Category Archives: High Cascades

Lodgepole Loop – 10/12/2019

We’re entering the time of year where the weather can be a real wildcard. A week earlier there was snow down to the mountain passes. There wasn’t any snow in the forecast but a continuously changing threat of cloudy conditions and rain showers kept us from deciding exactly where we’d be heading until the night before. A mostly cloudy but precipitation free forecast led us to our third hike of the year in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area for a lake filled hike where the presence of clouds would have minimal affect on the scenery.

Our plan was to follow a route suggested by Matt Reeder in his “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region” starting at the Olallie Meadows Campground and taking the Lodgepole Trail to the Red Lake Trail which we would then take east to the Pacific Crest Trail. Heading north on the PCT would bring us to the Russ Lake Trail. After a side trip to Russ and Jude Lakes we would take the Russ Lake Trail west to the Lodgepole Trail and return to Olallie Meadows. That was our plan anyway but it isn’t quite how things played out.

We parked at a trail sign at the end of the Olallie Meadows Campground and checked out the meadows while we waited for a little more light. The sky was fairly cloud free which was encouraging but it also meant that the overnight low of 35 that had been in the forecast was actually 27 (according to the car).
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We didn’t have to wait long and soon we were crunching along the trail. There was a lot of frozen moisture so every step sounded like we were crushing a bag of potato chips, it wasn’t a good sign for seeing any morning wildlife. A quarter mile from the trailhead we passed the Russ Lake Trail junction where we would be coming from on our return.
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For now we stayed straight enjoying the fall colors and traces of snow along the trail while we tried to keep some feeling in our fingers.
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After a short climb the view ahead opened up to Olallie Butte which we’d climbed earlier in the year.(post)
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Three quarters of a mile from the Russ Lake Trail we arrived at another signed junction.
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We turned right here onto what turned out to be the Pacific Crest Trail (we didn’t notice the marker on a nearby tree on this first pass) following a pointer for Olallie Lake.
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Shortly afterward we began to realize something was amiss. Prior to setting off we had taken a last look at Reeder’s map and remembered that there was a short section of trail that we would not be hiking on if we did the loop the way we’d planned. What we didn’t remember was where that section was, but if we were already on the PCT it didn’t seem possible for there to be such a section so we differed to the book and realized that somewhere between the Russ Lake Trail and the PCT the Lodgepole Trail should have forked to the right and crossed Skyline Road near the Triangle Lake Horsecamp. Neither one of us remembered seeing anything that looked like a trail. We contemplated going back to look for it, but decided to just continue on in the opposite direction as planned.

We followed the PCT south passing a large dry lake then a small frozen one before crossing under a set of power lines and passing the Olallie Butte Trail in just under a mile.
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Another 2.2 miles on the PCT brought us more colorful foliage, another frozen pond, and a glimpse of Mt. Jefferson before arriving at Skyline Road just north of Olallie Lake (post).
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We crossed the road sticking to the PCT and stopped to take a look at Head Lake.
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Beyond Head Lake the PCT climbs for approximately a mile and a half to the Red Lake Trail junction. We had been on this section of the trail before (post) but on that day the clouds had restricted the views to the forest and ponds along the trail. In addition to the great fall colors on this trip we had some excellent views of Mt. Jefferson.
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IMG_0536Olallie Butte

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IMG_0559Mt. Jefferson

IMG_0562Olallie Lake

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IMG_0575Mt. Jefferson

We even had a rather obscured view of Mt. Hood for a moment.
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At the junction with the Red Lake Trail we turned right onto that trail.
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This trail was also familiar to us as including the unnamed lake below Twin Peaks.
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Beyond the lake the trail began a rocky descent to a junction with the Lodgepole Trail just over a mile from the PCT.
IMG_0594Potato Butte ahead.

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IMG_0597Lodgepole Trail junction.

Here we turned right back onto the Lodgepole Trail. We were back on new-to-us trail and in less than a quarter mile came to an unnamed lake on the left.
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IMG_0603One of the causes of the noisy steps.

Just over a quarter mile from the junction was Middle Lake on the right.
IMG_0612Twin Peaks on the other side of Middle Lake.

IMG_0616Colors along Middle Lake.

Next up was supposed to be a short out and back to Gifford Lakes on a trail located somewhere between Middle and Lower Lakes. We missed the unmarked trail on our first pass, but realized it fairly quickly when a GPS check showed we were closer to Lower Lake than we should have been. (For the record it’s about a quarter mile from Middle Lake.) We turned around and headed back the way we’d come looking for yet another trail we’d missed. I had an idea of where we’d missed it having noticed some logs and branches that looked like it could have been over an old trail. Sure enough that turned out to be the spot, but between the wood and snow it had been really easy to miss.
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A .2 mile detour brought us to the larger of the two Gifford Lakes. We had heard that this was probably the prettiest lake in the area and we wouldn’t argue that.
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IMG_0630Olallie Butte

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IMG_0648Twin Peaks from Gifford Lake.

