Mt. Jefferson's snowy peak juts up above the trees across the lake from our camp site.
An osprey circles around and then plunges into the round, blue lake, sending out ripples across the surface.
Nestled up against the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness at the southern end of Mt. Hood National Forest, the Olallie Lakes National Scenic Area is a remote, often overlooked, slice of sub-alpine heaven. Dozens of lakes fill glacier-scoured basins on top of a broad, rolling plateau. Volcanic cinder cones offer panoramic views of the lakes, forested hills, and glaciated peaks of Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, and other Cascade Mountain summits.
You probably already know that Next Adventure can help you gear up for your outdoor adventures, but did you know that we offer free informational clinics and presentations on exciting outdoor recreation activities? Get the know-how to start hiking, backpacking or snowshoeing. Practice those rusty survival skills like using a map and compass. Learn how to identify the wildflowers and wildlife you see along the trail. Be inspired by experienced adventurers to hike the PCT, walk the Camino Santiago, or just try something new outside. Read more for all the details.
We had a genuine Northwest September this year. The first fall rains came the first week, bringing out mushrooms like we haven't seen in years. Then a return to warm and summery weather to remind us how friendly our climate can be. There were some showery days with sun-breaks mixed in there, and now the snow has returned to the mountains, blanketing them white.
Hike a section of the PCT and meet some hardy thru-hikers!
By mile 2,155, when thru-hikers reach the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River, after 120 days and nights on the trail, those tenacious souls have traversed dry deserts, scrambled over snowy Sierra passes, meandered through alpine meadows on the Cascade Crest, and covered the entire lengths of California and Oregon.
Only another 500 miles through the State of Washington to go.
I try to get out on the PCT as much as I can this time of year. That's when the northbound PCT thru-hikers are coming through my neck of the woods. I enjoy talking to them and learning from them. It's always amazing to hear how, after four months steady, they have adapted to life on the trail.
We were just hauling our load of trail magic goodies and swag to the trailhead when the first thru-hiker came by. Andrew had to call out to him to tell him to stop. His name was Hike A While, from Spokane, WA, and he carried a ULA CDT pack, which weighed in a smidge under twenty pounds. (note: All weight estimates my own, made by lifting the packs.)
Hike A While was eager to chow down on hot dogs, donuts, watermelon, pineapple, chips, crackers and anything else edible we brought. Thru-hikers are notoriously ravenenously hungry - their bodies go through a metabolic shift after four months and two thousand miles on the trail. They can eat anything, and lots of it.
It was a gorgeous summer weekend on Mt. Hood National Forest, and everyone was out enjoying it. The campgrounds were full, and parked cars lined the side of the highway winding through the Clackamas basin. We kept driving, and the crowds thinned out. Just one car sat at the Hawk Mountain trail head. Two hikers came out while we were picknicking in the shade. They drove off in their car, and we were alone in the woods on a beautiful summer day.
Next Adventure was thrilled to participate in the 5th Annual National Get Outdoors Day event in Vancouver, WA, last weekend. It was a blue-sky, gorgeous day on either side of the Columbia, and people did not need much incentive to get out, but the event opened minds to new ideas of what to do in the great outdoors.