|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.
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.