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A trail to the left around the lake led to a ridge between the two Gifford Lakes. The smaller lake didn’t have the views that its larger neighbor enjoyed but it was scenic nonetheless.
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After exploring the lakes and a snack break we returned to the Lodgepole Trail and turned right to continue on our loop. We came to another junction about .4 miles from the trail to Gifford Lakes.
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Here the Lodgepole Trail continued straight crossing the Fish Lake Trail. We turned briefly down the Fish Lake Trail to take a quick look at Lower Lake before continuing on.
IMG_0704Sign for the Fish Lake Trail.

IMG_0705Lower Lake

IMG_0707Olallie Butte

IMG_0713Sign for the Lodgepole Trail.

The trail dropped to a meadow then reentered the forest and climbed to a ridge top .8 miles from the junction.
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IMG_0719Pinedrops

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IMG_0731The trail was actually the fainter track to the left leading to the bridge, but that wasn’t obvious until we reached the trees.

IMG_0733A lone yarrow.

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After cresting the ridge the trail dropped to a dry crossing of the Clackamas River.
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Approximately two miles from the Fish Lake Trail we found ourselves passing back under the power lines.
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Another mile of fairly level trail brought us to Triangle Lake.
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After passing the lake and horse camp we quickly found ourselves crossing Skyline Road again.
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We were really interested in seeing where we were going to meet up with the trail from that morning. Our answer came in less than 100 yards when the clear trail we were on arrived at a junction. A small tree was lying across the trail but the tread was rather obvious. We decided we must have been focused on the hill that was just beyond the junction and not looking at that side of the trail because it was hard to miss.
IMG_0766Approaching the junction.

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We turned right climbing the little hill, for the second time that day, and in a tenth of a mile were back at the Pacific Crest Trail. This time we turned left following the Jude Lake pointer.
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The PCT entered the Warm Springs Reservation before arriving at the Russ Lake Trail in a third of a mile.
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Here we turned right on the Russ Lake Trail (which was not signed).
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The trail passed a small pond after a tenth of a mile and the southern end of Jude Lake after two tenths before arriving at Russ Lake a little of a third of a mile from the junction. (Please note that fishing is not allowed on the Reservation without a permit.)
IMG_0774Jude Lake

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IMG_0786Russ Lake

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We watched the ducks on Russ Lake for a bit before heading back. It wasn’t until we were passing Jude Lake again that we actually realized that it was Jude Lake which allowed us to skip a short out and back north on the PCT to see the other side of that lake. Having seen Jude Lake we stayed on the Russ Lake Trail when we got back to the PCT junction and in a tenth of a mile turned right on a short unsiged spur trail to Brook Lake.
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From Book Lake it was another .2 miles to the Lodgepole Trail and about the same back to Olallie Meadows.
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We were anticipating a 13.2 mile loop (per Reeder) but a little extra exploring, missing the Gifford Lakes Trail, and screwing up the route to begin with we ended our day just over 14 miles. It turned out to be a really nice day (after our hands warmed up) with a lot of nice scenery. We only ran into a single pair of backpackers during the hike although there were a number of vehicles on Skyline Road both in the morning and on our drive out. The Olallie Lake Scenic Area is definately a great place for late Summer/Fall hiking. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lodgepole Loop

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
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We set off on the trail which gradually climbed through a fairly open forest of lodgepole pine and mountain hemlock.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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IMG_9272More cool mushrooms.

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IMG_9277First pond

IMG_9278Looking down on the first pond.

IMG_9280Liked the pattern on this shroom.

IMG_9282A smaller pond.

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IMG_9291Found a few blooming bleeding heart.

We reached another junction 1.2 miles from the PCT at a sign for Charlton Lake.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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As we started down the trail a saddle between the two summits we spotted a marmot.
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IMG_9400The marmot on a rock ledge with Crane Prairie Reservoir in the background.

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The saddle was forested complete with green grass.
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The trail forked on the far side of the saddle where a faint path traversed the hillside below the south summit.
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The other fork headed 200′ up to second summit.
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The view north was still great from this summit and Waldo Lake was still visible by looking west across the cinder cones crater.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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IMG_9494Tiny PCT frog.

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

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We made our way over to the rocks and took a nice break where we had some company.
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IMG_9550The Twins

IMG_9555One of several butterflies.

