Tag Archives: Waldo Lake

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

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

Waldo Lake Wilderness Day 2 – Rigdon Lakes

After the 20+ mile hike the previous day we woke up at 5am feeling somewhat refreshed and happy to find that it wasn’t nearly as cold as it had been the morning before. A layer of clouds had moved in pushing out most of the smoke and trapping some heat in.
Morning at Waldo Lake5am clouds over Waldo Lake

We ate breakfast, packed up and then briefly hopped onto the Shoreline Trail following it to the signboard for the Wahanna Trail near Dam Camp.
Wahanna Trail

The Wahanna Trail quickly entered the Waldo Lake Wilderness and nearly as quickly entered the 1996 Taylor Burn fire scar.
Wahanna Trail entering the Waldo Lake Wilderness

Wahanna Trail

The Wahanna Trail passed around the west side of Rigdon Butte near the edge of a plateau above the North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River. Across the river valley was Waldo Mountain with Winchester Ridge extending to the north.
Rigdon Butte

Rigdon Butte

Waldo Mountain and Winchester Ridge

Although the area is still struggling to recover from the fire there was a lot of color and interesting sights along the route. We also spotted three deer as they bounded over a ridge.
Ponds along the Wahanna Trail

Pond along the Wahanna Trail

Meadow along the Wahanna Trail

Wahanna Trail

Buck

A little over a mile along the trail we spotted a larger body of water off to our right which we would later identify as Ernie Lake.
Ernie Lake

After 1.3 miles on the Wahanna Trail we arrived at a junction with the two mile long Rigdon Lakes Trail where we turned right.
Rigdon Lakes Trail

We quickly got our first view of Lake Kiwa which was larger than we’d expected and turned out to be our favorite lake (not named Waldo) of the trip.
Lake Kiwa

Lake Kiwa

The trail followed the lake shore south providing a nice view ahead of Rigdon Butte.
Rigdon Butte from Lake Kiwa

Beyond Lake Kiwa the trail climbed over a small ridge and arrived at Lower Rigdon Lake just a tenth of a mile later.
Lower Rigdon Lake

The trial passed around this lake to the left then climbed up and over another ridge to Upper Rigdon Lake.
Rigdon Lakes Trail along Lower Rigdon Lake

Upper and Lower Rigdon Lake

Upper Rigdon Lake

Upper Rigdon Lake was also quite nice with a couple of small islands adding character.
Upper Rigdon Lake

Beyond Upper Rigdon Lake the trail wound its way over and around small rocky ridges to the Waldo Lake Shoreline Trail.
Rigdon Lakes Trail

Rigdon Lakes Trail junction with the Waldo Lake Shoreline Trail

We turned left onto the Shoreline Trail and stayed left at forks opting to take a different (slightly shorter) route back to the trailhead instead of following the lake shore.
Jim Weaver LoopFirst left fork

Water for horses along the Jim Weaver Loop TrailSecond fork left at a “water for horses” sign

Jim Weaver Loop TrailThird left fork at a junction with the Shoreline Trail

Jim Weaver Loop TrailFourth left fork at another junction with the Shoreline Trail

We should have stopped with the fourth left hand fork when we arrive at a fifth fork, but the topographic map on the GPS showed we weren’t at the correct right hand fork to lead us back to the trailhead.
Jim Weaver Loop TrailFifth left fork which should have been a right.

We realized our mistake but then spotted a faint abandoned trail near the spot the trail was shown on the topographic map so we followed it for just over 100 yards to a picnic table across the parking lot from our car. It had been a nice 5.4 mile hike with scenery that exceeded our expectations. A great way to end our August hikes and get us ready for September. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Waldo Lake Wilderness Day 2 – Rigdon Lakes

Waldo Lake Wilderness Day 1 – Winchester Ridge and Eddeeleo Lakes Loop

We ended our August hikes with an overnight stay near Waldo Lake. After several days of smokey skies the weather had shifted and most of the smoke had been pushed out of the area. The exception to that was the smoke being produced by the Terwilliger Fire burning east of Eugene along Cougar Reservior and into the Three Sisters Wilderness. 😦

We were hoping that the smoke from that fire wasn’t going to be aimed right at us all weekend.  Things were off to a good start when we arrived at the Jim Weaver Trailhead at the north end of Waldo Lake. The sky was a crisp blue but the sky wasn’t the only thing that was crisp. The temperature gauge in the car had read 36 degrees when we’d parked.
Jim Weaver Loop Trailhead

