in addtion to being new trail, was at least a mile shorter route back to Longmire.
IMG_0020

The trail lost elevation pretty quickly and was fairly steep in places. The mushroom theme continued here as well.
IMG_0028

IMG_0022

IMG_0026

IMG_0034

The trail did level out some as it passed below Rampart Ridges cliffs and over a swale on a boardwalk.
IMG_0038

IMG_0042

We crossed the Paradise Road and soon after turned at a pointer for Longmire.
IMG_0044Looking back across the road.

IMG_0046

Our feet were sore and our knees tired but the 16.4 miles had been more than worth it. As we were loading up the car a gentleman asked if we would give him a ride out of the park. He had been on the Wonderland Trail but after 5 days of rain everything was wet and he hadn’t been able to cook some of his food so he was living to fight another day. His car was at Mowhich Lake though so we gave him a lift to Ashford and dropped him off at a motel/restaurant there before heading toward Seattle.

It was a great start to the weekend, if only Seattle’s play had been half as impressive as Mt. Rainier was maybe they could have pulled out a win. Ah well, we will take a beautiful hike over a single W any time. Happy Trails! (and GO Hawks!)

Flickr: Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground

The Twins and Bobby Lake – 9/14/2019

The weather was once again looking promising for the last hike of our mini-vacation so we headed up to Waldo Lake to visit a viewpoint atop The Twins with a side trip to Bobby Lake thrown in. This wasn’t the first time that we had planned on doing the hike The Twins, but the elements hadn’t played nice and we’d changed plans every time before.

We took Highway 58 from Eugene to the Waldo Lake (Forest Road 5897) and followed it for just over 6 miles to the Twin Peaks Trailhead
IMG_9249

We set off on the trail which gradually climbed through a fairly open forest of lodgepole pine and mountain hemlock.
IMG_9251

We quickly (less than a tenth of a mile from the trailhead) passed our return route, a connector trail with a pointer for Gold Lake.
IMG_9252

We stuck to The Twins Trail and in another mile and a half reached a four way junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. A variety of mushrooms could be seen along the trail.
IMG_9255

IMG_9257

IMG_9259

IMG_9263

IMG_9264

IMG_9265

IMG_9266PCT junction.

We continued straight across the PCT climbing steeply at first before becoming more gradual. Here the trail passed through an open forest of mountain hemlock with a couple of ponds and many rock outcrops. It was the type of forest that called for exploration and we both felt like we could have set up camp in the area and stayed relaxed for days.
IMG_9270

IMG_9272More cool mushrooms.

IMG_9273

IMG_9277First pond

IMG_9278Looking down on the first pond.

IMG_9280Liked the pattern on this shroom.

IMG_9282A smaller pond.

IMG_9283

IMG_9289

IMG_9291Found a few blooming bleeding heart.

We reached another junction 1.2 miles from the PCT at a sign for Charlton Lake.
IMG_9293

IMG_9295

This would also be a return trail for us as part of a short loop including the summits of The Twins.

The trail steepened beyond the junction and eventually headed straight up the cinder covered rim around The Twins crater.
IMG_9298

IMG_9300

Over our shoulder a nice view to the south was unfolding including Maiden and Diamond Peaks, Mt. Thielsen and Mt. Bailey and even Mt. Scott in Crater Lake National Park.
IMG_9306

IMG_9307Diamond Peak on the right and Mt. Bailey (post) on the left.

IMG_9326Mt. Scott (post) on the left and Mt. Thielsen (post) behind Howlock Mountain.

IMG_9322Maiden Peak (post) in the center.

IMG_9338Close up of Diamond Peak

As we followed the rim north Waldo Lake could be seen below to the west.
IMG_9329

IMG_9331Waldo Mountain Lookout (post) on the far side of Waldo Lake.

At the north summit the view north was spectacular stretching all the way to Mt. Jefferson.
IMG_9371_stitch

IMG_9368Rigdon Butte (post) along Waldo Lake

IMG_9362Mt. Jefferson (with Three Fingered Jack in front), Mt. Washington, and The Husband

IMG_9346The Three Sisters

IMG_9347Broken Top

IMG_9350Mt. Bachelor

The Sun was still to the east making that view a little bright and there seemed to be some smoke over the LaPine area but Newberry Crater and Paulina Peak were visible above the smoke with a low water Wickiup Reservoir in the foreground.
IMG_9380

To the SE Davis Lake was visible in front of Davis Mountain and Hammer ButteIMG_9458

To the south the taller southern summit blocked some of the view.
IMG_9356

As we started down the trail a saddle between the two summits we spotted a marmot.
IMG_9388

IMG_9400The marmot on a rock ledge with Crane Prairie Reservoir in the background.

