Categories
Hiking Mt. Adams Trip report Washington Washington Cascades

Sleeping Beauty & Foggy Flat Backpack Day One- 08/01/2020

Our first backpacking trip of the year was over Memorial Day weekend (post) but since then we hadn’t had an opportunity to break out our tent. Sleeping Beauty, a 3 mile featured hike in Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” (4th edition), gave us a reason to put the tent to use again.

It wasn’t because the hike to the top of Sleeping Beauty was backpackable, but rather the 2:45 drive time to the trailhead was too long for this to be a stand alone hike for us. To make the trip worth the drive we decided to continued to nearby Mt. Adams and do a hike to Foggy Flat from Matt Reeder’s “PDX Hiking 365” guidebook.

We began our trip by driving to Trout Lake, WA then continued on to the Sleeping Beauty Trailhead.
IMG_2359

The trail climbed steeply up through a green forest for a mile to a forested saddle. Most of the flowers had passed but a few lingered and the pearly everlasting was getting started. Thimbleberries weren’t quite ripe but we did find a few strawberries to snack on.
IMG_2374

IMG_2376Beardstongue

IMG_2377Pearly everlasting next to thimbleberry bushes.

IMG_2371Not quite ready yet.

IMG_2381

Near the saddle we got our first look at the rock feature that is Sleeping Beauty from the trail (it is visible on the drive).
IMG_2392

The trail bends to the right (ignore a fainter trail heading left) at the saddle continuing through the trees.
IMG_2394

Another bit of climbing brought us beneath the rocks.
IMG_2411

The trail switchbacked its way up amid the rocks up stonework ramps gaining views of the surrounding Cascade mountains along the way.
IMG_2414Mt. Adams

IMG_2415Goat Rocks (post) to the left beyond Mt. Adams

IMG_2417Looking down at some of the switchbacks.

IMG_2419Mt. St. Helens in the distance.

IMG_2424The top of Mt. Rainier.

IMG_2426Mt. Hood to the South.

IMG_2431_stitchMt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams.

IMG_2448Indian Heaven Wilderness

It was fairly windy up on the rocks, just windy enough to make us a little nervous when we got to the saddle near the top as we had to push back a bit against it. Luckily the top is fairly wide and there was a least one place behind a rock where the wind was non-existent.
IMG_2430Looking east over the top of Sleeping Beauty.

20200801_084405_HDRLooking west to the true summit where a lookout once stood.

We were hoping to see a mountain goat as they do live here but alas we only saw some fur on a rock and a couple of bushes. The views would have to do and they did just fine. I scrambled over to the former lookout site after deciding it looked safe enough while Heather waited at the saddle.
IMG_2443

IMG_2455Mt. Hood from the foundation of the former lookout.

After a good long time exploring the area and enjoying the views we headed back down. We passed several groups of hikers heading up (just about everyone had a mask) so we were once again glad we’d gotten the early start to have the top to ourselves.

From the trailhead we drove back to Trout Lake and turned left onto Mount Adams Road aka Forest Road 23. (Google would have had us continue on the forest road we had been on to reach the Killen Creek Trailhead, but Google doesn’t always know the condition of the Forest Roads and I don’t either so we played it safe.)

We then followed Reeder’s direction to the Killen Creek Trailhead stopping along the way when Heather spotted a nice waterfall on Big Spring Creek.
IMG_2469Sign at a pullout along FR 23.

IMG_2471These were huge yellow monkeyflowers.

IMG_2476Big Spring Creek

After the brief stop we drove on. The final 9 miles on FR 23 was gravel but wide and not too bad. We turned off of the gravel onto the narrow, paved FR 2329 which was a nice break, but beyond the turn for Takhalakh Lake Campground this road also turned to gravel. It was not in the best condition and was fairly narrow and busy which made for a bit of a tedious final 6 miles to the Killen Creek Trailhead.
IMG_2479

IMG_2478

After attempting some gear repair (a hole in some clothing) we set off and quickly entered the Mt. Adams Wilderness.
IMG_2485

This was only our third visit to the wilderness with our first having been a hike from the South Climb Trailhead to Iceberg Lake in 2014 (post) and the second an overnight stay at Horseshoe Meadows in 2017 (post). (Apparently this is an every three year thing.)