Diamond Peak from Waldo Lake

From the parking area we walked down to boat ramp and turned right at a Shoreline Trail sign.
Shoreline Trail

Initially the trail passed through green trees with occasional views across the lake to Diamond Peak and Fuji Mountain (post).
Shoreline Trail

Diamond Peak and Fuji Mountain from Waldo Lake

Diamond Peak and Fuji Mountain from Waldo LakeDiamond Peak to the left and Fuji Mountain directly behind the island

Soon the trail entered the fire scar of the 1996 Taylor Burn.
Waldo Lake

Diamond Peak and Fuji Mountain from Waldo Lake

Despite the frosty morning the wildlife was out in force.
Frost on the Shoreline Trail

Bluebird

Tree full of birds

Golden-mantled ground squirrel

Bald eagle

After 2.3 miles we passed a trail signboard for the Rigdon Lakes Trail. We planned on returning the next day via that trail so for the time being we stuck to the Shoreline Trail for an additional 1.4 miles to another trail signboard, this time marking the Wahanna Trail. Along the way we’d passed Conim Lake on our right just a bit before leaving the Talor Burn fire scar.
Conim Lake near the edge of the 1996 Taylor Burn

Wahanna TrailWahanna Trail

Just beyond the Wahanna Trail junction we came to the North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River flowing from Waldo Lake.
Footbridge over the North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River

North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River

A side trail to the left here led passed a small outbuilding to Dam Camp where we had hoped to find a camp site but that area was already spoken for so we settled for a spot further back from lake.
Some sort of monitoring station

Outlet of Waldo LakeDam Camp is to the left in the trees and rhododendron

Campsite near Waldo Lake

This worked out to be a fine spot despite not being close to the lake as it was closer to the Wahanna Trail which we would be taking then next day on our way to the Rigdon Lakes Trail. After getting camp set up we put on our day packs and continued beyond the river crossing just a tenth of a mile to a fork where the Wahanna Trail forked downhill to the right (the Wahanna and Shoreline Trail briefly share tread).
Wahanna Trail splitting to the right from the Shoreline Trail

The trail promptly entered the Waldo Lake Wilderness.
Entering the Waldo Lake Wilderness

Just a quarter mile from the fork the trail forked again. This time the Wahanna Trail forked to the left while the right hand fork was the Six Lakes Trail.
Wahanna Trail to the left and the Six Lakes Trail to the right

Here we faced a choice. If we stayed left we could complete a long loop past Lake Chetlo and along Winchester Ridge and eventually following the Six Lakes Trail from its other end past the Quinn and Eddeeleo Lakes. Alternatively we could go right and after visiting the lakes turn back or decide to complete the loop in the opposite direction. We were feeling ambitious and felt up to the loop so we decided to go left. This way we would be saving the bulk of the lakes for the end of the loop.
Wahanna Trail

The trail remained relatively level for the next mile passing through a forest full of huckleberry bushes and several small meadows.
Wahanna Trail

Meadow along the Wahanna Trail

It was along this section that we encountered the only other people we would see during the loop. After 1.2 miles we spotted Lake Chetlo through the trees on our left.
Lake Chetlo

Lake Chetlo

Expecting to find a side trail down to the lake we continued on but the trail began to climb up and away from the lake. Less than a quarter mile later we were at a junction with the Winchester Ridge Trail and that had been the only look we had at Lake Chetlo.
Wahanna Trail junction with the Winchester Ridge Trail

We turned right onto the Winchester Ridge Trail which climbed steeply for a little over half a mile to another junction. We had been on this section of trail before in 2012 as we were coming down from the Waldo Mountain Lookout and heading for Elbow Lake (post).
Winchester Ridge Trail

We turned right at this junction as well to continue on the Winchester Ridge Trail which now leveled out somewhat as it traveled along the ridge.
Winchester Ridge Trail

The blue skies from the morning were quickly being replaced by smoke from the Terwilliger Fire as we made our way along Winchester Ridge. There aren’t many views from this trail to begin with and the couple that we did get we could just barely make out the Three Sisters to the NE.
South Sister through smoke