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

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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.
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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.
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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

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.
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There was a nearly immediate view across part of the lake to Olallie Butte which we had recently climbed (post).
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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.
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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.
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Just beyond Mangriff Lake was Nep-te-pa Lake on the right.
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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.
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We turned right and after a nice view of the lake entered a stand of green trees.
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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.
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We continued around Olallie Lake passing numerous spectacular views of Mt. Jefferson.
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IMG_8734Mergansers

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Three quarters of a mile from the Long Lake Trail junction we came Paul Dennis Campground.
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A brief road walk brought us to the Olallie Lake Resort where we followed a trail between the lake and some cabins.
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The views of Mt. Jefferson from the resort were great and we stopped at the dock and the picnic area for photos.
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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.
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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.
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We turned down this trail and followed it .6 mostly level miles (there were two short but steep climbs over ridges) to Timber Lake.
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We followed a path along the northern shore of the lake until we had a decent view of the top section of Mt. Jefferson.
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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.
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At the NW end of the lake the Red Lake Trail forked right but we turned left passing a nice view of Olallie Butte.
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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.

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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.
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IMG_8822Double Peaks from Upper Lake

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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).
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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.
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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.
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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”.
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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.
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We followed the trail along the lake shore to the Horseshoe Lake Campground located right on Skyline Road.
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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.
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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.
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More boardwalks were present as we passed through the forest along this end of the lake.
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We soon found ourselves back in the fire scar which just provided more views of the lake and Olallie Butte.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Lillian Falls and Joe Goddard’s Old Growth Trail – 8/31/2019

As we continue to move closer to our goal of completing all of the featured hikes in William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes series of guidebooks (post) we have begun narrowing down the specific editions to base our progress off of. (For various reasons the featured hikes are a little different with each edition.) For the central cascades region we have decided to focus on the 4th edition from 2012. A few of the remaining featured hikes from that book are not part of the 100 hikes in the 5th edition as was the case with Lillian Falls.

It’s not always evident why Sullivan removes a hike from featured status and moves it to the back of his book (or removes it all together), but we thought it might have something to do with what he describes as “dangerous” potholes on the road to the trailhead. I checked with the Middle Fork Ranger District on the status of the road and the ranger there indicated that the road was fine for a high clearance vehicle but needed to be driven carefully. That sounded reasonable enough to us so we headed for the Black Creek Trailhead for the second hike of our long Labor Day Weekend.

We had planned on stopping at the short Joe Goodards Grove Trail first as it is located 1.6 miles before the Black Creek Trailhead on FR 2421 but we missed the unsigned turn (we saw the road but didn’t realize it was the one we wanted) and by the time we realized it we decided it was just going to be easier to do the longer hike first then end the day with the nature trail. We parked at the end of FR 2421 and took the unsigned Black Creek Trail into a second growth forest.
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Less than a quarter mile from the trailhead we arrived at a signboard where we filled out a wilderness permit.
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Just beyond the signboard we crossed a small stream and entered the Waldo Lake Wilderness
IMG_7881Looking back at the stream.

A few old footbridges remained as we passed through old growth above Black Creek.
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20190831_074449Not many flowers left but this one reminded us of fireworks.

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The trail climbed gradually for just over a mile to a switchback along Nettie Creek where we could hear the roar of Lillian Falls just upstream.
IMG_7946Nettie Creek at the switchback.

We honestly weren’t expecting much from the falls which was described as a 150′ series of cascades. The drops visible from the switchback were nice enough and about what we had expected to see.
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Working our way up alongside the cascades though revealed a much more impressive sight than we were prepared for.
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Lillian Falls was a worthy goal on its own, but at just over 2.5 miles round trip it was too short of a hike to justify the nearly 5 1/2 hours of driving to get to the trailhead and back so after thoroughly enjoying the falls we continued up the Black Creek Trail.
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The trail veered away from Black Creek as it began a relatively steep climb up a a ridge along Nettie Creek. We leveled out a bit .7 miles from Lillian Falls passing through a section of forest with rhododendrons.
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We crossed Nettie Creek on stones .4 miles later.
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The trail continued its fairly level grade as it passed through more forest before arriving at a rocky hillside where it turned north and began to climb again.
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The open hillside provided a view west and to a lesser extant south to Fuji Mountain (post).
IMG_7960SW view

IMG_7963Looking south

IMG_7967Fuji Mountain

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Just before reentering the forest there was a short section of narrow tread where the hillside appeared to be slide prone.
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There had been a dry creek bed below the trail but as we reached the trees we began to hear running water, faintly at first, but then suddenly there was a full creek in front of us flowing through the forest.
IMG_7972Klovdahl Creek

After briefly leaving the creek to pass around a small hill the trail crossed Klovdahl Creek.
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A fairly steep quarter mile climb followed as the trail gained 275′ via a series of switchbacks. The trail then leveled out a bit again. Instead of rhododendron this section was full of huckleberry bushes and a sooty grouse.
IMG_7978Grouse on the Black Creek Trail.

IMG_7981Huckleberry bushes along the trail.

