While doing some research to add some new recipes for an upcoming trip I stumbled into the Backpackingchef web site, the link is Backpackingchef.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This hike started at the Willamette Pass Trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail.
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.
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.
In addition to the views we also got another treat, huckleberries.
A quick update on the status of the Corvallis to Coast Trail. The C2C partnership has been granted a Special Use permit from the Forest Service to construct and maintain the eastern portion of the trail, this section runs from Corvallis to the Big Elk Campground near Harlan. The C2C hopes to have a formal opening of this section in the summer of 2016.
Road access report: The road from highway 22 to Breitenbush Lake has not been maintained in several years and many sections are very rough. I would only recommend driving the road in a high clearance vehicle, when it was dry 4 WD was not necessary.
Our original plan had been to leave a car at the Whitewater Trailhead and then drive to Breitenbush Lake and hike down from there. This would have been about 11 miles, with most of the hike flat or downhill. Because of the poor condition of the road we decided to drive back to Whitewater and do a out and back trip. This hike was about 12 miles with a steady uphill grade on the way in.
Breitenbush Lake is very pretty and when we were there a number of groups were staying at the camp ground. Our time did not allow us the time to do much exploring, there are a number of tribal buildings in the area.
The Whitewater Trailhead is easily accessible. If you don’t have an annual pass there is a $5 fee that can be paid at the trailhead.
The views of Mt Jefferson and the wildflowers make the hike worth it.
The park itself is a heavy use area, but there is plenty of area to spread out in.
Our furthest point in the park was Russell Lake. This is a very pretty lake and I would expect that there are several campsites around the lake.
I tried a new lunch option for my most recent backpacking trip.
I premixed honey and peanut butter in a refillable squeeze bottle, for the cracker I like, crispbread. Crispbread is more durable than other options I have tried in the past and it has solid texture and flavor.
To make life easier I place a plastic knife in the bag with the crispbread and I did put the squeeze bottle in its own bag, I had heard too many horror stories about leaking bottles.
I did find that the chunky style peanut butter is a bit too thick to easily squeeze out of the tube. Even with the difficulty I will be adding this to my food list for future trips.
Trail Head: Park Meadow Trail Head, this is near Three Creeks Lake
Distance: 6 miles one way
Golden Lake is real gem, unfortunately it has been discovered. The hike in can start from either the Three Creek Lake area or the Green Lakes Trail. Our hike started at the Park Meadow Trail in the Three Creek Lake area.
The first couple of miles climbs through an area hit by the Pole Creek forest fire. The fire was very intense in this area so the vegetation is not really starting to return. The destruction does open the up the views of the mountains.
Next up is Park Meadow. The meadow or should I say meadows spread over a several mile area. There are spectacular views and plenty of wildflowers. We didn’t venture off the main train but there are evidently many nice camping spots in the area. Some that we talked with use this as a base camp for exploring the area.
After the meadow the trail climbs rather steeply for about a mile. Follow the trail signs towards Green Lakes. The early trail descriptions say to watch for a rock cairn. This was gone, we found instead well used trail to the left (coming from Park Meadow).
There are several camp spots in the trees that surround the lake. We camped to right on the edge of the meadow in a group of trees. Other spots are two the left on the hill or across the outlet. Keep in mind that fires are prohibited at all times at Golden Lake. Unfortunately there were plenty of signs that some people don’t seem to think that it applies to them.
The lake is worth the hike. The setting with the lake, meadows and mountains is breathtaking.
We fished the lake and did catch a couple of small brook trout.
There is a trail that heads up towards Brokentop that follows the water fall that takes one to a set of tarns. These small ponds also have a couple of nice camp spots and could be a good alternative if Golden Lake is over populated.
If planning a trip to Golden Lake I would encourage going mid week. Some of the people that we met were circumnavigating Brokentop, or they were on a loop that went around the Three Sisters.
Don’t be fooled by the sign at the Trail head, the distance to the summit is 6 miles. What they don’t say is that it is also one mile up. If you want to climb a mountain this is a strenuous but non-technical climb.
We started at the Devil’s Lake Trail head at 6 AM. If I were to do this again I would start earlier, one person we talked with had started at 4. Once above tree line the trail is very exposed and therefore could get very hot. I was a bit surprised at how many people were making the climb. On a midweek day we saw 30-40 other people.
The hike to the overlook for Moraine Lake was mostly in the forest and is continuously uphill. This 1 ¾ mile stretch is a good test for the rest of the climb, if you have trouble with this section I would not recommend going much further. You could make a couple of nice loops here, one that we did not try is down the trail to Wickiup Plain and is about 3 ½ miles to the parking area.
This is Mortaine Lake and the reports that we got were that the water was very cold still, probably because it is filled from snow melt.
We hiked in Mid July and there were many stretches of the trail that were still snow covered. Traversing them was not a problem, but it did hide the trail making it hard to know for sure where to go.
The climb got progressively steeper and we moved from firm pumice sand to loose pumice and stones.
Along the way are regular signs of previous climbers. The views do get progressively more impressive.
In this photo you can see the trail running diagonally across the mountain from the right to the left, leading to a scramble up to Lewis Glacier just over the ridge in the middle.
In the center of this picture you can see the trail zigzagging up through the red pumice just to the left of the glacier. This section is really steep, but fortunately you are nearing the top.
Aside from the reward of having climbed a mountain the views from the top are spectacular.
This photo is looking south with Mt Batchelor in the foreground, Sparks Lake is the large lake. Because of the haze you can’t really see the distant mountains in this photo but you could see Diamond Peak and Mt Thielsen.
Looking Southeast you down on Brokentop with two of the Green Lakes in the valley.
Looking north you can see the other two sisters, Mt Jefferson behind the North Sister, Mt Washington between them and I believe St Helens in the distance. If you look closely at the upper right you can see a forest fire.
The decent is not nearly as heart beating; however the loose footing makes it strenuous. I would strongly recommend trekking poles as they saved me several times from taking a tumble and you can relieve some of the strain on your legs.
Once down to the car I thought, well been there, done that. Now that the soreness has subsided I am starting the think that this should be an annual event.
- Camping Equipment
- Corvallis Area Walks
- Hiking Food
- Interesting Sights
- Invasive Plants
- Pacific Crest Trail
- Skyline Trail
- Topographic Maps
- Trail Reports
- Ultralight camping