Smoke from the Terwilliger Fire obscuring the view of South SisterSouth Sister

Smokey view from the Winchester Ridge Trail

The Three SistersThe Three Sisters

View from the Winchester Ridge TrailRigdon Butte beyond the Eddeeleo Lakes from the Winchester Ridge Trail

Not only does the Winchester Ridge Trail suffer form a lack of views, but there aren’t many distinguishable landmarks along the way. A little over two and a half miles from the fork though the Waldo Meadows Trail came up from the left.
Waldo Meadows Trail to the left and the Winchester Ridge Trail to the right

That trail went downhill for .5 steep miles to Swann and then Gander Lakes, neither of which we could not see from the Winchester Ridge Trail. The trail climbed briefly beyond this junction before descending to yet another junction with a trail on the left. This time with the Winchester Trail, a total of 1.8 miles from the Waldo Meadows Trail.
Winchester Ridge Trail

Winchester Ridge Trail junction with the Winchester Trail

The Winchester Ridge Trail ends at the Winchester Trail. We stayed straight at the junction and followed the Winchester Trail for a half mile to its end at the Blair Lake Trail.
Winchester Trail

Blair Lake Trail sign

We turned right onto the Blair Lake Trail.
Blair Lake Trail

We had hiked the western end of this trail in 2015 on what remains to this day as the best beargrass hike ever. (post)

The Blair Lake Trail descended for a mile to Lower Quinn Lake which was unfortunately suffering from the increased smoke.
Lower Quinn Lake

After a brief stop at the lake we continued on the Blair Lake Trial for another quarter mile before reaching the signed junction with the Six Lakes Trail.
Blair Lake Trail junction with the Six Lakes Trail

Six Lakes Trail

We turned right onto this trail which climbed gradually for the next half mile to a fork where we went right to visit Upper Quinn Lake.
Upper Quinn Lake

Although the smoke wasn’t bad enough to cause us any issues with breathing or our eyes it was putting a damper on the views of the lakes. At Upper Quinn Lake we found a few empty campsites and lots of little frogs.
Frog at Upper Quinn Lake

Frog

Somewhere along the way we wound up losing the trail (most likely in one of the campsites) and had to bushwack back to the Six Lakes Trail. Once we had regained the trial we turned right and in just a tenth of a mile spotted the northern end of Long Lake beyond a grassy meadow.
Long Lake

Again we erroneously assumed there would be obvious side trails leading to the lake but the Six Lakes Trail passed on the opposite side of a rocky ridge for nearly a mile which hid the lake from sight.
Six Lakes Trail

When the GPS showed that we were nearly past the lake we decided to try and bushwack through the rhododendron to the southern end of the lake. We had managed to make it most of the way there when we spotted a tent set up near the shore. Not wanting to stumble into someones camp we settled for an obstructed view through the trees.
Long Lake

Long Lake

We left Long Lake and continued for another half mile toward Lower Eddeeleo Lake. Shortly before reaching the lake there was an obvious side trail to the left.
Side trail at Lower Eddeeleo Lake

This side trail led across a dry outlet creek to an open area along the lake shore. We took a longer break here. We could just make out the old Waldo Mountain Lookout through the smoke.
Waldo Mountain from Lower Eddeeleo Lake

Waldo Mountain

Waldo Mountain Lookout

We might have taken an even longer break if not for the yellow jackets who were just a little too interested in us for my liking. We left the lower lake and returned to the Six Lakes Trail which climbed a short way above the lower lake which was barely visible through the trees.
Six Lakes Trail

Lower Eddeeleo Lake

Just under one and three quarter miles from the side trail to Lower Eddeeleo Lake we came to a short side trail to Upper Eddeeleo Lake on our right. We stopped again briefly at this lake which had a little sunlight glinting off the water.
Waldo Mountain from Upper Eddeeleo Lake

The next lake on the map was Round Lake which lay below and to the east of Upper Eddeeleo Lake. The Six Lakes Trail wound around the lake but never got very close to it and the one side trail we spotted heading to the lake would have required a steeper climb back up than either of us were willing to do at that point so we once again settled for a very limited view through the trees.
Round Lake through the trees

The Six Lakes Trail climbed up a ridge away from Round Lake for the final mile of its 6.6 mile length before dumping us back out on the Wahanna Trail.
Six Lakes Trail

According to our GPS we had hiked a total of 19.4 miles at that point and still had the quarter mile climb back up to the Waldo Lake Shoreline Trail. We had known that this was going to be a long day but by our calculations we were expecting closer to a 17 mile day. We had also brought our dinner with us thinking we could eat it at one of the lakes, but between the smoke, yellow jackets, and a few hardy mosquitoes we hadn’t found a spot where we really wanted to sit for an extended time.

