Finding the Wickiup Trail (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 24-Jun-2020

I think those of us who hike (and you know who you are) all appreciate a good trail – one that’s well-graded, clear of obstacles, goes somewhere we want to go, and where its mapped incarnation matches its reality on the ground. Think of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Then there are those trails that appear on old maps (and some new ones) but may no longer exist on the ground. Nothing like including one of those in your hiking plans only to find yourself unexpectedly thrashing cross-country for several character-building miles. Still I’m drawn (despite several interventions by The LovedOne) to occasionally (the interventions must be working) look for these old trails. It’s a bit of a geeky obsession. Calling it “hiking archeology” makes it sound, ah, more respectable? 🙄

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Hiking Southern Oregon: 25 Hikes (February 2020)

To celebrate our 600th post on WordPress, we’re highlighting a select few of the many hikes we’ve enjoyed here in Southwest Oregon.

As we’ve perused lists of Oregon’s greatest hikes, we’ve come to notice that these lists are heavily skewed, with a few exceptions, toward hikes near Portland.  That metro area’s greater population helps if a list is based on some kind of vote.  And proximity to its major airport helps get votes from those who drop in for a brief Western adventure.  Even some of the classics, like the Wallowas in Eastern Oregon or the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, often don’t make these lists because they are too far away.  So a lot of “great” hikes get done near Portland – the state’s most populated town. And then the complaints roll in about how there’s no parking, the trails are too crowded, you need a permit or must pay a fee, it’s raining, etc.

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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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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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