The Killen Creek Trail climbed through the forest where we were pleased to find quite a few flowers were blooming. Little did we know what was coming.
IMG_2493Lupine along the trail.

IMG_2500

IMG_2501Arnica

IMG_2504Lousewort

IMG_2505More lupine along the trail.

IMG_2506Partridge foot and lupine.

IMG_2514Lupine, paintbrush and valerian.

IMG_2523Lupine along the trail which sees a good amount of equestrian use.

IMG_2526Mountain heather.

IMG_2529

As we continued to climb the number and types of flowers we were seeing kept increasing.
IMG_2536Yellow buttercups mixed in with the lupine, paintbrush and valerian.

IMG_2542Beardstongue, arnica and lupine.

IMG_2544Beargrass

Approximately 2.5 miles up the trail the flowers really started to explode as the trail began to level out a bit.
IMG_2553

IMG_2555

Over the next mile we gained views of Mt. Adams and crossed a small alpine stream all while being mesmerized by the flowers.
IMG_2563

IMG_2571

IMG_2582Lousewort

IMG_2586

IMG_2591

IMG_2595Elephants head near the stream.

IMG_2604Elephants head and a shooting star.

IMG_2601

IMG_2608

IMG_2612

20200801_125034Mountain heather

IMG_2620Phlox

As we gained elevation we also began to get glimpses of Mt. Rainier to the NW.
IMG_2626

IMG_2631

The views and flowers just kept getting better as we went.
IMG_2646

IMG_2652False hellebore amid the lupine.

20200801_130422

IMG_2665Paintbrush framed by trees.

IMG_2675Woolly pussytoes

After a little over 3.25 miles the Killen Creek Trail ended at the Pacific Crest Trail.
IMG_2685

We had been to this junction in 2017 when we had hiked the PCT north from Horseshoe Meadows. We had continued a few hundred feet before realizing that Killen Creek was still almost a mile away. This time we would be hiking beyond Killen Creek and so we turned left on the PCT and continued on.
IMG_2689

Where the Killen Creek Trail was heading for Mt. Adams the PCT was bending around the mountain. This made for more up and down hiking as opposed to steady climbing. Mt. Adams occasionally made an appearance over our right shoulders and the flowers continued to be amazing.
IMG_2692

IMG_2696

20200801_131817Cinquefoil

IMG_2702White and pink mountain heather, paintbrush and lupine above the PCT.

IMG_2706Shooting star

IMG_2733Violets

IMG_2737Coming in for a landing on groundsel.

IMG_2731

IMG_2739Aster

The Goat Rocks was soon fully visible between us and Mt. Rainier.
IMG_2744

IMG_2746_stitchGoat Rocks

A little under a mile from the Killen Creek Trail junction the PCT began a descent to Killen Creek Meadows.
IMG_2756

IMG_2761Aster and white seed heads

There were a couple of small ponds still holding water in the meadows and we noticed a lot of ripples in the water as we approached.
IMG_2764

It turned out to be pollywogs, and a lot of them.
IMG_2768

IMG_2772

IMG_2775Spirea

The PCT crossed Killen Creek on a footbridge just above a waterfall.
IMG_2781

IMG_2782Killen Creek and Mt. Adams.

There was a steep path down on this side of the falls but it looked like the PCT might have a good view of it on the other side of the creek so we opted not to head down. We figured the worst case scenario was that there wouldn’t be a view and we could just go down on the way back out.
IMG_2780

As we started to cross the bridge we noticed something in the creek nearby, it was an ouzel.
IMG_2785

There wasn’t a great view of the waterfall on the other side.
IMG_2791The waterfall from the PCT.

The PCT descended to a lower meadow where a trail led out to a campsite and another possible vantage point for the waterfall but the view was obscured so we put it on the to do list for the next day.
IMG_2792

From Killen Creek it was .2 flower filled miles to a junction with the Highline Trail.
IMG_2800Highline Trail ahead.

IMG_2801

Here we left the PCT as it continued on its way to Goat Rocks and beyond and turned up the Highline Trail. Not far from the junction we arrived at an unnamed lake with a reflection of Mt. Adams.
IMG_2804

IMG_2805

The wildflowers had been impressive thus far but the Highline Trail took it up a notch.
IMG_2809

IMG_2812Yellow arnica along the trail.