When we got back to the Shoreline Trail we turned right (away from camp) hoping to find a spot along Waldo Lake to eat. Fortunately we only had to go about 100 yards where we found a trail down to the rocky sore across from Dam Camp.
Waldo Lake with some smoke

Even better was the fact that the smoke was starting to move out of the immediate area bringing back some of the blue sky from the morning.
Waldo Lake

We tried a new meal, three cheese chicken pasta, which wound up being underwhelming. It sort of fit with much of the day. The hike was nice but nothing really stood out and the smokey conditions at the lakes didn’t help. It also seemed like most of the lakes were very similar in that they were surrounded by forested hillsides but nothing dramatic.

We sat out on the rocks for quite a while watching a paddle boarder and a canoe float around on the lake as well as having some mergansers swim by.
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It was quite a bit busier at the lake than where we normally camp and after getting a little chilly and returning to our tent to put on some extra clothing we noticed that a family? that had set up camp near where we had eaten had lit a campfire. Just a couple of days earlier the Willamette National Forest had announced a ban on all campfires and we had seen numerous posted signs that morning. On top of the illegal campfire we were also being treated to the melodious (NOT) sounds of someones portable music player. Thankfully the music died down and at one point we heard someone yell to the family that they needed to put the fire out. We went to bed hoping that the next day would be just a bit better. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Waldo Lake Wilderness Day 1

Maiden Peak

Labor Day weekend finally brought some cooler temperatures to the Cascades. We had planned an overnight trip for Sat/Sun in the Maiden Peak area. Located to the NE of Willamette Pass Maiden Peak is the tallest point between Mt. Bachelor and Diamond Peak. The 7818′ shield volcano is also Oregon’s 29th most prominent peak(Prominence is how far you must drop before you start going up a higher peak).

Our plan for the visit was to park at the Pacific Crest Trailhead .3 miles east of the Willamette Pass Ski Area and take the PCT past the Rosary Lakes then take the Maiden Lake Trail to Maiden Lake where we would hopefully find a campsite. After setting up camp we’d hike up Maiden Peak before spending the night at the lake. The weather forecast called for a chance of isolated showers and an overnight low of 34 degrees so we had to remember to bring a few extra items that we hadn’t needed yet this year.

We arrived at the trailhead just after 7am.
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From the trailhead a short connector path brought us to the Pacific Crest Trail which slowly climbed for about 2 miles through a nice forest with no clear views of the surrounding area.
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The trail passed a rockslide at the 2.25 mile mark where we had hoped to see a pika but had to settle for hearing their warning “meeps” instead.
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About a half mile from the rockslide we arrived at Lower Rosary Lake. This is the largest of the three lakes and there were a couple of tents in the area. Despite the forecast we had beautiful bluebird skies overhead and no breeze whatsoever leading to some great reflections in the lake.
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To the north Maiden Peak rose above the forest.
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On the opposite side of the trail was a small steaming pond.
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A short climb from Lower Rosary Lake brought us to Middle Rosary Lake where we spotted some mergansers paddling away.
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Pulpit Rock loomed above this lake making for a dramatic scene.
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A narrow strip of land separated Middle Rosary Lake from North Rosary Lake.
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Beyond North Rosary Lake the PCT began to climb up toward Maiden Saddle. Just under 1.5 miles from the first view of Lower Rosary Lake, and .4 miles short of Maiden Saddle, we reached the junction with the Maiden Lake Trail.
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We left the PCT here and headed toward Maiden Lake. This trail traversed the side of Maiden Peak passing a couple of small ponds as it climbed to the lake.
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It was approximately 2.3 miles from the junction to Maiden Lake with an elevation gain of around 500′ which isn’t a lot, but the elevation gains came in short steep chunks. We were starting to get a little tired so we were relieved when we crested a hill and spotted a sign for Maiden Lake.
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We spotted the beautiful green of Maiden Lake from above and quickly made our way down to the lake.
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It was smaller than the Rosary Lakes and lacked the dramatic views that Pulpit Rock had provided those lakes, but it had it’s own peaceful charm. There weren’t any other tents at the lake so we had our pick of spots.  Following Leave No Trace principles we chose a spot back in the trees away from the lake.
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After getting our camp set up we switched to our daypacks and returned to the Maiden Lake Trail.
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A fairly level .6 miles brought us to another trail junction. From here the Maiden Lake Trail continues 2.5 miles to Forest Road 4664-100, but we turned uphill following a pointer for Maiden Peak.
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The trail toward Maiden Peak gained almost 1200′ in 1.7 miles with some very steep sections. Our original plan had been to return from the peak this way and then come back up and around on a loop using the PCT on our way back to the trailhead on the second day. We had already changed our minds and were planning on continuing on the loop after climbing up Maiden Peak and then just hiking straight back out on the second day. As we climbed these steep sections of trail that decision seemed justified.