We kept waiting to reach a purported downhill to Waldo Lake which finally arrived about a hundred yards before arriving at a junction with the Jim Weaver Trail which loops around the lake.
IMG_7983Heading down to the Waldo Lake Trail (Jim Weaver Trail)

Across the lake we could see the distinct summit of Maiden Peak (post).
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To the right along the shore of Klovdahl Bay the remains of an attempted diversion tunnel for hydroelectric power and irrigation.
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We considered hiking the half mile to visit see the tunnel up close but opted instead to turn left and head north along the lake to visit Green Lake. Green Lake is part of a 5th edition featured hike that also includes Elbow Lake. We had visited Elbow Lake in 2013 as part of our Waldo Mountain hike. (post)

The trail climbed a bit in this direction as it veered away from Waldo Lake to pass several much smaller, unnamed lakes.
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IMG_7995First lake on the left.

IMG_7997Second lake on the left.

IMG_7998A third lake on the left that was set back in the trees.

IMG_7999First lake on the right.

IMG_8005Ducks at the lake on the right.

IMG_8014Dry pond on the right.

After 1.9 miles on the Waldo Lake Trail we came to a junction with the Koch Mountain Trail where we turned right at a pointer for Green and Waldo Lakes.
IMG_8017Wide trail junction.

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We passed by Green Lake opting to visit the shore of Waldo Lake first and followed this trail downhill a third of a mile to it’s end at the lake.
IMG_8020Dry creek bed along the way.

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We sat on the rocky shoreline here for a bit enjoying the view of Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor.
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Across the lake to the east were The Twins, a peak that we hope to hike later this year.
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After the break we headed back up to the Waldo Lake Trail but first detoured to visit Green Lake which was a few hundred feet off the main trail to the north.
It was a nice little lake, enough so that it warranted a second short break.
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It was close to 11am when we left Green Lake and headed back along the Waldo Lake Trail. There was a marked increase in traffic on the trail now, but after turning onto the Black Creek Trail again we didn’t see another person, but we did get a chance to watch a pileated woodpecker for a bit.
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We stopped again at Lillian Falls which was now receiving more light.
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We then returned to our car and drove back along FR 2421 the 1.6 miles to the unsigned road (now on the left). We parked at its end after a tenth of a mile and took an unsigned path to a nice footbridge over Black Creek.
IMG_8124Unsigned start of the nature trail.

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IMG_8129Black Creek

Once across the creek the trail passes briefly through a former clearcut before arriving at a sign announcing the Joe Goddard’s Nature Trail.
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Just beyond the sign the trail split marking the start of the loop.
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We went left here but in hindsight it might have been a little better to go right based on the direction the signs along the trail were facing. In any case after taking the left fork we quickly came to another fork where a footbridge crossed Louisie Creek near a picnic table.
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We crossed the bridge and followed a path past an impressive old growth cedar.
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The path appeared to end back at Black Creek although there were some faint trails in the area. This was a bit confusing because the trail that was shown on our Garmin maps appeared to be in this same area, but we knew that the location of trails on maps isn’t always correct so we crossed back over Louise Creek and continued on the clearer trail which crossed a dry creek bed.
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The creek bed was followed by a large old growth Douglas Fir that a sign put at 217′ tall and over 118 inches in diameter.
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Even though our GPS track was not matching up at all with the trail shown on the device the signage along the route we were following told us we were on the right path. We continued on the loop and came to a log that had been cut for the trail and subsequently marked with Joe Goddard’s birthday and the year “1776”. A little online research revealed that this tree dated back to the year 1340.
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It was an interesting little loop (.5 miles total from the parking area) and well worth the stop.
IMG_8166Another picnic table.

IMG_8167Another big Doug fir.

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We ended the day having covered 13 miles, 12.5 for Lillian Falls and Waldo Lake and the half mile at Joe Goddard’s Grove. We were a bit surprised that the only people we saw were along Waldo Lake given how nice the falls were, but perhaps their out of the way location and potholed road keeps them a bit less visited. The only negative on the day was Heather getting stung by a yellow jacket at Lillian Falls. Those things are just mean. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Lillian Falls and Joe Goddard’s Nature Trail

Olallie Butte – 8/30/2019

At the beginning of the year we had requested the Friday before Labor Day Weekend off in hopes of backpacking around Diamond Peak (With a side trip up to the summit) but with our backpacking plans on hold while we care for our elderly cats we switched our plans to day hikes instead. For our first hike we chose Olallie Butte.

Before getting into the trip report we wanted to point out that this hike is in part located on the Warm Springs Reservation. It wasn’t entirely clear whether or not non-tribal members are allowed on the trail. We did some research before heading out and discovered that this uncertainty has existed for some time. We decided to go ahead and start the hike but were prepared to turn around if there were any signs posted letting us know that the trail was off-limits. There were several other nearby hikes that are still on our to do list so we had plenty of alternate options if that did happen.