IMG_2813Beargrass in full bloom.

IMG_2818

IMG_2830

IMG_2836Subalpine mariposa lily

After a total of 1.7 miles on this trail we arrived at another junction. This time it was the Muddy Meadows Trail.
IMG_2838

IMG_2840Look more lupine that way.

We continued on the Highline Trail another mile before reaching Foggy Flat, a wet meadow near an unnamed creek.
IMG_2844Still tons of flowers.

IMG_2856Frog near Foggy Flat

IMG_2862Mt. Adams from Foggy Flat

IMG_2869Frog in a little stream at Foggy Flat.

IMG_2868Zoomed in

We walked along the meadow to the far end where the creek was located looking for tent sites. There was one occuppied site along the trail across from the meadow but that was about all we saw at first.
IMG_2874

The Highline Trail crossed the creek on a footbridge but then launched steeply uphill so we turned around and decided to check around the meadow more thoroughly for a suitable site.
IMG_2875

IMG_2881

IMG_2878Gentian

IMG_2884Elephants Head

We are fairly picky about our campsites. We do not like to camp on any vegetation, especially in meadows and we do our best to maintain a proper distance from water and trails. Unfortunately we are in the minority and it was obvious from the fire rings and smashed grasses that many others aren’t as selective (not to mention the TP – come on people). We finally managed to find an acceptable spot tucked into some trees.
IMG_2889

With camp established we took our daypacks out put our essentials plus dinner and the stove into them and set off across the creek on the Highline Trail. Reeder described the trail beyond Foggy Flat as having “incredible views” but also “difficult creek crossings”. Our plan was to go as far as the Muddy Fork crossing and unless it looked really easy turn back there.
IMG_2897Monkeyflower and willowherb along the creek.

The climb up from the creek was indeed steep and we were happy to just have our daypacks on.
IMG_2902Mt. Rainier behind us.

20200801_161001_HDR

IMG_2911The trail dropping steeply behind us on one of the steeper sections.

We passed several nice campsites as the terrain became more level at the edge of a lava flow. A couple of the sites were occupied. Despite the rockier conditions due to the lava flow the flower show continued.
IMG_2914Can you spot the yellow paintbrush?

Shortly after crossing another little creek we found ourselves in the lava field with an excellent view of Mt. Adams. We had been waiting for the clouds to break up all day and now they were starting to oblige.
IMG_2923

IMG_2926

IMG_2933

IMG_2934Buckwheat

We continued to follow the Highline Trail through the lava and past snow fields.
IMG_2942

IMG_2946

The lava also provided great views of Mt. Rainier and Goat Rocks.
IMG_2944

IMG_2949Goat Creek falling from Goat Lake.

IMG_2955_stitchRed Butte and Mt. Adams

IMG_2961Red Butte, a neat looking cinder cone.

IMG_2959Flower amid the rocks.

We did indeed stop at Muddy Fork. It was a little more of a crossing than we wanted to tackle at that point.
IMG_2969

IMG_2970

IMG_2978

We backed track a bit to rise where we had seen a great looking spot for dinner (or a tent). We cooked our dinner there and then explored a bit on the ridge above the spot where we found a few flowers amid the rocks and more amazing views.
IMG_2984Paintbrush

IMG_2993Cutleaf daisy

IMG_2999Dwarf alpinegold

IMG_2992?

IMG_3003_stitch

20200801_175828

We eventually headed back to Foggy Flat under the watchful eyes of the locals.
IMG_3024

We were momentarily distracted below one of the snow fields as we watched a stream forming in front of our eyes.
IMG_3028Water in the upper portions of the snowmelt stream.

IMG_3030The same stream 3 minutes later.

When the water reached a large hole that would take some time to fill we managed to pull ourselves away and continue back to our campsite. We stopped at the creek to get water for the next day and turned in fairly quickly. There were just enough mosquitoes about to be a nuisance making the confines of the tent that much more appealing.