As we approached a rock outcropping, views finally opened up to the south and we were able to get a good look at Diamond Peak.
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The trail was quite steep as it passed along the rock outcrop but the views continued to open up which sort of made up for the effort.
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Mt. Thielsen beyond Crescent Lake
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Mt. Bailey
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In addition to the steepness of the trail the tread along the upper portion was pretty loose making it even more challenging.
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There was a trail junction a quarter mile from the summit of Maiden Peak marked by several rock cairns.
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The loop we were planning on doing made a hairpin turn around a small stand of trees while the summit trail lay straight ahead. The summit trail passed a small crater as it wound its way up.
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Numerous Clark’s nutcrackers were noisily flying among the whitebark pines gracing the peaks slopes.
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The views from Maiden Peak were great. The weather was cooperating, with the exception of the Three Sisters and Mt. Jefferson, the clouds that were present were adding to views and not obstructing them. The view north included Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor beyond Crane Prairie Reservoir.
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The NW view included little Bobby Lake below the Twins and Waldo Lake.
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To the west was Fuji Mountain, Mt. Ray, and Waldo Lake.
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Fuji Mountain
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SW was the Willamette Pass Ski Area on Eagle Peak, pointy Mt. Yoran and Diamond Peak.
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Mt. Yoran
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To the south Lower Rosary Lake and Pulpit Rock were visible along with Odell and Crescent Lakes and a number of Cascade Peaks.
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Mount Scott, Tipsoo Butte & Howlock Mountain, Llao Rock, and Hillman Peak
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Mt. Scott
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To the east Paulina Peak was the highest point on the horizon beyond Wickiup Reservoir, Davis Mountain, and Davis Lake.
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The NE side of Maiden Peak was home to several volcanic features.
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Remains of the former lookout tower could be seen at the summit.
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We spent awhile exploring the broad summit and taking the opportunity to eat a little lunch before continuing on our planned loop. At the unsigned junction we turned right and headed downhill toward the Pacific Crest Trail which was 2.7 miles away. While the hike up had been steep this section of trail had it beat. We passed five mountain bikers headed uphill, the first two had been resigned to walking their bikes up, the second pair was struggling and looking for an inhaler, and the final rider was also struggling greatly.
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Another option I had considered when planning the trip was to come up this way to Maiden Peak with our backpacks before heading down the other side to Maiden Lake. Once again we were glad we had settled on our current plan.

The trail began to level out near the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.
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Mountain bikes are banned on the PCT so they come up using the Maiden Peak Trail. We however turned left on PCT and continued downhill toward Maiden Saddle.
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The PCT was a more gradual descent and it was a fairly easy walk for the next .7 miles where we took a side trail to the Maiden Peak Shelter.
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The shelter was only about a hundred yards off the PCT and it was by far the nicest shelter we’ve visited while on a trail. Solar powered, the shelter can sleep up to 15 and includes a wood stove, tables, and chairs.
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We were the only hikers at the shelter although entries in the guest book showed that other hikers had visited earlier in the morning. Several of the locals were out, possibly part of the neighborhood watch.
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From the shelter it was just under two miles to Maiden Saddle and another .4 miles back to the Maiden Lake Trail. Heather had brought the bags of Doritos that she had left over from handing them out to thru-hikers on the PCT in the Sky Lakes Wilderness since we would be spending more time on trail during this trip. We ran into our first thru-hiker between the shelter and Maiden Saddle. His name was Horse Whistler (a.k.a. James) and this was his first time in Oregon. It was nice to hear he was really enjoying the state so far and he couldn’t believe how much trail magic he’d encountered since entering Oregon. He was really looking forward to getting to the Three Sisters area and spending a day in Bend. After a nice conversation he was off to check out the shelter and we were on the look out for a view of the Rosary Lakes that he had good things to say about.

