Twin Ponds (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 17-Nov-2019

Well, this weekend’s promised storm never arrived and that promise has now been moved to Tuesday or whenever. We have business next week “up north” in the “big city” and The LovedOne went on ahead to troll yarn shops with friends. That left me with a day to fill with – wait for it – hiking! Since the storm never arrived, the high Cascades are still largely devoid of snow. This opened an opportunity to visit one of the more obscure trails on my list – the western end of Twin Ponds Trail #993 in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. The Forest Service lists its usage as light which I’ve learned is code for not much maintained. So, yes, there were some brushy spots, a few small fallen trees to step over or around, and some vague tread. But, overall, it was pretty easy to follow.

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McKee Lake (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 14-Oct-2019

The 117 square mile Sky Lakes Wilderness extends north and south along the Cascades between Crater Lake National Park and Highway 140. Within this wilderness are over 200 lakes both scattered across the area and gathered in three major (Seven Lakes Basin, Sky Lakes Area, Blue Canyon Group) and two smaller (McKee, Dwarf Lakes) lake basins. Established trails provide access to the three main lake basins and human use can be heavy in those. Hence my interest has been drawn to outlying lakes (like Lake Ivern at the northern end of the Seven Lakes Basin) and those in the smaller, trailess basins (like the Dwarf Lakes). Today was McKee Basin’s turn for a visit. Sans The LovedOne, who had to attend a library board meeting instead. 😦

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Lake Ivern Loop (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 01-Sep-2019

Lake Ivern sits by itself at the north end of the Seven Lakes Basin in Oregon’s Sky Lakes Wilderness. While South, Cliff, and Middle Lakes get a lot of visits (particularly from hikers on the nearby Pacific Crest Trail), Ivern’s location two miles down a one-way trail leaves it kind of isolated. I wanted to visit it but was put off by the long out-and-back which that would entail.

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Rogue Wolf Loop (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 14/15-Jun-2018

Rogue Wolf Loop Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

In 2015, the Siskiyou Mountain Club (SMC) resurrected the Wild Rogue Loop from neglected trails in the Wild Rogue Wilderness. We backpacked that loop in 2017 and had a great trip. This year the SMC announced the rehabilitation of a 27-mile loop in the Sky Lakes Wilderness, around the headwaters of the Rogue River’s Middle Fork. With a lot of help from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, the  Fremont-Winema National Forest, the High Desert Trail Riders – Back Country Horseman, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and REI, the SMC removed about 5,000 logs from portions of existing trails that had become impassable after acute wildfire damage and years of neglect. So, of course, we had to do it.  Unfortunately, The LovedOne’s knee, while getting better, wasn’t ready for a trip like this. We could have waited, but I was anxious to do this loop while the weather was still relatively cool and before any (hopefully none) wildfires closed areas or spoiled the air (like they did last year). 

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Maude Mountain (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 29-May-2018

Maude Mountain Sky Lakes Wilderness Oregon

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. 

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