IMG_9399

The saddle was forested complete with green grass.
IMG_9401

IMG_9403

The trail forked on the far side of the saddle where a faint path traversed the hillside below the south summit.
IMG_9407

The other fork headed 200′ up to second summit.
IMG_9408

The view north was still great from this summit and Waldo Lake was still visible by looking west across the cinder cones crater.
IMG_9410

IMG_9438

Here though the view to the south was back.
IMG_9413_stitchThat’s Bobby Lake below Maiden Peak.

IMG_9452Mt. Yoran near Diamond Peak

IMG_9459Gold Lake

IMG_9462Fuji Mountain (post)

Llao Rock was visible over the right shoulder of Mt. Thielsen from this angle.
IMG_9456The closest rocky peak to the right of the photo is Cowhorn Mountain (post)

We had planned on going back down the way we’d come up and taking the trail around the summit, but from the summit we noticed another user path heading down the back side and meeting up with the loop trail at another saddle.
IMG_9463

It didn’t look too steep so we decided to try it out. As we started down we quickly realized that it was quite a bitter steeper than it had seemed but we were able to get down without too much trouble. Lower on the hillside we came across a number of elk tracks.
IMG_9465

IMG_9471

IMG_9472

We turned right onto the trail when we reached the saddle where there was a bit of a view of the Three Sisters and Broken Top.
IMG_9473

IMG_9475

We completed the 2 mile loop and arrived back at The Twins Trail at the Charlton Lake sign and turned left to head back down to the PCT where we turned left again following the point for Bobby Lake.
IMG_9486

We followed the PCT south for 2.5 miles, losing a little elevation along the way and passing a pair of small lakes/ponds just before arriving at a 4-way junction.
IMG_9488

IMG_9494Tiny PCT frog.

IMG_9510

IMG_9513One of the unnamed lakes.

IMG_9516Trail sign at the 4-way junction.

We turned left and dropped down to Bobby Lake which we reached in just over a quarter mile, but not before being looked over by some grey jays.
IMG_9518

IMG_9526

A short distance along the lake shore to the right was a large rock feature.
IMG_9531Maiden Peak above the lake.

IMG_9534

We made our way over to the rocks and took a nice break where we had some company.
IMG_9545_stitch

IMG_9550The Twins

IMG_9555One of several butterflies.

20190914_114501_HDR

20190914_114650

After the break we returned to the PCT junction and continued straight on the Bobby Lake Trail toward Waldo Lake Road.
IMG_9562

Of particular interest to us was a post located about 100 feet from the junction marking the end of the Eugene to Crest Trail. We had done some of that route earlier in the year during our Bunchgrass Ridge hike (post)

IMG_9563

IMG_9566

We followed the Bobby Lake Trail for a little over one and three quarters of a mile before turning right at a point for The Twins Trail.
IMG_9569

IMG_9571Nordic trail sign high on the tree.

A fairly level but not at all straight mile walk back to The Twins Trail followed as did a chance encounter with a toad.
IMG_9575

IMG_9572

We didn’t see too many people during the hike but we found the trailhead parking area full, counting at least 10 cars plus ours (we had been the only car when we started). The hike came in at 12.1 miles and gained upwards of 2100′ of elevation gain making it a good workout but well worth the effort. Happy Trails!

Flickr: The Twins and Bobby Lake

Henry Haag Lake – 9/13/2019

A cloudy forecast with a chance for showers and a weekday off during the school year provided the perfect combination to visit Henry Haag Lake. The man made lake is located in the eastern foothills of the Coastal Range near Forest Grove and would be our 92nd featured hike from Sullivan’s Oregon Coast & Coast Range guidebook. The lake tends to be crowded during the summer and on weekends from Spring to Fall. Additionally the trail around the lake reportedly gets very slick and muddy during the wet seasons so a mid-September visit seemed like a good time to minimize encountering those conditions.

After paying the $7 day use fee for Scoggins Valley Park we drove across Scoggins Dam and parked at the Elks Picnic Area Trailhead.
IMG_8991

There are several trailheads around the lake but we chose this one due to it being close to the park entrance and giving us an opportunity to start with the walk across the dam which we preferred to get out of the way early.

It was an overcast morning but it was free of precipitation as we began our dam walk.
IMG_8997

It turned out to be a fairly entertaining half mile as we were treated to several bird sightings including at least one osprey diving for fish, a kingfisher noisily flying around, and a great blue heron standing on the rocks.
IMG_8998

IMG_9000The osprey flying over the water (All my zoomed in tries were super blurry.)

IMG_9004The kingfisher (also fairly blurry)

IMG_8996The heron

We had been following a path on the opposite side of the guardrail from the road but had to step over it to go around a fence at the end of the dam to reach a trail marked by a post.
IMG_9017

The trail around Haag Lake is broken up by several road walks and parking lot crossings, but when it was trail it was often surrounded by nice forest. For example beyond the dam the trail spent just over a tenth of a mile in the forest before popping out on a road to a boat ramp and the Dam Overlook.
IMG_9019

IMG_9020

IMG_9021

IMG_9023

The trail resumed at another post (the signage was very good all the way around the lake as long you ignore all the unmarked side trails down to the lake shore.
IMG_9024

For the next 1.2 miles the trail stayed in the forest before arriving at the Eagle Point Recreation Area.
IMG_9026

IMG_9028

IMG_9030

IMG_9032One of the side trails heading down to the left to the lake.