The viewpoint was above but not far from Maiden Saddle and exactly as Forest Whistler had described. The Rosary Lakes were lined up with Odell and Crescent Lakes.
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One of the locals was already there enjoying the view when we arrived.
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From the viewpoint the trail descended to Maiden Saddle via a couple of switchbacks.
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Another couple of switchbacks brought us down to the Maiden Lake Trail where we turned left and retraced our steps from earlier in the day.
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Heather handed out one final bag of chips to a gracious hiker who said they were going to go perfectly with his dinner before we’d turned onto the Maiden Lake Trail. The lake was just as pretty this time around.
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Instead of heading down to the lake on the trail we had taken earlier we stayed on the trail above the lake where there was a nice view of Maiden Peak with the lake below.
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This time we just headed down to our campsite where we grabbed our dinner, stove, and camp chairs before making our way to the lake. Where we once again were the only ones at the lake and we set up our chairs on a little sandy beach.
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It was already getting a little chilly, especially whenever a passing cloud would block the Sun and/or the breeze kicked up.
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When the Sun was out and the wind calm it was just about as perfect as it gets though. After a nice break at the lake we had dinner then decided to see if we could hike around the lake while we looked for a good place to filter water. We headed around counter-clockwise following a faint path to another campsite that was closer to the lake than it probably should have been. The lake was deeper along the shore here and we refilled our water supply before continuing on. The hillside grew steeper along the north side of the lake and we were forced to sidehill over and around some blowdown before being able to drop down to the sandy lakeshore on the southern end of the lake. Along the way we had a nice view back across the lake to our dinner spot.
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It was a little after 6:15 when we completed our loop and we tried sitting by the lake a little longer, but between the breeze and the vanishing sunlight it was a little too chilly without pulling out some of our warmer gear. Instead of retrieving some of our warmer clothing and going back down to the lake we decided to turn in for the evening. We had had a long day, waking up at 3:30am and then hiking a total of 19.4 (according to the GPS). I was asleep by eight and Heather thought she nodded off shortly after, about 8:30.

We were interested in seeing how well we would be able to stay warm overnight in near freezing temperatures. We both slept well and were able to sleep until almost 6am. It had definitely gotten a lot colder overnight than it had on any of our other overnight trips this year. We made good use of our down jackets as we packed up camp and ate breakfast down by the lake.
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We were headed back to our car by 7:15 planning on returning the way we’d come past the Rosary Lakes. One of the things we try and do is familiarize ourselves with the distances of the different sections of trail we’re hiking to break up the distances. As we were headed back to the PCT we stopped to look at our map from William Sullivan’s book to do just that when the idea of returning via the Willamette Pass Ski Area came up. It appeared more direct and I failed to pay attention to the fact that the section from the top of Eagle Peak down to the ski area did not have a distance noted leading me to believe it would be almost 2 miles shorter. Heather caught that but it was too early in the morning for me to comprehend what she was attempting to point out. Either way she was game for taking a different route though so when we got back to the PCT we turned right and climbed back up to Maiden Saddle.
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We followed the pointer for the Taits Loop sticking to the main trail until we could see what looked like a roadbed above and to our right.
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This was actually the Boundary Pass ski run which we began to follow uphill.
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The sky had been blue at Maiden Lake but by the time we had reached the saddle low clouds were passing overhead and now Maiden Peak was completely socked in.
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The Boundary Pass run headed steeply uphill toward Peak 2 which we did not need to climb so we stuck to the cat/road bed which turned into the Kris Kross run.
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This run crossed the Southbound run coming from the Peak 2 Lift and continued on to the summit of Eagle Peak.
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In previous years a gondola has operated from the Willamette Pass Ski Area during the Summer months allowing mountain bikers and hikers to catch a lift to the top of Eagle Peak for a fee, but it apparently never opened in 2016. The only views we had were down to part of Odell Lake across Highway 58 and straight down the Eagle Peak Accelerator Lift to the ski area.
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It looked too steep and brushy for us to attempt to go straight downhill from the lift so we turned down the Kaleidoscope run which headed SE at a more gentle grade.
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It was an easier walk but it was swinging us out wider than we really wanted and the first two ski runs we passed that would have headed us more in the direction we wanted, Good Time Charlie and Eagle’s Flight, both looked too steep. We finally spotted what looked like a good option marked by a sign that simply read “Sport”.
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This path traversed back along the hillside through the trees recrossing Eagle’s Flight and Good Time Charlie below their steeper sections.
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Looking up Eagle’s Flight
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Even though we were headed back in the direction we wanted we weren’t losing much elevation so when we reached Good Time Charlie we turned downhill.
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This run ended when it joined the Perseverance run which led straight to the ski area.
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The trailhead was actually .3 miles east of the ski area so we didn’t need to get all the way there so when we spotted the Sleepy Hollow chair lift to our left we began looking for a path down to it.
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We found a path through the trees and headed for the lift. The ski lodge and the unused gondolas where off to our right.
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From the Sleepy Hollow lift a nordic trail followed an old road bed to the Pacifc Crest Trail near the highway maintenance shed.
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It was just a few hundred feet along the PCT to the junction with the trail from the Willamette Pass Trailhead and an even short distance to our waiting car.
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In the end our route back turned out to be about .3 miles shorter (6.1 vs 6.4) than it would have been if we’d gone back by the Rosary Lakes, but it gained over 500 more feet of elevation. It was worth it though just to check out the ski area and made for a nice variety on the way back to the car. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157672347862022

