We did a quick roadtrip to Southern Oregon to briefly explore the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness (between Klamath Falls and Lakeview) – Hike #82 in Sullivan’s Eastern Oregon guide (Second Edition). Part of the plan – such as it was – involved doing the three-mile roundtrip cross-country stint out to the summit of Gearhart Mountain itself, the 8,364 -foot tall volcanic dome at the end of a ridge of lesser domes. There are several different ways to approach Gearhart but we decided to start at the Lookout Rock Trailhead on the east side of the wilderness. That way we could see both the strangely shaped and layered lava outcrops known as “The Palisades” and also The Dome.
Last year we made a reconnaisance visit to Glacier National Park – our first time back in almost 30 years. We did one hike (Scalplock Mountain Lookout) in the extreme southern end of the park but were put off by the hoards swarming around the hikes further north. We gave it another try this year and (almost by chance) hit on the perfect time to visit the park: between the last week in August and the concession closures in mid-Spetember. By then most folks are past their holidays and the crowds have thinned considerably. This time we stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel (very nice, but there’s also a motor hotel and a campground nearby). Several major trails start right from the hotel’s backdoor and there is also a hotel shuttle (not free) that connects with the National Park Service (NPS) shuttle (free) that runs across the park.