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|On the shore of Olallie Lake|
It's been many years since we've camped at Olallie Lake. This lake is part of a larger scenic area consisting of a high forested plateau and lots of small, charming mountain lakes. It's very remote - located deep in the Mt. Hood National Forest sandwiched between Mts. Hood and Jefferson. I remembered a long drive over bumpy gravel roads to get there.
|Fireweed flowers were everywhere|
|Monon Lake with the tip of Mt. Jefferson|
It was another trek through an old fire zone. In 2001, a large forest fire swept through this area and ghostly gray trees bore stark reminders of the disaster. But like Canyon Creek Meadows, this area was well on its way to recovery. Large bushes and small trees covered the ground. Rose-colored fireweed flowers brightened the scene.
Vivid blue and beautiful, Olallie and Monon are the largest lakes in the Olallie Scenic Area. But they couldn't be more different. Olallie Lake boasts a small resort with cabins, boat rentals and a tiny general store. It is ringed with three USFS campgrounds. Since Olallie Lake is used as a drinking water source, swimming is not allowed, but fishing and boating are permitted.
|Olallie Butte makes a perfect reflection on Monon Lake|
Monon Lake, on the other hand is totally undeveloped. No official campgrounds at all. But swimming is allowed, and there's a nice trail following the entire shoreline. Many people make the trek to Monon to get their water sports fix. (And I noticed lots of "squatter" campers clustered between the road and the west shore).
|Boggy meadows around Monon Lake|
I began my afternoon stroll on Olallie Lake's south shore. It took a little bushwhacking to finally locate the trail, but once found, it was an enjoyable half mile from my campsite to Monon Lake. Fireweed flowers bloomed profusely near the water's edge. Olallie Butte, rising above the lake-dotted plateau, was my constant companion. As I left Olallie's shore behind, I entered the burn zone from a previous fire.
|Entering the burn zone|
Once again, this fire-ravaged area was much more interesting and scenic than expected. The silvery gray dead trees made for a beautiful contrast with the blue sky. Flowers and green shrubs rose from the forest's floor. Good photographic material.
|Fireweed in the evening sun|
As I approached Monon Lake, I was delighted to see the very tip of Mt. Jefferson appear over the treed horizon. I circled the lake clockwise, first making my way through the burn zone. As I approached the southern edge, dead trees gave way to untouched forest and swampy meadows. In some areas, logs had been placed over the trail. I'm assuming this area gets quite muddy certain times of the year. Looking across the lake, I noticed Olallie Butte making a nice reflection on its lovely blue waters. Kodak moment!
I continued along the western side of Monon Lake, past many primitive camps, where people had just pulled off the road and squeezed a tent in the narrow space between the road and shore. After a half mile, I left the squatters behind, and wound through another brilliant green meadow, complete with boardwalks and a cute footbridge. This led me back to the north side of Monon Lake, through another burn zone. This area looked to have received the brunt of the fire's wrath. Many trees still bore blackened scars from the inferno. A very somber place.
|Happy Anniversary to us!|
I returned to our campsite to find Roger stoking a nice campfire, and prepping a steak dinner. I opened up a bottle of wine and we had a toast. It was our 27th wedding anniversary. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than being outdoors at this lovely lake with my wonderful husband.
|Mt. Jefferson evening reflection on Olallie Lake|
After dinner, the sun began to set over the forested hills. It's rays turned the adjacent trees a soft pink hue. Too late, I grabbed my camera and hurried to the lakeshore. I caught the sun's last rays on Mt. Jefferson before it was gone for the night. And I did get one nice reflection of the mountain on Olallie's ripply surface.
Ahhh.....what a great day! And tomorrow held the promise of another new hike to explore. Stay tuned for my next post for photos and story.
Linking to: Share Your Cup Thursday.