South Waldo Lake

South Waldo Lake is a hike that had been bumped for the schedule the past two years for various reasons. Last year it was due to the nearby Deception Creek Fire which caused the area to be rather smokey at times. Smokey conditions were exactly what prompted us to move this hike up two weeks on our schedule and finally do it. We had originally planned on making our first visit to the Indian Heaven Wilderness in Washington but scrapped those plans when the forecast called for a shift in wind direction that would flood that area with smoke from the Cougar Creek Fire near Mt. Adams. The forecast for the Waldo Lake Wilderness looked quite a bit more appealing. It called for hazy skies but it didn’t appear that smoke from any of the numerous fires would be heading directly for that area.

It was a beautiful morning as we began our hike from the Shadow Bay Boat Launch on Waldo Lake.
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There was a little haze on the horizon but the skies were blue overhead. There was a good bit of wind blowing which made for a cold morning as we headed along the Shore Trail.
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Occasional glimpses of Waldo Lake revealed the clear blue waters of the second largest natural lake in Oregon.
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At the 1.7 mile mark we arrived at the South Waldo Shelter. It was one of the nicest and well stocked shelters we’d visited.
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Just beyond the shelter after crossing a footbridge we arrived at a junction with the South Waldo Trail. Here we left the Shore Trail and entered the Waldo Lake Wilderness.
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We followed this trail through the wilderness for 1.6 miles passing small meadows and a pond to a four way trail junction.
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The trail left the wilderness just before reaching the junction. At the junction there were signs and flagging up for a trail run that was happening that morning. We had seen the runners preparing for the race when we were driving to the trailhead and had wondered where their course was. A runner was just passing the junction as we arrived and we cheered him on before continuing. We were a little distracted by the signs and runners and wound up taking the wrong trail. We had meant to take the first trail on the right but had not seen the correct one as the race organizers had laid some branches down across it so the runners wouldn’t take a wrong turn. We were on the race course now heading in the opposite direction of the runners. We moved and offered support as they passed by. We hadn’t gone too far before we both began to get the feeling we had taken the wrong path at the junction. A quick check of the GPS confirmed our suspicions and we hustled back to the junction.
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This time we saw the partly obscured path and headed toward Black Meadows. We reentered the wilderness and climbed up and over a ridge.
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The trail led down to Black Meadows at the base of Fuji Mountain (A hike we did in October of 2013 https://wanderingyuncks.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/fuji-mountain/).
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On the far end of the meadows we arrived at the High Divide Trail. This trail starts at Road 381 and leads to the Shore Trail along Waldo Lake.
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We turned right on the High Divide Trail toward Waldo Lake and began to climb up toward Bingo Lake. The trail had quite a few downed trees across it but none were too difficult to go over or around.
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As we climbed we could see Fuji Mountain behind us.
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In front of us was a forest that showed signs of an old burn and was now filled with berry bushes.
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We stopped at Bingo Lake which was a peaceful little lake and a great place for a break.
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The High Divide Trail headed downhill from Bingo Lake to its junction with the Shore Trail along Waldo Lake.
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We turned right on the Shore Trail passing the shelter in .6 miles and arriving back at the trailhead after another 1.7 miles. Along the way we stopped along the lake shore to take in a view of Twin Peaks and the Middle and South Sister across the lake.
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It had turned out to be a really nice day with only a slight amount of haze on the horizon and we were really glad that we had decided on this hike. We were even happier with our choice when we arrived back in the Willamette Valley to find it inundated with smoke. Eastern winds had funneled smoke from fires as far east as Idaho down the Columbia Gorge and then into the valley. It was a stark contrast to the blue skies above the Waldo Lake Wilderness. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157655297413233