IMG_9036

IMG_9039

The cloud cover was breaking already breaking up as we arrived at Eagle Point.
IMG_9040

IMG_9041

After passing by an alien snag we once again entered the forest.
IMG_9043

IMG_9044

The trail bowed out and around an arm of the lake. It took a little over two miles to hike around this arm.
IMG_9048

IMG_9054

In the middle of the stretch was a brief stint on Scoggins Valley Road where a sign for Cedar Grove marked an abandoned section of trail.
IMG_9058

The current trail was a few hundred feet further along the road.
IMG_9059

IMG_9060

IMG_9061

IMG_9063

IMG_9064Scrub jay

IMG_9066

IMG_9070

IMG_9073

IMG_9081

This pattern was repeated four more times over the next 7 miles around arms at Tanner, Wall, Scoggins, and Sain Creeks. The scenery changed consistently with signs of former farmland amid the creeks and stretches of forest.
IMG_9086

IMG_9089

IMG_9092Spider in the forest.

IMG_9100Starting around the Tanner Creek arm.

IMG_9103An egret and a heron.

IMG_9113

IMG_9116Apples

IMG_9118

IMG_9124

IMG_9131Deer across Scoggins Valley Road

IMG_9133

IMG_9142

IMG_9149

IMG_9153Canada geese

IMG_9156

IMG_9159

IMG_9162

IMG_9163Herons and geese at Wall Creek.

IMG_9167Road walk over Scoggins Creek.

IMG_9168Scoggins Creek

IMG_9173Scoggins Creek

IMG_9175

IMG_9185

IMG_9187Coming up to the fishing pier and Recreation Area C.

IMG_9191Pacific University building.

IMG_9195Sain Creek Recreation Area

IMG_9207

IMG_9212Sain Creek

IMG_9214

After rounding the Sain Creek arm we entered the “dangerous” disc golf course.
IMG_9215

IMG_9217

IMG_9218One of the disc golf holes.

IMG_9224Poison oak

After passing a grassy hillside the trail entered the nicest section of forest of the day.
IMG_9225

IMG_9233

IMG_9235

About a quarter mile from the Elks Picnic Area and our car we passed the Rainbow View parking area where we had one more good look at Henry Haag Lake before finishing with a road walk back to our car.
IMG_9243

IMG_9244

IMG_9245Geese and seagulls on an island.

Road walks are always hard on the feet so when we were finally done with what our GPS said was a 14 mile loop ours were really sore. The hard pavement hadn’t been the only hard surface as the trail was often also very hard. The clay that can be so slick and muddy when wet also gets very hard and packed when it’s dry. Despite the sore feet (and what seemed like unending uphill climbs, although it was only about 500′ of total elevation gain) it did turn out to be a great time for the hike. We didn’t run into anyone else using the trail all day. There were a number of folks fishing, boating and hanging out at the parking areas but that was it. With the numerous parking areas it would be easy to break this up into shorter hikes over several trips.

Happy Trails!

Monon Lake-Ruddy Hill Loop – 9/12/2019

A series of wet storms passed through Oregon just in time for an extended weekend of hiking. With a sunny forecast for Thursday we headed back up to the Olallie Lake Scenic Area to check off another one of Sullivan’s featured hikes (Monon Lake) and to revisit Ruddy Hill since our first time up this peak was viewless (post). With the addition of Ruddy Hill to the Monon Lake hike we used Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mt. Jefferson Region” for additional inspiration and came up with our own hike mashup.

In addition to Monon Lake and the view from Ruddy Hill we also wanted to see Timber and Horseshoe Lakes for the first time. Our plan was to start our hike at Monon Lake and do a clockwise loop with side trips up Ruddy Hill and to Timber Lake. This meant driving past the Olallie Lake Resort on the infamous Skyline Road to the northern Monon Lake Trailhead. The road was passable in our Outback and the recent rains helped clearly identify the numerous potholes along the way.
IMG_8671

There was a nearly immediate view across part of the lake to Olallie Butte which we had recently climbed (post).
IMG_8673

The trail began to curve around the northern end of the lake passing through a section of forest before reaching some boardwalks and bridges in a meadow between Monon Lake and a smaller unnamed lake to the north.
IMG_8676

IMG_8680

IMG_8681Fading gentians

IMG_8677A few gentians still holding their blue color.

IMG_8683Olallie Butte and the unnamed lake.

There were plenty of views across Monon Lake as the trail entered a fire scar. More and more of Mt. Jefferson was revealed as we continued east.
IMG_8684The tip of Mt. Jefferson sticking up above the high point on the ridge.

IMG_8687More of the mountain (Ruddy Hill is the round butte to the right.)