Combining this hike with our previous two visits we’ve managed to cover quite a bit of the trails that wrap around the mountain. The east side of Mt. Adams is on part of the Yakima Indian Reservation and is largely trail less. Special permits are required to enter the Reservation with the exception of Bird Creek Meadows on the SE side of the mountain.
Mt. Adams Tracks

From every angle that we’ve seen it Mt. Adams continues to impress us. It’s truly a special place. Happy Trails!
20200801_191051_HDR

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Mt. Jefferson Area Oregon Trip report

Temple Lake and Marion Mountain – 7/25/19

A day after taking my brother and his family to Opal Creek (post) we were back on the trails with a visit to Temple Lake and Marion Mountain. This is another hike take from Matt Reeder’s “101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region”. The hike starts from the Pine Ridge Trailhead
IMG_4356

There were a few mosquitoes waiting for us a the trailhead so we applied a bit of deet and set off through the forest for .2 miles to a 4-way junction.
IMG_4360

IMG_4364

From the junction the Pine Ridge Trail continued straight while the Turpentine Trail departed on the right and to the left was a trail to the Boy Scout owned Camp Pioneer (the camp is private so do not take this trail or any others heading left between the trailhead and the junction).
IMG_4367

We continued on the Pine Ridge Trail past a unique Mt. Jefferson Wilderness sign.
IMG_4366

The trail dropped from the junction to cross a dry creek bed before climbing around a ridge and dropping again.
IMG_4373

IMG_4376

We took a brief off-trail detour to visit one of several lakes in the area.
IMG_4378

We returned to the trail and continued on to the junction with the Temple Lake Trail which was approximately 2 miles from the trailhead.
IMG_4384

IMG_4386

We decided to save the lake for later in the day in hopes that the mosquitoes would be less active. Continuing on the Pine Ridge Trail we passed through some sections of forest burned in the massive 2003 B&B Complex.
IMG_4387Turpentine Peak

IMG_4394Washington lily

IMG_4395Unburned forest

IMG_4397Mt. Jefferson from the Pine Ridge Trail.

At the four mile mark we arrived at the signed Marion Mountain Trail.
IMG_4401

We turned right here and began to climb up a ridge to Marion Mountain. A little less than three quarters of a mile up we came to a cinder viewpoint.
IMG_4408Mt. Jefferson and Marion Lake (post)

IMG_4415Three Fingered Jack

The view here was good but just a tenth of a mile further the trail led out to the former site of the Marion Mountain Lookout where the view was even better.
IMG_4427The cinder viewpoint from Marion Mountain.

IMG_4426Mt. Hood in the distance with Mt. Jefferson, and Marion Lake.IMG_4426

IMG_4430Mt. Hood and Dynah-Mo Peak

IMG_4435Three Fingered Jack

IMG_4443Tops of the Three Sisters.

IMG_4456Coffin Mountain (post)

We had a nice view of the crest between Mt. Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack where we could make out North and South Pyramid Peaks (post).
IMG_4437South Cinder Peak is the high point along the ridge.

We sat on the rocks enjoying the breeze which was keeping us cool and mosquito free. When we finally did leave we decided to follow a faint path the continued out along the ridge to the south of Marion Mountain. The open forest made cross country travel fairly easy.
IMG_4463

We continued along the ridge entering the B&B scar again where there were more obstacles.
IMG_4469

We wound up going a little under a mile along the narrowing ridge until it dipped to a saddle under forested Marion Peak. We didn’t see any reason to lose any elevation and have to gain it back so we declared victory. The view here was better yet with more of the Three Sisters and Mt. Washington visible.
IMG_4479The saddle that we didn’t want to drop down to.

IMG_4485Three Fingered Jack with the Three Sisters and Mt. Washington in the gap.

IMG_4481The Three Sisters and Mt. Washington beyond Red Butte (post)

IMG_4488Jenny and Melis Lake

IMG_4489Marion Mountain at the end of the ridge.

IMG_4496Bear Point (post) and Dynah-Mo Peak with Mt. Hood in the background.

IMG_4492Turpentine Peak along the ridge.

IMG_4510Black Butte (post) on the far opposite side of the crest.

