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Trip Report: Olallie Lakes Custom Backpack Tour
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Trip Report: Olallie Lakes Custom Backpack Tour

Trip Report: Olallie Lakes Custom Backpack Tour

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie lake sky

The air was crisp enough at 5000 feet elevation to frost the morning dew, but the sun soon shone and melted away the thin crust of ice coating our backpacks and camping gear.  Fall tends to reach the mountains before the valleys. This October morning was no exception.

The 36-Pit fire had closed highway 224 along the Clackamas River in Mt. Hood National Forest, which meant taking the scenic route to reach the Olallie Lakes National Scenic Area from Portland.  It was after dark when we reached the trailhead.  Fortunately there was a convenient camp site by the road.  Tents were set up by headlamp, and soon we were gathered around the campfire roasting brats and dogs.  Later, marshmallows went on the skewers to toast for s'mores.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie campfire

Conversation was not wanting, as nine old friends gathered to share stories and jokes, and, on this deluxe custom tour, drink beer.
The moon shone bright over Olallie Lake in a starry sky.  Coyote yipped and howled from across the lake.  Good cheer and companionship glowed around the crackling fire.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie campsite

It was a bit nippy the next morning, but the day warmed quickly.  Scrambled eggs and sausage made for breakfast. Gear was packed up and stowed.  Backpacks were fitted and adjusted.  Lunch was made from the cooler at the van for enjoying down the trail.  

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie Mt Hood

We were off on our backpack trip.  The way was easy, winding around lily-pad dotted lakes lined with red-purple huckleberry bushes, past the old stems of bear grass, and over glacier-rounded rocks to our lake-side campsite.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie Mt Jefferson view

Camp was set up, lunch was had, and some of the crew went swimming in the lake.  Once everyone had rested up, we set out on a day hike, climbing up to the PCT and then up the steep Double Peaks trail.  The views from the summit were spectacular, with Mt. Hood aways to the north and Mt. Jefferson filling the south sky of us.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie Double Peaks summit

We looped along the Pacific Crest Trail on our way back to camp.  A few clouds rolled in, and the wind gusted now and then, but the evening remained dry and comfortable.  Dinner was salmon roasted on coals, and the conversation and camaraderie continued late into the night.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie campfire dinner

The big moon still shone through the thin clouds, and a few stars were still to be seen though the night, but rain came early the next morning. First, just a gentle mist, a brief shower that was over as soon as it started.  Then there was another shower, a bit heavier, and lasting a little longer.  That got me out of my sleeping bag and out of my tent.  I rigged up a tarp over our kitchen area as the rain got more steady and the wind picked up.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie campsite tarp

Once the rest of the crew was up, a decision was quickly reached to pack up and hike out immediately.  The rain remained intermittent, with lulls between showers.  It only took us 45 minutes to strike camp and pack things up.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie backpacks

We had discussed leave-no-trace principles, and we left our campsite cleaner than how we found it.  Everyone helped haul trash and recycling out of camp.

Then we backpacked out along the trail in the rain.  The Fall colors seemed brighter, and the lichens and mosses glowed green.  There were some mushrooms already starting to pop up out of the ground, too.  If you are going to hike in a rainforest, might as well see it at its best -- in the rain.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie backpackers on trail

Back at the trailhead, we unpacked gear and loaded up the vans. Breakfast was had in Detroit at the Cedars restaurant.  We would out of the Cascades and back into the Willamette Valley to complete our tour of Northwest nature.

Hiking totals came to about 9 miles with about 1200 feet of elevation gain, though actual distances for individuals ranged from 4-12 miles, as some folks chose to hike more or hike less.

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie Butte view

Another successful Outdoor School trip, and one more example of Next Adventure's commitment to inform, outfit, and excite!

Next Adventure can create a custom tour for your group -- for day hikes or overnight backpacking trips. Join us on one of our regularly scheduled trips, or contact us today to schedule your next custom group adventure! 

Next Adventure Custom Backpack Olallie Mt Jefferson summit view

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