IMG_8689Dusting of new snow on Mt. Jefferson

IMG_8692Duck on the lake.

IMG_8697A little more of Mt. Jefferson showing.

The trail climbed atop a small rocky hill above the lake which happened to be where a trial junction was hidden.
IMG_8704View from atop the rocks.

The Monon Lake Trail continues to the right around the lake while the Mon-Olallie Trail forked left for .3 miles to the Olallie Lake Trail. We completely missed the Monon Trail and the small rock cairn marking the junction.
IMG_8970The small rock cairn coming from the opposite direction on the Monon Lake Trail later in the day.

Having missed the junction where we had planned to go right we wound up on the Mon-Olallie Trail which passed Mangriff Lake on the left.
IMG_8705

IMG_8707

Just beyond Mangriff Lake was Nep-te-pa Lake on the right.
IMG_8708

Nep-te-pa Lake

By the time we realized that we had missed our junction we were nearing Olallie Lake so we decided that we would just do our loop in the opposite direction of what we had planned. The Mon-Olallie Trail ended at an obvious and signed junction near Olallie Lake.
IMG_8712

IMG_8713

We turned right and after a nice view of the lake entered a stand of green trees.
IMG_8717

IMG_8718

Approximately .4 miles from the Mon-Olallie Trail junction we arrived at another junction with the Long Lake Trail at the border of the Warm Springs Reservation. Unlike the trail up Olallie Butte this trail was clearly marked as closed to the public.
IMG_8719

We continued around Olallie Lake passing numerous spectacular views of Mt. Jefferson.
IMG_8726_stitch

IMG_8724

IMG_8734Mergansers

IMG_8744

IMG_8745

Three quarters of a mile from the Long Lake Trail junction we came Paul Dennis Campground.
IMG_8748

A brief road walk brought us to the Olallie Lake Resort where we followed a trail between the lake and some cabins.
IMG_8750

IMG_8749

IMG_8753

The views of Mt. Jefferson from the resort were great and we stopped at the dock and the picnic area for photos.
IMG_8754

IMG_8755

We passed through the picnic area and popped onto Skyline Road where we turned left for three tenths of a mile to the Red Lake Trail.
IMG_8758

IMG_8759

We had come down this trail to visit Olallie Lake during our previous Ruddy Hill hike. That had been a 17.9 mile day so we had skipped the side trail to Timber Lake. After a .7 mile gradual climb past several small ponds we arrived at the junction with the Timber Lake Trail.
IMG_8761

IMG_8762

IMG_8763

IMG_8767

IMG_8768

We turned down this trail and followed it .6 mostly level miles (there were two short but steep climbs over ridges) to Timber Lake.
IMG_8774

IMG_8777

We followed a path along the northern shore of the lake until we had a decent view of the top section of Mt. Jefferson.
IMG_8785

IMG_8790

IMG_8789

After getting our view of the mountain we returned to the Red Lake Trail. We turned left and continued the gradual climb to the Pacific Crest Trail. In a little over a quarter mile we arrived at Top Lake.
IMG_8792

IMG_8793

At the NW end of the lake the Red Lake Trail forked right but we turned left passing a nice view of Olallie Butte.
IMG_8796

IMG_8797

This connector trail climbed steeply via a series of switchbacks to an unsigned junction with the Pacific Crest Trail near Cigar Lake where we turned left (south).
IMG_8799Rock cairn along the PCT marking the connector trail.

IMG_8807PCT lookout.

IMG_8813

IMG_8811Golden-mantled ground squirrels at Cigar Lake.

The southern end of Cigar Lake is the location of the Double Peaks Trail. We had taken this trail twice hoping for nice views to no avail. (One was the 17.9mi hike including Ruddy Hill, the other was in 2013.) It would have likely been a great view now, but the .7 mile trail is frustratingly steep and we just didn’t feel like tackling it again. On the other hand the PCT remained fairly level over the next mile as it passed Upper Lake then a meadow with a view of Mt. Jefferson.
IMG_8820

IMG_8822Double Peaks from Upper Lake

IMG_8829

At the meadow the PCT turned left and began a brief climb up a butte. A third of a mile into the climb we passed the Many Lake Viewpoint. Here we had a nice view of Mt. Hood (and many lakes).
IMG_8832

IMG_8834

IMG_8835

IMG_8838

IMG_8841Company at the viewpoint.

We continued south from the viewpoint and were soon descending along a forested hillside when we heard an elk bugle. We guessed that it was a bow hunter but hoped it was an actual elk. Our guess was right though and we stopped to briefly talk to the hunter before continuing on.
IMG_8844Approximate location when we heard the “elk” bugle.

Just over a mile from the Many Lakes Viewpoint we arrived at the Ruddy Hill Trail where we turned right leaving the PCT.
IMG_8847

The nearly half mile trail was quite a bit steeper than we’d remembered but we soon found ourselves on the red topped summit looking at the view of Mt. Jefferson that we had missed on our previous visit.
IMG_8853

IMG_8858_stitch

IMG_8867

Although there was no view north, the view to the west was good with the peaks of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.
IMG_8869 Flat topped Battle Ax Mountain to the left to the fire scarred summit of Schreiner Peak to the right.