The hike starts at a nondescript pullout under some power lines. We were a little apprehensive upon arriving at the trailhead, not because we were worried the trail would be closed, but rather due to the clouds that were overhead. The forecast had called for sunny skies on the butte so we hoped that either the clouds would be burning off or we would be climbing above them. We had tried for a similar view two other times by climbing nearby Double Peaks (post) and Ruddy Hill (post), but had been foiled by clouds on both of the trips.
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The actual trail was marked by some pink flagging off a dirt road across from the parking area.
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After just a tenth of a mile we arrived at the Pacific Crest Trail where there was what appeared to be a newer sign for the Olallie Butte Trail.
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IMG_7706Trail sign with the PCT heading north behind it.

We crossed the PCT and headed uphill through the forest which was very typical for the Olallie Lake Scenic Area.
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After approximately a mile and a half of gradual climbing we came to a sign announcing the start of the Warm Springs Reservation.
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There were no signs of restricted access so we continued on making sure that we remained on the trail and respected the area.
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We did indeed emerge from the clouds not long after entering the reservation which allowed for occasional views of nearby Sisi Butte and Mt. Hood.
IMG_7725Sisi Butte

IMG_7727Lookout tower on Sisi Butte

IMG_7732Mt. Hood

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It was too late in the year for most of the flowers but there was a little color left on a few of them.
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Just beyond the three mile mark the trail leaves the forest and traverses a cinder slope beneath the summit.
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The view south to Mt. Hood is unobstructed here.
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Shortly before starting a series of swtichbacks we got our first look at Mt. Jefferson through some trees.
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The view of Mt. Jefferson improved as we climbed and soon Olallie and Monon Lakes joined the scenery along with several more Cascade peaks further to the south.
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IMG_7767Olallie Lake

IMG_7770_stitchMonon Lake just beyond Olallie Lake (Timber Lake is the smaller lake in the trees to the west.

IMG_7775Broken Top and The Three Sisters

There were also some familiar features from earlier this year.
IMG_7782Dinah-mo Peak and Bear Point (post)

IMG_7783Bear Point

After completing the switchbacks the trail arrived at a saddle atop the broad summit of Olallie Butte. To the north were the remains of a former lookout tower while a close up view of Mt. Jefferson awaited to the south.
IMG_7790Lookout tower remains

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We started by visiting the southern end of the summit to get that close up view of Mt. Jefferson and the many lakes between that mountain and the butte.
IMG_7792_stitch Starting from the left – Trout Lake with Boulder Lake beyond, Island Lake, Dark Lake, Long Lake. The three smaller lakes are Lake Mary (closest), Lake Marie (middle), and Lake Alice (furthest). Lake Hazel is the small lake up and to the right of those three. All of these lakes are part of the Warm Springs Reservation and off-limits unless a permit to visit has been obtained.

IMG_7806Monon, Olallie, and Timber Lakes in the Mt. Hood National Forest to the west.

IMG_7804Mt. Jefferson

An interesting feature on this end of the butte is a natural rock arch.
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We eventually pulled ourselves away from this view to head over to the former lookout.
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We found a pair of Clark’s nutcrackers enjoying breakfast.
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The clouds were receding to the north which revealed Mt. Adams behind the right shoulder of Mt. Hood and further to the west we could just make out Mt. St. Helens above the clouds.
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IMG_7809Mt. St. Helens as a dark spot on the horizon.

IMG_7860Mt. Adams beyond Mt. Hood

IMG_7844Mt. Jefferson from the lookout site.

There were more rock fins on the NE side of the butte but no rock arches.
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We visited the south end of the summit once more before heading back down the trail. The view was a little different on the return trip as the clouds had departed creating several additional views of Mt. Hood along the lower portions.
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We had planned to pack out any litter we found on the reservation as one of the things that could easily lead to the explicit closure of the trail would be damage to the area but we didn’t see any other than the remains of the old lookout while on the reservation. On the other hand closer to the trailhead we removed a shoe sole, a couple of crushed cans, and a pile of apparently discarded clothing and a tent fly.

Other than the trash this was a spectacular hike. The views were great and we didn’t see any other hikers. For us this was roughly an 8 mile hike gaining 2700′ of elevation. Despite that number the climb was never particularly steep making it feel a little easier than might be expected. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Olallie Butte

Bingham Ridge (Mt. Jefferson Wilderness) – 8/24/2019

After a week back at work it was time to hit the trails again. We once again turned to Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region” for inspiration choosing the Bingham Ridge Trail as our destination.

The Bingham Ridge Trailhead is located 5 miles up Forest Road 2253 aka Minto Road. That road is just 17 miles east of Detroit, OR and was in great shape except for some water damage in the first quarter of a mile. Beyond that short stretch it was a good gravel road all the way to the parking area just before the road was gated.

The trail began opposite the little parking area where we had parked along side two other vehicles.
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The trail climbed through a green forest along the dry bed of Willis Creek before briefly passing through the edge of a clear-cut.
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IMG_7381Huckleberry bushes and beargrass in the clear-cut.