In addition to the views there were a few flowers along the ridge and Heather spotted a Northern Alligator Lizard but it ran off before we could get a photo.
IMG_4514Stonecrop

IMG_4517Prince’s Pine

IMG_4518Penstemon

IMG_4520Washington lily

We headed back down the ridge to Marion Mountain and then returned to the Pine Ridge Trail where we turned left. When we got back to the Temple Lake Trail we turned right and headed downhill.
IMG_4528

The half mile trail crossed a dry creek before reaching the lake.
IMG_4529

IMG_4532

It wasn’t overly buggy which allowed us to admire the view of Mt. Jefferson from the lake and check out the campsites.
IMG_4538

IMG_4542Dragon fly

While Heather was looking at one of the sites a western toad popped its head out of a hole.
IMG_4552

IMG_4550

I’m not sure who was watching who as the toad wound up coming all the way out while we stood there.
IMG_4562

IMG_4567

We kept our distance (thanks 30x zoom) and headed back up to the Pine Ridge Trail. Aside from a garter snake sighting there was no excitement on the return trip, just a nice forest walk.
IMG_4571

With our off-trail exploring the hike came in at 11.6 miles and a little under 2000′ of elevation gain. The off-trail was just the right balance of challenging but not frustratingly difficult. It was a lot easier than what we had done the day we visited Bear Point earlier in the week for sure. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Temple Lake and Marion Mountain

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Mt. Jefferson Area Oregon Throwback Thursday Trip report

Throwback Thursday – Duffy Lake

We’re going all the way back to July 28, 2010 for this weeks throwback hike. This was our first visit to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness as well as the first time we attempted an off-trail scramble. We started at the Duffy Lake Trailhead taking the Duffy Lake Trail toward Duffy Lake.

Duffy Lake Trail

The trail followed along the North Santiam River which was running real low but not yet dry for the season.

Wildflowers along the North Santiam River

North Santiam River

We passed the a junction with the Turpentine Trail at the 1.5 mile mark and crossed the river just over a mile later before reaching another junction in a meadow near Duffy Lake. Although we couldn’t see the lake from there Duffy Butte rose above the trees.

Duffy Butte

A number of trails were present in the Duffy Lake area. The first junction after crossing the river was with the Maxwell Butte Trail which forked to the right. Before reaching Duffy Lakes outlet creek we took the next fork to thw right which was a short connector trail to the Santiam Lake Trail which we then turned right on following it for about 3/4 of a mile through wildflower meadows to Santiam Lake and a great view of Three Fingered Jack.

Santiam Lake Trail

Three Fingered Jack and Santiam Lake

Three Fingered Jack from Santiam Lake

After visiting the lake shore we headed back the way we had come for .6 miles then turning right on the Dixie Lakes Trail at a pointer for the Eight Lakes Basin.

Trail sign at the Dixie Lakes Trail

This 1.8 mile trail would lead us pass the small Dixie Lakes before joining the Blue Lake Trail. Much of the trail passed through forest burned in the massive 2003 B&B Fire.

A Dixie Lake

South Dixie Lake

A Dixie Lake

North Dixie Lake

Beargrass

Junction with the Blue Lake Trail

The trail junction was near Alice Lake which was where our off-trail scramble up Red Butte would start.

Red Butte

Red Butte

Alice Lake

Alice Lake

Being our first off-trail experience we weren’t exactly sure what we were supposed to be looking for but we knew that the route started on the west side of the lake and headed up the butte. It was quite the adventure. Just when we thought we might be following a use trail we’d lose it. Some of the butte had been burned in the fire so there was plenty of downed trees and limbs to navigate. The good news with that was we knew we could follow the edge of the burn downhill and we’d wind up back on the trail near Alice Lake so we weren’t too concerned with getting lost. As we neared the summit of Red Butte the vegetation began to give way to more and more cinder where it was much easier to pick out the use trail.

Snow on Red Butte

Looking down from the summit we could see little Alice Lake below.

Alice Lake from Red Butte

To the south we had a great view of Three Fingered Jack and beyond that loomed Mt. Washington, North Sister, Middle Sister, and The Husband.

Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, The Three Sisters and The Husband

The Three Sisters and Mt. Washington

Mt. Washington in front of the North & Middle Sister (with the summit of South Sister behind them all)

Around to the north was Mt. Jefferson.

Mt. Jefferson

Just to the SW of Red Butte was Duffy Butte and Mowich Lake.

Mowich Lake and Duffy Butte

Mowich Lake

We had a much easier time following the use path on the way down and successfully completed our first scramble. We turned right when we arrived back at the Blue Lake Trail and followed it for a mile to the southern end of Mowich Lake where we could look back across the water to Red Butte.

Mowich Lake

Another 3/4 miles along the trail brought us a junction with the Santiam Lake and Duffy Lake Trails.

