Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Marion Lake

It was almost the end of July, and I'd yet to go camping.  Usually by now, Roger and I would've had at least a couple overnight excursions under our belts.  So on the last full weekend in July, I told my hubby to make plans - we were going camping!

My guys, ready to go!

Where to go?  We were both tired of the usual places - state and Forest Service campgrounds that, although scenic, were horribly overcrowded and noisy. 

I poured over my maps, and found some good candidates in the Willamette National Forest near Detroit Lake.  And - to seal the deal - there were some great hiking trails into the adjacent Mt. Jefferson Wilderness.  Hubby and I packed the car that Friday morning, and headed for Santiam Pass.

Ginormous fir tree

Roger and I found a sweet place - the Riverside Campground, about fifteen miles east of Detroit Lake, right off of Hwy 22.  Although the proximity to the highway meant some traffic noise, we found a lovely campsite right on the Santiam River.  The river's rushing waters drowned out all but the loudest trucks.  And we pitched our tent amidst a grove of gigantic old growth Douglas firs.  Perfect!

Pretty pink fluffy flower

After unloading, setting up camp, and taking a quick walk around the area, the day was still young.  I suggested a short hike.  The trail to Marion Lake was nearby.  Only a 6 mile round-trip trek, we could be to the lake and back in plenty of time for dinner.  Roger was game.

Lake Ann

For the past two months, Roger has been healing from two bulging discs in his neck.  He's been diligently doing physical therapy exercises and they have helped immensely.  Because of this, my hubby hadn't done any hiking yet this year.  But he was feeling better, and wanted to give it a try.  As a precaution, I told him not to carry a large amount of weight in his backpack.  I limited Roger to three small water bottles, and nothing else, in a small pack. This left me to carry the rest of the load (which really wasn't much - and besides, I'm used to carrying a heavy pack).

Bright red berries on this bush

Our trail started out in a magnificent old growth forest, full of huge Douglas Fir and cedar trees.  As many times as I've strolled through these wonderful woods, I never tire of gaping in awe at such enormous grandfather trees.

Three Fingerd Jack come into view

After about a mile and a half of gradual climbing, the trail leveled out at Lake Ann, a small forest-rimmed lake.  Fluffy pink flowers were blooming along the shore (which I have no idea of the name). 

Marion Lake's blue waters

We continued on past Lake Ann, and after almost three miles of dusty plodding reached the shore of Marion Lake.  What a beauty!  It's waters sapphire blue, the lake also boasted a nice view of a rugged mountain named Three Fingered Jack.

Roger and Bear cool their heels

By now it was well into mid-afternoon, the day's heat at it's highest.  We climbed down the steep bank to reach the lake's cool, inviting waters.  It felt great to cool our feet in Marion Lake.  Such a beautiful place - the water so clear, the scenery wonderful.  And even some bonus wild roses blooming along the shore!

Beautiful wild rose

One side of the lake had many nice campsites.  I saw a couple of parties had pitched tents and a couple other men were manning fishing poles along the rocky shore.  Looked like a great place to spend the night. 

Marion Lake's clear waters

After cooling off and having a snack, Roger and I laced up hiking boots, and retraced our steps back along the shoreline.  For our return trip, we took a different trail that followed the lake's western perimeter and wound through a thick forest before rejoining the main trail near Lake Ann.

More great lake and mountain views

Three Fingered Jack's craggy summit was our constant companion as we walked along the shore.  It rose from the forest like a gothic cathedral. 

View of 2003 forest fire

Near the lake's outlet creek was a great view across the lake to the surrounding hills, silver with dead trees from a 2003 fire.  It gave a sobering visual to the enormity of the damage.

Bear and I on the bridge

At the end of the lake, a cute log bridge spanned the outlet creek.  If we had more time, the trail on the other side of this bridge led hikers to a great viewpoint atop Marion Mountain.

This trail sign has seen better days

The short connector trail between Marion Lake's outlet and Lake Ann had one more surprise.  According to my guidebook, a side trail led to a secret seldom-visited waterfall.  Roger and I had to check it out.  The trail was very sketchy and looked like it hadn't been maintained in some time.  Crashing through the underbrush, I began to wonder if this was just a wild goose chase.  But then I heard rushing water.  The trail petered out at the top of a huge thunderous waterfall.  It was impressive indeed!  But in order to get a good look at the falls, one had to perch themselves out on a precarious rock ledge.  I wasn't up to taking that much risk for a photograph, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Yellow sunstreaks on Lake Ann

After our heart-pounding waterfall encounter, Lake Ann greeted us with calm, colorful yellow streaks in her peaceful waters.  A combination of lake vegetation and evening light created this cool phenomenon. 

Evening light on the lakeside flowers

We'd took much longer than anticipated to complete this short 6-mile trek, and didn't reach the trailhead until nearly 7 o'clock.  Finally returning to our campsite, we ended up eating dinner as the sky got dark. 

But it was great to squeeze in this short, scenic hike on a hot summer's afternoon.  I was looking forward to exploring another trail the following day.  Stay tuned for my next post and see where I go.

Sharing with:  Weekly Top Shot.


  1. Beautiful shots sounds like a perfect get away for the summer

  2. I love your escapades and your writings about them. You take us to places we may otherwise never get to see.
    I admire your strength, both in body and mind.

  3. Another fine collection of photos. The scenery is so beautiful.

  4. What a beautiful hike. It just seemed to have everything from the mountain view and the lake view plus the wild flowers.

  5. The picture of the sunstreaks on Lake Ann is just beautiful. Looks like a fun hike. I'm sure you enjoy it when Roger is able to go. Bill isn't the avid hiker I am, but he's still my favorite hiking partner and I love it when he's willing to go.

  6. Another gorgeous location & hike!
    I'm with you - we avoid noisy & overcrowded campgrounds at all costs.
    Love those ginormous trees. And Three Fingered Jack!
    Thanks for sharing this great place & your beautiful photos.

  7. What a great place to go camping! The water is so beautiful. And that ginormous tree really is huge! Woah. Hope you have a great weekend :)

  8. Awesome that your hubby had recovered enough from his disc problem to join you hiking--beautiful lake and flowers!
    I don't know what the name of the flower, but the blooms look very much like our spirae--could it be that there is a wild kind?
    Camping--miss it SO much!

  9. Awesome! Love Three Fingered Jack!

  10. What an awesome place to hike and camp.

  11. Wayne hasn't hiked with me much the past two years due to increasing lower back pain. He had surgery 10 years ago and has been afraid they will want to cut again. He finally went in for an MRI but no results yet. Glad your husband is feeling well enough to go along on such a lovely camping trip!

  12. So pretty!
    What a wonderful way to spend a week-end.
    Lea's Menagerie

  13. What a glorious place to hike. I love your writing. It makes me feel I have gone along with you.

  14. Glad you were finally able to go camping. The trees look hundreds of years old, they are so huge. Love the shots of the lake too. It's really beautiful.

    Have a good week!

  15. Wow, what the fantastic views of the lake! looking pleasant. such a great tour, described beautifully with the spectacular photographs.....

  16. Hi! Nice scenery. Your photos are very beautiful. It's the perfect trip for you and your husband.

  17. What a refreshing feeling to this post Linda :)
    Those flowers must be similar to the flowers I photographed near our pond area , same shape.
    Wish I knew the name of them.

  18. Nice scenery. Your photos are very beautiful. It's the perfect trip for you and your husband.
    Thanks to Linda.

    Lakeview Lodge bed and breakfast gidgegannup


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