IMG_8875Battle Ax (post)

IMG_8877Bull of the Woods (post)

After resting at the summit we headed back down the PCT and continued south another .2 miles where we turned left on the “Rondy Trail”.
IMG_8882

IMG_8883

This trail descended a drainage before leveling out and arriving at Horseshoe Lake in three quarters of a mile. There was a nice variety of mushrooms along the way.
IMG_8884

IMG_8888

IMG_8890

IMG_8895

IMG_8897

IMG_8904

IMG_8907

IMG_8916

We followed the trail along the lake shore to the Horseshoe Lake Campground located right on Skyline Road.
IMG_8917

IMG_8919

For second time on this hike we went the wrong way and turned right on Skyline Road thinking it was an entrance road to the campground. We had only gone a tenth of a mile before realizing our mistake and turning around. We followed Skyline Road north for a mile. We were eager to get a firsthand look at what many consider one of the worst trailhead roads in NW Oregon. It was certainly a bad looking road but the section we hiked wasn’t quite as bad as some we’d seen in eastern and southeastern Oregon. It may well be worse beyond Horseshoe Lake though.
IMG_8923

When we arrived at the southern end of Monon Lake we were just .3 miles from our car, but we turned onto the Monon Lake Trail to finish that trail. The views of Olallie Butte from this end of the lake were spectacular.
IMG_8925

IMG_8931

More boardwalks were present as we passed through the forest along this end of the lake.
IMG_8933

We soon found ourselves back in the fire scar which just provided more views of the lake and Olallie Butte.
IMG_8946

IMG_8950

IMG_8957

A little over a mile from the road the trail began to curve around to the west where we once again had views of Mt. Jefferson across the lake.
IMG_8968

One and a quarter miles from the road we were back on top the rocks above the lake and heading for the junction we’d missed that morning.
IMG_8969

We then followed our route from the morning back to our car. We had hopped that the Sun would have coaxed some of the gentians to open, but it appeared to be too late in their life cycle for that to happen.
IMG_8985

IMG_8989

Our loop with side trips came in at 13.6 miles with approximately 1500′ of elevation gain. It was a beautiful day and so nice to have been able to get that view from Ruddy Hill. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Monon Lake- Ruddy Hill Loop

Crabtree Lake – 9/07/2019

A less than ideal forecast had us looking for a hike that wasn’t view dependent and wouldn’t be too negatively impacted by rain. Crabtree Lake in Crabtree Valley seemed to fit the criteria and it was a featured hike in Sullivan’s 4th edition of his “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” guidebook.

It was a cloudy, drizzly, morning as we headed for the trailhead NE of Sweet Home, OR. Although we knew there was a nice view of Mt. Jefferson from the trail that wasn’t the main goal of the hike so missing out on it wouldn’t be too disappointing. As we climbed along the BLM road to the trailhead we emerged from one set of clouds to find that we were in between cloud layers and so were the mountains. We parked at the junction of BLM road 11-3E-35.3(aka S. Fork Packers road) and the final .9 mile gravel road to the actual trailhead.
IMG_8503The gravel road from the junction.

The gravel road was in pretty good shape, but we had opted to walk it primarily due to the fact that from the trailhead the hike would be under 5 miles (excluding any exploration). The extra 1.8 miles would give us enough more time hiking that we wouldn’t break our hike to drive timie ratio rule. As we walked up the road we got a nice view of Three Fingered Jack in a beautiful sunrise.
IMG_8506

IMG_8507

A bit later Mt. Jefferson became visible.
IMG_8509

IMG_8510

The actual trail begins at a berm where the road has been closed.
IMG_8516

It then follows the road bed around a ridge end in .3 miles where the viewpoint of the mountains is.
IMG_8522

IMG_8524Coming up on the viewpoint.

Instead of not having a view we were treated to a beautiful scene.
20190907_071805_HDR

IMG_8529Mt. Jefferson

IMG_8532Three Fingered Jack

After oohing and awwing over the view we rounded the ridge end and began a 1.1 mile descent to a junction. There were a few left over flowers and dozens of rough skinned newts. We had to really watch were we stepped due to their presence on the trail.
IMG_8570

IMG_8547Maybe a ragwort?

IMG_8549Yarrow

IMG_8553St. John’s wort

IMG_8554Daisy and pearly everlasting

IMG_8648Beardstongue

IMG_8652Fireweed

IMG_8560Not a flower but colorful maple leaves.

IMG_8569A common sight on the trail.

IMG_8567Rough skinned newt

Although there were no mountain views on this side of the ridge there were a couple of openings to the west across Crabtree Valley.

