Posted by: oregonhiker | October 22, 2018

Happy Lake

My summer hike this year took me to Happy Lake which is on the west slope of Diamond Peak within the Willamette National Forest. We hiked in from the Diamond Peak Trailhead, this is about 2.5 miles. The first portion is up a rather steep hillside so it felt more like 3 miles. There are a couple of alternative trailheads, one involves hiking into Blue Lake which could provide a second lake experience.


Happy Lake is a very pretty little lake surrounded by some very old forests. The lake is rather shallow so by August when we were there it is very swimmable.


Camping spots on the lake are limited, but it doesn’t appear that the area gets much use. The obvious spot is right on the lake, however, the more desirable spot is off the lake on the edge of a cliff. The view is very spectacular. What makes this view especially spectacular is that the forest surrounding the area does not appear to have had either a significant fire or any logging in well over a century.

The outlet from the lake creates a waterfall, but I challenge you to see much more than a partial view and that involves hanging off the cliff.

Fishing was a bit tough, although there are fish to be had. Early in the summer before the water has warmed I am guessing that the fish will be more available.

Posted by: oregonhiker | September 5, 2017

Corvallis to the Sea (C2C) Hike

The C2C trail has been a long time in coming. The east portion from where the Mary’s River meets the Willamette River to Harlan is complete. If you have interest in hiking that section you should visit to get updated information, including potential closure, and information on checking in with Starker Forest.

Our hike was within the western section of the trail that is a back-country hike in the Siuslaw National Forest starting at the Big Elk Campground and finishes at Ona Beach south of Newport. The trail has been well flagged. We started on FS31 above Grant Creek Road. This is an example of a single track trail with the orange C2C flag.


Next up is the Toilet Bowl Landing, named for the porcelain fixture left by a previous visitor. Old logging landings were used by logging companies as a place to collect logs and load them on trucks. This is a nice camping spot although there is no water.


The trail travels through a range of forests, from newly planted to Old Growth. The predominate species is Douglas Fir, but there is Alder, Hemlock and Cedar.


Much of trail is on old logging roads that provides a flat tread with a solid base. Foliage does growth in on the trail sometimes forming tunnels.



Some of the old roads are a bit more obvious. The Forest Service has a protocol for road numbering which can make order from a complex of roads that crisscross.





Our hike was in late August so water comes at a premium. Our next water spot was Gopher Creek, the water is spring feed so is cold and clear. It is wise though to filter before using.


Nice meadow at Gopher Creek, a bit marshy so we camped on a landing above the creek.




Because of unknown water we decided to cache water. The cache got a visit from a bear that evidently needed a drink. Fortunately, we did find a good water source just up the trail.



Not only did we see some beautiful trees a previous hiker left a fun memory.


Trails end for us was on Walkau road just before Beavercreek Road.




Posted by: oregonhiker | May 16, 2017

Corvallis to the Sea Update

The Corvallis to the Sea Trail (C2C) is now open, at least from Corvallis to Harlan. I was out doing some route finding and took a few shots to peek your interest.


This is one of the carbonite signs that marks the trail. Pay attention to these as they do show any restrictions that exist in the portion of the trail. There are portions where camping is not permitted.


The county has placed signs on the public streets to warn drivers about the potential for hikers. Do be careful when hiking on the road sections as the traffic can include large logging trucks.


Here is an example of the beauty along the trail, this is in the Harlan valley and even with the gray winter day it is something.


You are likely to run into some relics from times past.




Posted by: oregonhiker | October 2, 2016

Tilikum Crossing

Tilikum Crossing is a transit bridge that connects east Portland to west. In addition to the transit lanes there are two muli-use lanes for bikes pedestrians.  The east end starts at the OMSI Max Station and west at the OHSU/South Waterfront Campus Max Station.


This provides several great possibilities. First, if you are interested in visiting OMSI and are staying downtown you can us the bridge to create a loop. This bridge also makes a nice addition to two hikes I have previously written about, the Portland River Walk and the 4Ts hike.

Be aware that because of the design, the bridge is higher in the center than the two ends. This gives you a gentle uphill followed by a gentle downhill.

Posted by: oregonhiker | September 23, 2016

High Uinta Wilderness

If you have problems with altitude don’t give this area a try. The Trail head was just under 9000 ft and our base camp was just over 10,000.

The hike started at the Middle Beaver Creek trail head, the last portion of the road is gravel, but it was in very good condition. Our ultimate goal was near Beaver Lake, approximately 7 miles in.


The trail was generally in good shape, although there is a bit of horse traffic so some portions are beat up. The Forest Service has done a good job clearing the downed trees. Like many areas in the west there has been extensive beetle damage so a lot of dead pines.



We arrived at the trail head mid afternoon and decided to hike in an hour or so. This is our first night camp. There was water many places along the trail with plenty of places to camp.



Long Meadow with Middle Fork of Beaver Creek. The whole area is high elevation so those mountains in the background are some of the highest in Utah, pushing 12,000.


Our first night at our base camp two bull moose came out into the meadow. If you haven’t seen one of these animals up front and personal they are very large.


We fished the Middle Ford and found cutthroat and brown trout. They were not large, the biggest in the 12” range, but they were scrappy.



Being at high elevation the nights were cold dipping down into the 30’s. This is our meadow with frost in the morning.





A shot of Beaver Lake, note the plants in the foreground. These aren’t actually normally low bushes, they have just been heavily browsed by the elk and moose. Our destination for the day is in the bowl to the right of the peak, Coffin Lake.