Trail junction near Duffy Lake

We took a moment to visit Duffy Lake and Duffy Butte.

Duffy Butte from Duffy Lake

We walked along the lake to its outlet where we picked up the Duffy Lake Trail and headed back toward the trailhead. A nice lollipop loop with a couple of side trips to Santiam Lake and up Red Butte the total distance was a little over 13 miles with approx 2000′ elevation gain. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157632953676368

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Mt. Jefferson Area Oregon Trip report

Eight Lakes Basin

After three straight overnight trips it was time for a day hike. Our destination was the Eight Lakes Basin in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The two most common routes to the area are from either the Duffy Lake Trailhead to the SW or theĀ Marion Lake Trailhead to the north. The basin is a little closer to the Marion Lake Trailhead so this was where we decided to begin our hike.
IMG_5648

We were surprised at the number of cars already parked at the trailhead when we arrived at 6:15am. Later we realized much of it was due to it being the opening weekend of hunting season. We had visitedĀ Marion Lake once before in October of 2014 on our way home from Central Oregon, but this time we would be continuing past the lake 4 miles to reach the Eight Lakes Basin and returning on a wide loop.

The first 1.8 miles of trail was familiar but some things had changed since our previous visit including the condition of the wilderness sign.
IMG_5651

About a half mile prior to reaching Marion Lake the trail passes smaller Lake Ann.
IMG_5652

On the far side of a lake a Great Blue Heron landed on a log along with some ducks while numerous other ducks could be seen on the water.
IMG_5659

IMG_5666

IMG_5667

Shortly after Lake Ann we came to a split in the trail where the Marion Lake Trail headed left and the Marion Outlet Trail went right. Both trails lead to Marion Lake but the the Outlet Trail is .5 miles longer. They also lead to different portions of the lake, the Marion Lake Trail arrives at the northern end of the lake while the Marion Outlet Trail meets the Blue Lake Trail at the lake’s northwestern tip.
IMG_5690

The main reason to take the Marion Outlet Trail though is to take a short unsigned side trail and visit Marion and Gatch Falls.
IMG_5674

IMG_5680

The trail down to the falls is somewhat steep in places but the views are wonderful. After visiting the falls we hiked to the Blue Lake Trail junction and crossed Marion Creek on the footbridge. Just beyond the footbridge the trail crosses a rock slide where the vine maple was starting to show its Fall colors.
IMG_5693

IMG_5694

After entering the trees again we took a trail down to the lake to get a view of Mt. Jefferson across the water.
IMG_5697

We continued on the Blue Lake Trail which soon entered the forest burned by the 2003 B & B Fire.
IMG_5705

The B & B Fire burned over 90,000 acres of forest and we would be spending a large portion of the day hiking through the burn. Some areas though were spared and one of those areas was a mile up the Blue Lake Trail at a junction with the Pine Ridge Trail.
IMG_5709

By taking the Pine Ridge Trail we could have climbed up Marion Mountain, but we were leaving that for another time. Just beyond the junction a small pond reflected the rocky summit of that peak.
IMG_5713

It was three miles from the Pine Ridge Trail junction to the next trail junction at Jorn Lake in the Eight Lakes Basin. A little over a mile from the pond was Jenny Lake.
IMG_5728

Beyond Jenny Lake the forest around the Blue Lake Trail had all been burnt by the 2003 fire. The lack of live trees allowed for some big views through the silver snags and it was interesting to see how the forest was at work recovering. Small trees were working on replacing those lost and white pearly everlasting flowers made a nice contrast to the red huckleberry leaves dotting the ground.
IMG_5731

IMG_5735

IMG_5737

IMG_5752

The lack of trees also caused the trail to be exposed to the Sun which had come back with a vengeance after the previous weekends cooler temperatures. A short way from Jenny Lake the trail began a series of switchbacks as it climbed up and over a ridge before dropping down into the Eight Lakes Basin. The full exposure made this a really warm climb, but when we reached a saddle on the ridge the view of Three Fingered Jack with the basin below was worth it.
IMG_5742

IMG_5748

From this direction the first lake in the basin that we reached was Blue Lake.
IMG_5754

We headed down to the lake where we were able to find a little shade on a rock along the shore.
IMG_5756