IMG_8557

IMG_8558

IMG_8566

At a barricade we turned left and dropped down to another roadbed.
IMG_8573

We turned left and started a gradual climb along this road. It wasn’t clear what the status of this road is, at times it looked like there were some tire marks but we didn’t run into any vehicles along the .4 mile stretch to some concrete barricades.
IMG_8574

IMG_8575

The roadbed became more of a trail beyond the barricade continuing uphill another .3 miles to Crabtree Lake.
IMG_8576

IMG_8578

We found a few tents set up along the shore (there were 2 cars at the trailhead and one where we had parked along the lower road). We checked out the lake near the outlet where we found yet more rough skinned newts in the water.
IMG_8584

IMG_8582

We followed a trail around the lake to the left and headed down to the lake shore for another view.
IMG_8588

IMG_8590

We would later find out from some of the campers that there was an otter swimming in the lake while we were taking these pictures that we hadn’t seen. (I couldn’t find it in the photos either 😦

Now that we had seen the lake it was time to do a little big tree hunting. Crabtree Valley’s cliffs have protected the trees here allowing for some of Oregon’s oldest surviving trees. We followed the trail around the lake until it petered out near some empty campsites.
IMG_8591Old growth cedar

IMG_8593

IMG_8594

The basin here is home to a 270′ Douglas fir that has been dubbed “Nefertiti”. We had the GPS coordinates for the tree and decided this would be a good time to practice using our Garmins. We plugged in the coordinates and immediately ran into an issue, our devices didn’t agree even though they are the same make and model. We decided to try the location showing on my device first and made our way cross country to those coordinates. While there were many large old growth trees we weren’t convinced that any were the 8′ diameter tree we were looking for.
IMG_8600

IMG_8602

IMG_8605

IMG_8607

IMG_8609

We turned to Heather’s location next which resulted in our best guess as to the identity of the tree.
IMG_8610

IMG_8611

Whether on not we actually found Nefertiti we saw a lot of massive old growth, some of which may be close to 1000 years old. We headed back and almost went out to a viewpoint that overlooks Waterdog Meadow (a small lake and meadow that Crabtree Creek passes through after leaving Crabtree Lake) but a combination of fog and campers being set up near the viewpoint kept us from checking it out.
IMG_8615A less impressive viewpoint near the creek but the fog below made passing through the camps to reach the viewpoint pointless.

After hearing about the otter we left the lake and headed back. Before returning to the trailhead though there was another tree in the valley we were hoping to visit. King Tut, a 9′ diameter Douglas fir, is located off trail. Sullivan described the route as rugged and not recommended so we were prepared to turn back at any point. We again used GPS coordinates, which again disagreed, to find the tree. There was at times a rough trail to follow but any sign of it ended before reaching the tree.
IMG_8623

IMG_8624

We remained undeterred and picked our way through and around thorny berry bushes and devil’s club to the location showing on my GPS. There was a very large cedar in the area, but no King Tut.
IMG_8629

IMG_8631The cedar trunk through some branches.

We turned to Heather’s device and made our way to that location where we found what we believe to be the estimated 800 year old behemoth.
IMG_8632

IMG_8637

Having found this tree at the location shown by Heather’s GPS we were more confident that the tree we identified as Nefertiti using her device was probably correct as well.

Even though we were able to locate (we think) the tree, like Sullivan we wouldn’t recommend this excursion, especially without map and navigational skills.

We then headed back and climbed out of the valley along the road where the newts had been mostly replaced by other critters and the view of Mt. Jefferson was just a memory.
IMG_8655Fritillary butterfly

IMG_8657Dark eyed junco

IMG_8661Bumble bee

IMG_8647Back at the viewpoint.

It had been a great hike and despite having missed seeing our first otter we had seen a lot more than we were expecting. Between parking where we did and visiting the trees we turned the 4.6 mile hike into an 8.7 mile adventure. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Crabtree Lake

Olallie and Lowder Mountains – 09/01/2019

For our final outing of Labor Day Weekend we set our sights on a pair of peaks in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Both the Lowder Mountain Upper Trailhead and Pat’s Saddle Trailhead (for Olallie Mountain) are located just 2 miles apart along Forest Road 1993. These were two more featured hikes from Sullivan’s 4th edition Central Cascades guidebook that we had yet to do. (Olallie Mountain was removed from the featured hikes in the 5th edition due to a 2017 fire that burned much of the route.) On their own the hike to driving time ratios didn’t pan out, but doing them both on the same day would, and as it turns out FR 1993 was in excellent shape allowing for a driving time closer to 2 1/2 hours versus the nearly 3 hours that Google predicted.

