Sometime in the 1930s, Forest Service employee Lee C. Port named three volcanic peaklets along the Cascade Crest north of Sevenmile Marsh after his wife (Maude) and two daughters (Ethel and Ruth). These names became official when they appeared on the 1955 edition of the topographic map for this area. Maude is the tallest peak on the Crest between Crater Lake National Park and Devils Peak, and thus seemed like it could offer some great views. This hike was planned for last year until the Blanket Fire blew-up, closed the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and burned south to Maude’s western flank. So today’s hike was a lonesome (The LovedOne was mulching the garden) twofer: summit Maude for the view and check-out snow conditions along the PCT and the Crest.
I quickly came to the PCT and started north on it. There are still patches of snow – most small but some quite extensive – from this trail junction up to Maude Mountain. I left the PCT at a point where it was completely covered in snow,
and then headed directly up Maude’s south side. This was pretty easy going through open forest but it got progressively steeper, and real steep just before the top, which is a rounded dome of cinders.
And, oh, the view. As usual, photos don’t do it justice – you need to experience this directly. Stick the old sensorium out there and let the expanse flow through you!
The combined effects of the 2008 Middle Fork Fire (gray snags) and the 2017 Blanket Creek Fire (black trunks/brown crowns) were sadly evident to the northwest.
The original plan had been to proceed along the ridge from Maude over Ethel and Ruth and then return via the PCT. But the thought of working my way back along a PCT patched with soft snow didn’t appeal, so I opted to leave the ridge between Maude and Ethel. Turns out that my concern about snow on the PCT further north was unfounded – it had all melted due to lack of a shady canopy.
This is on the very edge of the burn area and was initially a very steep descent through an area devoid of organic ground cover (just bare dirt), with burned trees to the north and still green ones to the south.
At the bottom of the slope, I passed out of the burn area and reconnected with the PCT in an area that still looks “normal,” while 100 yards north of here it’s all black trunks and sour old campfire smells.
As for snow, there were some big patches on the piece of the PCT I was on but, from Maude, it looked like there was no snow lingering in the burn area, probably because there’s no shade there anymore. To the south, along the north side of Devils Peak, there’s still plenty of snow – trying to follow the PCT south would involve a snow climb to the ridge east of Devils. Give it another 2-3 weeks and it should all be melted. On the way out, I stopped to enjoy the view of a patch of water on the west side of the Wood River Valley.
A nice moderate hike (9.6 miles round-trip; 1,800 feet of elevation gain) on an iconic trail, with some steep-in-places cross-country to really great views. Maude’s proximity to good trails and the views from the top make this an excellent choice for a dayhike.