I had to include one shot of an unusual plant, this is mistletoe.


Our next day hike went to a no-name lake, but the actual destination was the high elevation meadow.

dsc_0079This is a reminder when this area was heavily grazed by sheep. The herders would spend months in the mountains, leaving behind fire rings and often messages carved into the trees.


Our base camp, we did put up a tarp but we really never really needed it.


This photo was taken in morning so our chairs were set of keep any dew off. One of the luxury items that I have added to my pack is an REI chair. It packs down to small size and does weigh less than two pounds. For the ultra light folks this is a big add.

We did get another visit from a moose, this time a young bull. He did get a lot closer.





Posted by: oregonhiker | August 17, 2016

Backpacking Food Site

While doing some research to add some new recipes for an upcoming trip I stumbled into the Backpackingchef web site, the link is The site has a lot of great information on some very good sounding recipes. I am going to give a couple of them a try on a trip to the Unitas and I will let you know how those go.

Posted by: oregonhiker | August 7, 2016

Portland’s 4T

4T stands for Trail, Tram, Trolley and Train, and is an adventure that provides a fun view of Portland. The walking portion of the trail is 4 – 4.5 miles and is mostly on well maintained trails or sidewalks. As a warning, there are many steep uphill or downhill portions. It took me a half day to complete the walk, but you could easily spend a full day if you take the time to stop and enjoy the area.

A brochure that includes a map is available on-line. I bought an all-day pass for Tri-met that is good on the Street Car and Max. I would recommend planning your route so that ride the Tram from the top, this gives you a better view and it is free. If you are doing the trail during normal business hours there should not be a problem with the Tram as it does run seven days a week.

My hike started on the Street car and connected to MAX. There are 4T signs along the way to help keep one on track.


Take the Washington Park stop on Max; this is the deepest station in the World. There is an interesting exhibit in the station, a core sample that was taken during construction. It has a historic timeline attached to it so that you can get a sense of how old the rocks are.

I am not going to provide a detailed description of the route; you should get a copy of the brochure for that.

The area around the Zoo is a bit tricky; if you look for the signs it is fairly easy. A tricky part is after you cross Sunset Highway you walk along the edge of the on ramp until you come to the entrance to the Council Crest Park, be very careful here as the shoulder is narrow and the cars are going rather fast.


From this point until you get to OHSU you will be on trails. There is no place to eat and limited water on this section so it is wise to come prepared.


This section of the trail was built on top of what was originally a trolley route up to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland. The views from the Crest are very nice, especially if you go on a sunny day, mine was not. You can look out toward the Tualatin valley and also over Portland with the Cascades in the background.

From Council Crest the walk heads down the Marquam Trail. I did get a bit lost in this section as I think a sign must have been vandalized. I did successfully find my way to OHSU and the top of the Tram.


The TRAM ride gives a spectacular view of Portland and Mount Hood beyond.


I would spend some time at the top to take in the view, once you board the Tram it goes fairly quickly.

From the bottom of the Tram you have a bunch of choices. You can simple jump on the Streetcar and head back to where you started, or you can walk down into South Water Front. There are a number of nice restaurants or bars where you can stop to enjoy the day.


Posted by: oregonhiker | November 21, 2015

Montana Fishing Trip

Fishing some of the legendary rivers around Yellowstone has been on my bucket list for some time, this fall I got the chance to fish a few. The environment within the park can be very harsh and not the sort of environment one would expect great fishing.

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Our first day of fishing was on the Firehole. An element of fishing that I have always enjoyed is the very socially acceptable reason to aimlessly stroll along a river. In Yellowstone this takes on a new twist in that you need to be continuously on the lookout for geysers and hot pots as well as bison and elk.


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Another day found us on the Lamar. This river came with its own set of adventure. First the river is a bed of large boulders that make the going very tough.


In addition, the Lamar valley is the home to one of large packs of wolves and although we didn’t see any the signs were obvious and we were likely under constant surveillance.


To add to my list of fishing first during our day of fishing on the Madison we were actually chased out of a fishing hole by a herd of Bison.





Posted by: oregonhiker | September 6, 2015

Snow Depth Gauge

My hiking buddy is always teaching me stuff. It is possible to estimate the average winter snow level by observing the lichen level. In the picture below you can see the level of the lichen. This line was at about eight feet.


Posted by: oregonhiker | September 2, 2015

Diamond Peak Wilderness – 2015

This hike started at the Willamette Pass Trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail.

Diamond Peak

The hike in was 6 miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet. The trail is well maintained although some of the signage is bit funky. An alternative starting point would have been Shelter Cove on Odell Lake.

Lakes are numerous along the trail.


Midnight Lake with couple of nice campsites on the west end of the lake and signs of fish but we didn’t stop to fish.


Arrowhead Lake


Lils Lake and our campsite; it was a bit close to the lake, but we had to make the trade-off between using an existing camp or carving a new camp that meets the 100 foot requirement.



Yoran Lake, the blue route on the map is the way that we got to the lake. The trail is bit sketchy in spots. There is a more direct route to this lake from Lake Odell.

The next day we left our packs at Lils Lake and hiked up to the saddle between Yoran Peak and Diamond Peak. The hike was well worth it affording great views of the peaks as well as a nice look back towards Odell Lake with Willamette Pass Ski area on the slope beyond. This section is shown as dashed black on the map.


Diamond Peak


Yoran Peak


In addition to the views we also got another treat, huckleberries.


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