IMG_5757

After having a snack and cooling down we continued on following the Blue Lake Trail further downhill toward Jorn Lake.
IMG_5764

IMG_5767

IMG_5776

Before checking out Jorn Lake more closely we wanted to continue past our planned loop a short distance to visit Red Butte Lake. We had scrambled up Red Butte in 2010 when we had taken a hike from the Duffy Lake Trailhead. We had turned around after climbing up the butte and not made it as far as Red Butte Lake so we figured this time we’d check it out. We wound up following a series of unofficial trails between Jorn and Red Butte Lakes which passed several nice looking campsites before finally bringing us to the shallow little lake.
IMG_5778

IMG_5779

IMG_5788

IMG_5792

We found a log to sit on and tried to watch some ducks enjoying the lake but it was just too hot to sit out in the sunlight so we decided to head back to Jorn Lake where some of the trees had been spared from the fire.
IMG_5801

IMG_5804

We took the official Blue Lake Trail back down to a junction with the Bowerman Lake Trail near Jorn Lake.
IMG_5804

Before we turned onto the Bowerman Lake Trail we went down to Jorn Lakes shore.
IMG_5811

While we were sitting by the lake a doe came down to the eastern end of the lake.
IMG_5825

After she disappeared behind some trees we began to walk along the shore toward where she was since that was the direction we would be heading on the Bowerman Lake Trail. On the way a frog and a garter snake went from the shore into the water.
IMG_5831

IMG_5839

The best view of Mt. Jefferson came at the SE end of the lake.
IMG_5842

We left the lake and briefly returned to the Bowerman Lake Trail but then quickly left it to check out a series of ponds between Jorn Lake and Bowerman Lake.
IMG_5846

IMG_5847

It was at Bowerman Lake that we realized it was opening weekend of hunting season when we ran into a gentleman who was resting by the lake.
IMG_5850

IMG_5853

Bowerman Lake was the last lake in the Basin that the trail passed and we were soon back into the snags.
IMG_5863

IMG_5869

The trails up until this point had been well maintained but the next 2+ miles on the Bowerman Lake Trail became increasingly difficult as numerous snags covered the path.
IMG_5874

IMG_5876

We spent quite a bit of time going over, under, around logs. Often times it was just easier to walk on top of them. Conditions improved after we reached the Minto Pass Trail where someone else had apparently encountered the obstacles over the Bowerman Lake Trail.
IMG_5889

We were now following the Minto Pass Trail two miles to Marion Lake. Many of the vine maples along this trail were in full Autumn mode.
IMG_5892

IMG_5895

IMG_5897

IMG_5904

The trail crossed several springs and creeks as it neared the lake including the very pretty Mist Creek.
IMG_5908

IMG_5910

IMG_5922

When the trail approached Marion Lake we walked down to the lake shore for one final rest stop. Three Fingered Jack rose above the lake on the horizon and we were joined by a number of tortoiseshell butterflies and a friendly Stellar’s blue jay.
IMG_5926

IMG_5930

IMG_5928

IMG_5946

IMG_5936

The Minto Pass Trail had been recently rerouted, adding a couple of switchbacks, just before arriving at a three-way junction with the Lake of the Woods and Marion Lake Trails.
IMG_5947

Back on the Marion Lake Trail we followed it for a half mile passing a trail to the lake’s day use area and continuing another .3 miles to the Marion Outlet Trail junction where we had begun our loop. We retraced our path from the morning spotting a garter snake and a large western toad along the way.
IMG_5954

IMG_5965

Unfortunately not all of the wildlife encounters were so nice. Between spotting the snake and the toad we had paused at Lake Ann for a moment and Heather was almost immediately stung by a yellow jacket. Several more were buzzing around and we ran to the end of the lake to avoid any additional stings.

What was supposed to be a sort of “easier” hike than what we’d been doing lately turned out to be a little more taxing than planned. Between the warm temperatures and exposure in the burn area and the stretch of trail covered in downed snags we were feeling pretty tired by the time we made it back to the trailhead. We had also managed to turn the 15.2 miles we had planned on into 17.9 miles by visiting the falls, Red Butte Lake, and doing some other off-trail exploring. It had been worth it though. The colors were amazing, we’d seen a lot of wildlife, and despite the full parking lot hadn’t seen very many other people along the way. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157673717910585