Fuji Mountain

After a (well timed) scheduled week off we were back on the trails this past weekend. A highly unusual storm had rolled through as September gave way to October. Not only had this storm brought record amounts of precipitation but some of that precipitation fell as snow as low as 4000′. The hike we had planned, Fuji Mountain, topped out at 7144′ so we weren’t sure if it was going to be doable but some warmer weather moved in and we decided to give it a go. If we managed to make it up to the summit we knew the views should be great, and worst case scenario we could just choose a different lower trail in the area.

Fuji Mountain is located in the Waldo Lake Wilderness near Highway 58. A pair of trail heads lead to the summit. From the SW a 1.5 mile option starts on road 5883 making for a nice short hike. We chose to start from road 5897 (Waldo Lake road) to lengthen the hike a bit and visit some of the areas many lakes.

The trail begins just below 5000′ and started out snow free, but that didn’t last for long. We quickly began seeing snow along the trail and then on the trail itself. We followed a single set of hikers prints as we climbed up toward the first of the lakes.
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They weren’t the only set of prints in the snow. 🙂

Black bear print
Black bear print

It wasn’t long before there was more snow covered trail than not but the snow wasn’t very deep, only on occasion measuring 6″. The trail climbed for about a mile then gently rolled along a plateau dotted with ponds and lakes for another 2.5 miles. Many of these were at least partly frozen making for some pretty scenery.

Half frozen pond
Half frozen pond
Mushrooms under ice
Mushrooms under ice
Birthday Lake
Birthday Lake
Reflections on Birthday Lake
Reflections on Birthday Lake

Shortly after crossing the South Waldo Trail the Fuji Mountain Trail began climbing again. In another mile we met up with the trail coming from road 5883 and began the final 1.2 mile climb to the summit. Here there were more hiker tracks in the snow but we only saw one other couple who were on their way down after spending the night on the summit.

As we climbed we began to have views of snowy Diamond Peak and Mt. Thielsen to the south, but these views paled in comparison to what awaited at the summit. When we arrived at the summit a 360 degree view awaited with Waldo Lake and a string of snowy peaks to the north and more mountains to the south. To the east lay Wickiup Reservoir and Odell Lake with distant Paulina Peak and nearby Maiden Peak in between. To the west were the foothills leading to the Willamette Valley.

Waldo Lake and the Cascades
Waldo Lake and the Cascades
Cowhorn Mountain, Mt. Thielsen, Hillman Peak and Diamond Peak
Cowhorn Mountain, Mt. Thielsen, Hillman Peak and Diamond Peak
Looking west along the summit ridge of Fuji Mountain
Looking west along the summit ridge of Fuji Mountain

It was a beautiful day at the summit, sunny and warm with no wind. We took our time eating lunch and enjoying the tranquility before heading back down. On the way out Heather and I decided to take a brief side trip along the South Waldo Trail to the Island Lakes. It was around half a mile to Lower Island Lake with it’s green water and tiny rock island. Just up and across the trail from Lower Island Lake was Upper Island Lake which also had a small rocky island.

Lower Island Lake's island
Lower Island Lake’s island
Lower Island Lake
Lower Island Lake
Upper Island Lake
Upper Island Lake

The warm weather made the return trip pretty slushy as the snow was melting fairly quickly. When we arrived back at the half frozen pond the scene had changed quite a bit.

The no longer half frozen pond
The no longer half frozen pond

We all really enjoyed being able to take a hike through the snow and it made for a nice change of pace. I don’t know if the early snow is a sign of things to come or just a fluke but it was enjoyable. Happy Trails!

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