We drove south to Eugene and took Highway 126 four miles east of Blue River where we turned right on FR 19 to Cougar Dam. After turning left on FR 1993 and crossing the dam we followed the road 11.2 miles to the Pat’s Saddle Trailhead.
We chose to start with Olallie Mountain for a couple of reasons, first we thought that the lack of tree cover due to the fire might make this a warmer hike later in the day and second it was the longer of the two hikes. There are a couple of trails that leave from this trailhead. The French Pete Creek Trail is the first trail on the right. The upper section of this trail is not maintained (according the Forest Service webpage) and the forest around the lower section was impacted by fires in both 2017 and 2018. We hiked the first 5 miles of the trail from the lower trailhead prior to the fires in 2015 (post)
IMG_8177

The trail we were taking on this trip was the second one on the right, the Olallie Trail.
IMG_8179

This trail promptly enters the Three Sisters Wilderness amid old growth that escaped the fire.
IMG_8180

IMG_8183

The signs of the fire could be seen after about a third of a mile.
IMG_8184

At the half mile mark we arrived at a small stream flowing from Wolverine Lake which was about a quarter mile uphill on our right. The forest on the right hand side of the trail had burned pretty good while the left hand side had fared much better. There was already plenty of green vegetation growing amid the snags on the hillside though.
IMG_8185

IMG_8186

20190901_073350Cone flower

Sullivan had mentioned visiting Wolverine Lake by heading uphill cross country after crossing over the stream but the vegetation here looked pretty thick so we waited until we had climbed a bit beyond the stream and angled back toward the lake.
IMG_8191Cross country to Wolverine Lake.

There were a fair number of trees down from the fire so it wasn’t too difficult to reach the lake, but it was tricky trying to get a good look at it due to the brushy shore.
IMG_8192

It looked like there might have been a better vantage point around the lake to our right, but it wasn’t worth fighting through the brush and fallen trees to try and reach it so we settled for the view we had and headed back to the Olallie Trail. From above, the route down along the creek looked much more appealing and we wound up taking a track much closer to what Sullivan had shown on his map to arrive back on trail. Once we were back on trail we turned right and passed through a patch of thimbleberry bushes encroaching on the trail.
IMG_8195

We emerged from the thimbleberries and rounded a ridge end where the forest became a bit more open and many of the trees had survived the fire.
IMG_8196

IMG_8198

IMG_8204

A sooty grouse caught our attention as it crossed the trail ahead of us.
IMG_8208

IMG_8206

The trail climbed gradually along the hillside and we marveled at the varying effects of the fire and how the forest was in different stages of recovery already.
IMG_8213

IMG_8215Baneberry

IMG_8217Monkshood

There were also some views that might not have been there if some of the trees hadn’t burned.
IMG_8221

IMG_8201South Sister

IMG_8220Middle and North Sister

IMG_8223Mt. Washington

IMG_8226Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack

The line of clouds obstructing the view of the mountains wasn’t exactly a welcome sight, but we could at least see some of them and it was early so maybe they would eventually burn off.

A little over 2 miles from the trailhead we arrived at a junction in a grassy saddle.
IMG_8228

The Olallie Trail continued straight passing an old guard station site at Olallie Meadows in .9 miles then continuing deeper (and fainter) into the Three Sisters Wilderness eventually ending at Horse Lake (post). We turned right though, onto the Olallie Mountain Trail.
IMG_8230

This trail began with a reasonably gradual climb past a series of meadows where a few late blooming flowers remained.
IMG_8235

IMG_8240Aster and pearly everlasting

IMG_8250

IMG_8252Columbine

IMG_8255

The trail briefly leveled out on top of ridge where the fire had burned intensely in some areas while sparing trees in others.
IMG_8256

IMG_8257

After the brief respite from climbing the trail steepened below the summit of Olallie Mountain and began to wrap up and around its rocky western face.
IMG_8258

IMG_8259

IMG_8260

The tread along the steep hillside here was a little sketchy in part due to the fire but we made our way up to the summit. The remains of the Olallie Mountain lookout tower still stand on the summit having been covered by firefighters to protect it from the blaze.
IMG_8269

IMG_8304

The three hundred and sixty degree view was impressive and would have been more so if not for the presence of clouds to the north and in front of many of the cascade peaks. On top of that our early ascent left the Sun in a less than ideal overhead position for lighting.
IMG_8306_stitchParts of the Cascades from Mt. Jefferson to the NE to Mt. Bachelor to the SE.

IMG_8302Mt. Jefferson was still tangled up in the clouds.

IMG_8300Just a peak at Mt. Washington (which was more than we could see of Three Fingered Jack)

IMG_8297Middle and North Sister behind The Husband

IMG_8296South Sister

IMG_8295Broken Top

Things were a little less cloudy to the south where Cowhorn Mountain (post) and Mt. Thielsen (post) seemed to be cloud free while Diamond Peak wasn’t so lucky.
IMG_8281

IMG_8282Cowhorn Mountain and Mt. Thielsen

IMG_8291Diamond Peak

We were able to identify the cliffs of flat topped Lowder Mountain, our next stop, to the NW.
IMG_8312Lowder Mountain to the left of the tree in the foreground.

