Dwarfed by Fire (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 27-Oct-2017

Dwarf Lakes Area Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

The Sky Lakes Wilderness stretches north to south along the Cascade Crest between Crater Lake National Park in the north and State Highway 140 in the south. Three major lake basins (Seven Lakes, Sky Lakes, and Blue Canyon) occupy this wilderness and we’ve so far hiked in all of them.  But the Dwarf Lakes Area, a subsidiary of the Sky Lakes Basin, had gone unvisited, and I’d planned a first visit for earlier this Fall.  But then a host of wildfires (the High Cascades Complex) blew-up, keeping this wilderness closed until the end of September.  One of the complex’s component fires, the North Pelican, had burned its way west off the slopes of Pelican Butte and into the southern end of the Sky Lakes Basin.  Then an early season blanket of snow put an end (mostly) to this reign of fire, opening the way for a late-in-the-season visit to the Dwarf Lakes.  With the LovedOne busy at the library, I approached this hike solo with a lot of trepidation about what I would find the North Pelican had done to this basin.

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Luther Mountain Loop (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 23-Aug-2015

Luther Mountain Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

The Sky Lakes Wilderness is as famous as the Indian Heaven Wilderness for the dense swarms of winged vampires that make hiking and backpacking there in July and August an ordeal. Well, not this year. Probably the only good thing to come from the prolonged drought and dearth of snow here in Southern Oregon is the devastating effect it seems to have had on the mosquito population (oh, boo hoo 😈 ). Except for some pathetic stragglers attempting to get in a bite at the trailheads, mosquitos have been largely absent from the lakes this year. That, combined with most of this wilderness being on the less smoky (but far from smoke-free) side of the Cascades, has prompted several day hike explorations of the area. Yesterday, I used the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to make a loop from the Cold Spring Trailhead up to Luther Mountain and back.

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Heavenly Twin Lakes (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Aug-2015

Heavenly Twin Lakes Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

First it got real hot down here. Then we got heavily smoked by wildfires to the north and in California to the south. Then The LovedOne’s knee went blooey. While we were waiting for the doc to say she could put some weight on it, the air temperatures dropped (only 90F today!) and the winds started shifting the smoke around (still plenty of it though). To escape some of the smoke and work the knee a bit, we decided to hike in to the Sky Lakes Wilderness from the Cold Spring Trailhead via an excellent, almost level trail, that passes by some neat lakes.

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