20190824_065018Sleeping bees on some thistle.

The trail soon reentered the trees and then passed into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.
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IMG_7395The bees on the thistle may have been asleep but a western toad was out and about.

After entering the wilderness the trail continued to climb very gradually as it passed through alternating sections of green trees and forest scarred by the 2006 Puzzle Creek Fire.
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IMG_7400Mt. Jefferson through the burned trees.

IMG_7402Back in the green.

IMG_7404Three Fingered Jack through the burned trees.

IMG_7408Aster

IMG_7409Pearly everlasting

IMG_7410Fireweed

The longest stretch through burned forest occurred as the trail passed to the right of a rocky rise along the ridge.
IMG_7412Three Fingered Jack

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IMG_7417The rock covered rise.

IMG_7418South Cinder Peak (post) to the left and Three Fingered Jack to the right.

IMG_7422Still passing the rocks.

We heard a couple of “meeps” from pikas in the rocks but we only managed to spot a golden-mantled ground squirrel.
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As the trail passed around the rocky rise we reentered green forest and quickly came to the end of the Bingham Ridge Trail at a junction with the Lake of the Woods Trail 3.7 miles from the trailhead.
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The Lake of the Woods Trail runs north-south between the Pamelia Limited Entry Area and Marion Lake (post). We turned left (north) onto this trail which promptly crossed over the ridge at a low saddle and began to traverse a forested hillside.
IMG_7429The low saddle.

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The trail wound around the basin arriving at a ridge end viewpoint where we had hoped to get a view of Mt. Jefferson but soon realized that we hadn’t come far enough around yet and we were looking west not north.
IMG_7432Coffin and Bachelor Mountains (post).

We continued along the hillside finally coming far enough around to get a look at Mt. Jefferson.
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Just a little further along we arrived at Reeder’s turn around point for the 8.8 mile hike described in his book. A cinder viewpoint of Mt. Jefferson across the Bingham Basin.
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There was a strange group of clouds hanging out on the top of the mountain. We could see them moving in what appeared to be a SE direction but despite seeing the movement it never really appeared that they were going anywhere.
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As we stood at this rocky viewpoint we could hear more pikas and then Heather spotted one sitting on top of some rocks, maybe enjoying the same view we were.
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Even though Reeder calls this viewpoint “the most logical stopping point for dayhikers” he does provide information for those wishing to continue. Since logic sometimes goes out the window with regards to hiking we continued on. The trail dropped just a bit to a fairly level bench where it passed through a couple of meadows before arriving at an unnamed lake with a view of Mt. Jefferson on the left.
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IMG_7461Spirea with a beetle.

IMG_7464Unnamed lake with Mt. Jefferson (and those pesky clouds).

IMG_7469From the opposite side of the lake.

A half mile later (or just under 2 miles from the Bingham Ridge Trail junction) we arrived a Papoose Lake.
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The mountain was mostly hidden by trees from this lake but there were several frogs to watch and a short scramble up a rockpile on the east side of the lake did provide another look at Mt. Jefferson.
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It was actually a really impressive amount of boulders here and although we didn’t spot any, we could hear a number of resident pikas.
IMG_7483Looking south over the rock field.

Turning back here would have put the hike in the 11.5 mile range, but we had our sights set on a further goal – the Pacific Crest Trail. Beyond Papoose Lake the Lake of the Woods Trail passed several seasonal ponds which were now meadows where we had to watch out for tiny frogs.
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IMG_7496One of the frogs.

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IMG_7663Frog in the trail.

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Just under three quarters of a mile from Papoose Lake (6.3ish from the trailhead) we arrived at the northern end of the Lake of the Woods Trail where it met the Hunts Creek Trail (post).
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A left on this trail would lead us into the Pamelia Limited Entry Area for which we did not have a permit, but to the right the trail remained out of the limited area as it headed to the Pacific Crest Trail.
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In his book Reeder describes this section of trail as “spectacular” which is what prompted us to abandon logic in the first place. We turned right and continued the theme of gradual climbs as the trail passed a hillside dotted with a few asters.
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After little over a quarter of a mile we found ourselves beneath a large talus slope (by the sound of it filled with a pika army).
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Here we embarked on possibly the most significant climb of the day as the trail switchbacked up through the rocks to a saddle.
IMG_7510Apparently the trail was rerouted at some point because we could see tread that we never used.

IMG_7511The Three Pyramids beyond Bingham Ridge.

As we neared the saddle we spotted what must have been the pika lookout.
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There was more talus on the opposite side of the saddle, and more pikas too!
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We spotted at least 4 pikas (it’s hard to keep track when they are running in and out of the rocks) and heard many more. The only thing that could tear us away from our favorite wildlife critters was the view of Mt. Jefferson looming over Hunts Cove.
IMG_7534 (the clouds had finally vanished)

Continuing away from the saddle just a bit provided an excellent view of the mountain and Hanks Lake with a bit of Hunts Lake visible as well.
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IMG_7551Hanks Lake

IMG_7552Hunts Lake

IMG_7553Rock fin above Hunts Cove.