IMG_8317Lowder Mountain

After watching the clouds pass by (but not leave) for awhile we headed back down. We had passed a single backpacker on the way up and on the way down we encountered a trio of hikers making their way up. When we got back to the stream below Wolverine Lake we spotted a frog (no wolverines though).
IMG_8331

IMG_8334

We completed our 8 mile hike here and drove back the two miles to the Lowder Mountain Upper Trailhead and parked at a pullout near the trailhead signboard. The signboard announced three trails: the Quaking Aspen, Lowder Mountain, and Walker Creek Trails.
IMG_8337

We weren’t paying close attention as we set off on a trail heading for a wilderness to the left of the signboard.
IMG_8338

IMG_8340

Our first clue that we were on the wrong trail should have been the location of the trail signs on the signboard but away we went following the Quaking Aspen Trail downhill parallel to FR 1993. We had a feeling something might be off but a quick glance at the GPS showed that we were almost to some switchbacks which matched up with Sullivan’s map but we were surprised that they were headed downhill and not up (the one complaint we have about Sullivan’s maps are that they are not topographic so we can’t always tell when a trail is climbing or dropping). We were zoomed in too far to see the other trail behind us that switchbacked uphill. Just after turning on the first of the switchbacks Heather figured it out and got us turned in the right direction but not until we’d covered a third of a mile.

We hiked back uphill to the trailhead and looked at the signboard and area more closely. Sure enough there was another trail and wilderness to the right of the signboard (the side listing the Lowder Mountain and Walker Creek Trails).
IMG_8346

IMG_8355

We now set off on the Lowder Trail and began switchbacking uphill through an old growth forest.
IMG_8356

IMG_8357

After a quarter mile of serious climbing the trail leveled out a bit (and straightened out) as it traversed along a hillside. We soon got a quick glimpse of Olallie Mountain across the valley.
IMG_8359

For the next 1 3/4 miles the trail alternated between meadows and forest before arriving at a junction in one of the meadows.
IMG_8360

IMG_8364Skipper

IMG_8365This reminded us of a torture device.

IMG_8368

IMG_8369

IMG_8372This meadow had a lot of buckwheat.

IMG_8373

IMG_8377Olallie Mountain again.

IMG_8380The lookout tower on Olallie Mountain

IMG_8381Diamond Peak had shed its cloud cover momentarily.

IMG_8384Diamond Peak

IMG_8387

IMG_8386Pollinators got to pollinate.

IMG_8389

IMG_8391

This junction marked the start of the Walker Creek Trail which climbed up through the meadow to the right. This was actually the trail to take in order to reach the viewpoint atop Lowder Mountain.
IMG_8393

The Lowder Mountain Trail continued on straight but beyond the junction is no longer maintained due to “lack of use”.
IMG_8392

A series of 12 switchbacks led steeply up through the meadow and forest to a large meadow atop Lowder Mountain.
IMG_8394The trail heading up through some thimbleberry.

IMG_8397Butterfly

IMG_8405Another skipper

IMG_8412This guy was the size of my pinky.

IMG_8399A few scarlet gilia still in bloom.

IMG_8415Pearly everlasting at the edge of the large meadow.

We followed a well worn path across the broad summit to the edge of the large meadow where it turned right passing along the tree line.
IMG_8419

Like the Lowder Mountain Trail the Walker Creek Trail is no longer maintained beyond the meadow. The clear path along the impressively large meadow is a user trail to the viewpoint above Karl and Ruth Lakes.
IMG_8420

IMG_8421

IMG_8479

IMG_8426

IMG_8427Karl & Ruth Lakes

The clouds were still a bit of an issue but it was now late enough in the day for the lighting to be much better.
IMG_8433Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack with Horsepasture Mountain (post) in the foreground.

IMG_8431Mt. Washington

IMG_8440North and Middle Sister

IMG_8438South Sister and Broken Top

IMG_8443

We made our way south along the cliffs to reach a view of Mt. Bachelor.
IMG_8453

IMG_8456Mt. Bachelor

In addition to the great views there was an interesting little rock feature that looked a lot like a head of some kind.
IMG_8468

IMG_8469

We took a good break here before heading back. On the return trip we discovered that we had actually spent a decent amount of time losing elevation traversing along the hillside on the way to the Walker Creek Trail junction. It had been so gradual that we hadn’t noticed but it was evident that we were going uphill a lot more than we’d expected once we were back on the Lowder Mountain Trail. There were quite a few butterflies out searching for the remaining flowers which gave us something to focus on (in addition to eating quite a few ripe thimbleberries).
IMG_8496Butterfly with a small crab spider on the next flower head to the right.

Between taking the wrong trail from the trailhead and wandering around at the viewpoint we managed to turn a 5.6 mile hike into 6.8 miles making our total for the day 14.8 miles. The elevation gains were roughly 1400′ for Olallie Mountain and 900′ for Lowder Mountain. The views were great from both peaks and we were already talking about a return trip earlier in the Summer to see what all the meadows might look like earlier in the year. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Olallie and Lowder Mountains