This has been the first August in two years that has not been blighted by smoke from huge wildfires burning to the west, south, and north. This year’s fires have been either small or quickly suppressed (we now have an air tanker base at our local airport). Otherwise it’s just hot here in August (as it should be) and that heat can sap ones enthusiasm for hiking. But we wanted to get out and figured that a stroll along shaded Clover Creek in the nearby Mountain Lakes Wilderness would be cool enough since it starts at around 6,000 feet and goes up to over 7,000. 😎

So we moseyed up along the creek, past Clover Lake (still on the full side thanks to our snowy winter), and on up to a saddle on the Mountain Lakes Loop. There’s one spot on this trail where you get a good view of Mount McLoughlin – this year happily free of wraiths of smoke. At the saddle we took a snack break, briefly contemplated scrambling up Point 7703, then decided that this was far enough for this nice day in the forest. So we retraced our steps to the trailhead, looking at little things along the way. A simple, but satisfying, hike (9 miles round-trip; 1,600 feet of gain) on a good trail in the only square wilderness area in the U.S.! 🙂

Along the Clover Creek Trail
The small meadow along Clover Creek
The creek is still running in August!
Clover Lake
Point 7703 from our snack break on the Loop Trail
A snow (and smoke) free Mount McLoughlin from the Loop Trail
A spent hornet’s nest
A face in a tree
A pine cone after the squirrel