Reeder hadn’t exaggerated by using spectacular to describe this section of trail. The views of Mt. Jefferson were amazing and a variety of wildflowers (past peak) lined the trail.
IMG_7560Penstemon and a western pasque flower.

IMG_7563Western pasque flower seed heads.

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20190824_101714Hippie-on-a-stick

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IMG_7576Paintbrush and lupine

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20190824_102625Patridge foot

IMG_7584Mt. Jefferson, Goat Peak (behind the tree) and the Cathedral Rocks.

As the trail crossed a cinder field glimpses to the south between trees reveled the Three Sisters (among others).
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IMG_7588South Cinder Peak

IMG_7591The Three Sisters

IMG_7594Three Fingered Jack

The trail briefly lost sight of Mt. Jefferson as it passed around a butte, losing a little elevation as it did so.
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IMG_7597Paintbrush in a meadow behind the butte.

Although the view of Mt. Jefferson was temporarily gone the view was still good. There was a large basin full of meadows just below the trail and occasional views of South Cinder Peak and Three Fingered Jack.
IMG_7602South Cinder Peak

IMG_7603Three Fingered Jack

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The trail gained a little of the elevation back as it came around the butte regaining a view of Mt. Jefferson in the process.
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After passing another sign for the Pamelia Limited Entry Area at a now abandoned (but still used) portion of the Hunts Creek Trail we arrived at the Pacific Crest Trail.
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We sat on some rocks here and rested. We were now at least 8 miles (that is the mileage Reeder assigns but with some extra exploring we’d done a bit more) from the Bingham Ridge Trailhead and needed a good break. Up until this point we’d only run into one other person, a bow hunter along the Bingham Ridge Trail. As we rested in the shade a pair of backpackers heading south on the PCT stopped briefly to talk. After they continued on we did little bit of exploring in the immediate area since there were a few flowers about and at least one tree frog.
IMG_7619Mostly past lupine

20190824_110312Paintbrush

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We returned the way we’d come enjoying the views just as much on the way back as we had the first time by. We didn’t see anyone else the rest of the day and we didn’t see anymore pikas, but as always there were a few things we spotted on the way back that we hadn’t seen or noticed earlier.
IMG_7632Butterfly on an aster.

IMG_7636Never seen one of these looks so clean and smooth, it almost looked fake.

IMG_7660We don’t know if this was just a stunted wallflower or something we’d never seen before.

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We ended the day nearly out of water (luckily for us the temperatures stayed below 70 so it wasn’t too warm) and with some sore feet. Our GPS devices both showed us having traveled nearly 17 miles which was further than we’d planned but all the little side trips and exploring can really add up. Depsite the distance this was a great hike with varied scenery, good wildlife, and a reasonable elevation gain made better by the trails having such gradual grades. Of course any trail where we see multiple pikas is going to be aces in our minds. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Bingham Ridge

Cloud Cap to Elk Cove – 8/17/2019

For the grand finale hike of our August vacation we headed for Mt. Hood to do the section of the Timberline Trail from Cloud Cap to Elk Cove. We had been to Cloud Cap in 2016 during our hike up Cooper Spur (post) and we’ve visited Elk Cove a couple of times (most recently in 2017 post) via a western approach on the Timberline Trail. We had not however been on the 5 mile section of the Timberline Trail between the Coe Branch (we turned back at the crossing in 2014 post) and the Cloud Cap Saddle Campground.

We had a bit of a scare on the way to the trailhead as most of the drive was spent in a light drizzle which became heavier at Government Camp. At the White River sno-park Mt. Hood was hidden behind a layer of gray clouds but as we continued north on Highway 35 we emerged from the grey. By the time we were winding our way up Cloud Cap Road the sky was blue and there were no signs of the clouds hiding on the other side of the mountain. We parked at the Cloud Cap Trailhead and hiked through the campground to a pair of signboards marking the Timberline Trail.
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We turned right onto that trail and followed it through a short stretch of green trees before emerging into a recovering fire scar.
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The trail turns north toward Mt. Adams and away from Mt. Hood as it prepares to drop steeply into the gorge carved by the glacial Eliot Branch which could be heard roaring in the chasm below.
IMG_6951Mt. Adams ahead above the clouds.

We descended a series of switchbacks which provided ample views of Mt. Hood without having to strain our necks looking behind us.
IMG_6954Mt. Hood

The Eliot Branch has a reputation as being one of the trickier crossing on the mountain ever since a bridge was swept away over a decade ago. In fact the Timberline Trail had “officially” been closed for years (there were still unofficial crossings) until the Forest Service completed a reroute of the trail in 2016. As we neared the stream the first looks were impressive.
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The combination of the cloudy water, thundering noise, and swift current make glacial streams seem particularly daunting. Crossing earlier in the day minimizes the amount flow making morning crossings easier than those later in the afternoon or evening. We arrived at the crossing shortly before 8am so that was in our favor. There was also a promising looking log a bit downstream but it looked like it might be a tricky descent to reach it from this direction and we were (or at least I was) hoping to get a little fording practice in so we picked a reasonable looking spot and made our way through the water which was only just reaching our calves at its deepest.
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It was a fairly uneventful crossing except for having forgotten just how cold a glacial stream is. Brrrr!!

We had lost over 350′ of elevation getting down to the Eliot that needed to be made up now that we were across. The Timberline Trail gained over 500′ in the next three quarters of a mile as it climbed out of the canyon.
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IMG_6973We entered the Mt. Hood Wilderness on the way up.

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The burned trees allowed for fairly consistent views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
IMG_6980Mt. Adams

IMG_6981Mt. Rainier peaking over the clouds to the left of Mt. Adams.

IMG_6985Mt. Hood

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The trail leveled out near the 6000′ elevation and passed through a stand of green trees before arriving at a small wildflower lined stream. A pair of marmots ran into the rocks as we approached.
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IMG_7006Penstemon

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IMG_7008Monkeyflower

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IMG_7011Jacob’s ladder

IMG_7012Western Pasque flower

A second stream followed shortly after.
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20190817_082231Paintbrush

20190817_082250Lupine with a beetle.

Continuing on we passed a hillside covered with western pasque flower seed heads, often referred to as hippies on a stick.
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As we rounded a ridge end we stopped to talk to a backpacker going in the other direction. He asked if we were from the area and wanted to know which mountains he had been seeing to the north. In addition to Adams and Rainier, Mt. St. Helens was just barely visible from that spot which we were able to point out to him.
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We rounded the forested ridge and came to a large rock field below the Langille Crags.
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Just over a mile from the Eliot crossing we arrived at the first of Compass Creeks three branches.
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Compass Creek is fed by the Langille Glacier and each branch sports a waterfall above the Timberline Trail.
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A short scramble up the rocks along the creek brought us to the base of the falls.
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IMG_7076Mt. Adams from Compass Creek.

IMG_7079Wildflowers along Compass Creek.

IMG_7083Monkeyflower and paintbrush

IMG_7101Hummingbird near Compass Creek.

After admiring the falls we continued on rounding two small ridges before arriving at the middle branch of Compass Creek .3 miles from the first.
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This branch didn’t have nearly the amount of water as the first leaving the waterfall a little wispy.
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There was yet another stream a short distance away which was putting on a wonderful wildflower display including a nice combination of pink and yellow monkeyflowers.
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IMG_7123Lupine, paintbrush and monkeyflower.

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This alpine stream was sublime and a reminder of why Mt. Hood is such a wonderful place. We kept going passing an aster covered hillside and then another meadow full of other types of flowers.
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It was another .3 miles between the middle and final branches of Compass Creek where another waterfall crashed down behind a snow bridge.
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After crossing the final branch of Compass Creek the trail headed down a ridge along the creek passing views of a lower waterfall.
IMG_7157Mt. Adams (again) from Compass Creek.

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IMG_7164Waterfall on Compass Creek below the Timberline Trail.

In the next mile we passed through a wildflower meadow, green trees, a fire scar, and lost 350′ of elevation before arriving at yet another little stream.
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The trail then headed downhill more quickly as we approached the Coe Branch.
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A little over a mile and a half from Compass Creek we arrived at the Coe Branch and were pleased to find a pair of nice makeshift log bridges spanning the stream.
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The crossing was no issue at all and we soon found ourselves climbing away from the Coe.
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The climb away from the Coe Branch wasn’t nearly as steep as the descent had been and after three quarters of a mile we arrived at a sign for Elk Cove.
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We followed the trail into the meadow where the view of Mt. Hood and Barrett Spur (post) was as impressive as always.
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We explored a bit and then rested at a familiar spot along the stream that flows through Elk Cove.
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After resting and soaking in the scenery we headed back. We stopped again below Compass Creek Falls where we watched a hummingbird moth visiting the monkeyflowers.
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When we had finally made it back to the Eliot crossing we used the log we’d seen that morning as suggested by some hikers who we passed shortly before reaching the stream.
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We actually wouldn’t have minded the ice cold water at that point, but the flow had increased now that it was after 1pm so the log was the safest option. We made the final climb back up to Cloud Cap taking our final look at Mt. Hood and the Eliot Glacier.
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The hike was 12.3 miles round trip with approximately 2700′ of cumulative elevation gain, most of which came from dropping down to and climbing up from the Eliot and Coe Branches. It was a perfect day, blue skies and cool temperatures, and there couldn’t have been a better way to end our 6 days of hiking. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Cloud Cap to Elk Cove