Old PCT route - S. Chambers Lake area?

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Jim Wagner
Posts: 30
Joined: December 2nd, 2013, 7:52 pm

Old PCT route - S. Chambers Lake area?

Post by Jim Wagner » March 29th, 2019, 10:26 am

Greetings with a new one for the Lost Trail "experts".

In the companion posting about "Table Park", I described part of a long Boy Scout hike that I took around 1957. This was well before the more recent re-alignment of the PCT.

There is one part of that 1957 trail that has continued to haunt me, because it was so unique.

I believe that this trail section was south of S. Matthieu Lake, not far south of the McKenzie Pass. My memory (not always accurate) tells me that the trail passed through a section of the lava where there were deep "channels" (deep, in this case, being 8-10') in the lava. The channel had vertical sides and a sandy (certainly lava ash) flat bottom, like a lava tube with no top. Width was narrow enough to easily touch both sides with outstretched hands, often substantially less. This feature, that the PCT followed, extended for some ways, probably over 1/2 mile.

The current trail follows the edge of the lava flow south from S. Matthieu Lake for a distance of around 0.6 miles, then climbs in a few short switchbacks onto the lava, where it makes an abrupt right angle turn to go south. I am guessing that this turn marks the point where the new trail joins up with the original alignment. However, when I was there with brother Kelly a couple of years ago, there was no sign of the old trail at that corner. The channel was pretty narrow, really not allowing two hikers to pass in opposite directions (and maybe uncomfortably narrow for horses) - that was a likely justification for relocation.

I've scoured Google Earth for a trace of that old track, but nothing shows up, that I have been able to identify. There are obvious tracks of older trails in that area, but nothing visible on the lava flow. I can't even see that channel (I think there were several parallel ones in that area).

One of the reasons this sticks so firmly in my mind is what happened in that section. The Boy Scout hike was very large, maybe 80! It would never be allowed now. We were divided into groups of 8 because the food we had, from a company in Portland that made dehydrated (pre-freezedry) 8 person meal packs. The name "Goody's" sticks in my mind. Anyway, the "main course" of the meal at Lava Camp, where we camped the preceding night, was beans. As we hiked through that channel, there were vociferous complaints from hikers at the tail end of this LONG procession about the foul "emissions" they had to pass through in that channel!

So, to bring this story and question to a close, does anyone have any information about where this feature might be?

While I am at the OSU Library Map Room, I may look for an old PCT map to see if it sheds any light. I did contact the "historian" of The Obsidians (in Eugene) and he was unable to help. Can anyone here, help?

Many thanks
Jim

RobFromRedland
Posts: 970
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Old PCT route - S. Chambers Lake area?

Post by RobFromRedland » March 29th, 2019, 4:29 pm

I don't know if this will help or not, but at the bottom of this page are scans of all the alignments of the old Skyline trail:

https://www.trailadvocate.org/historica ... ine-trail/

Maybe you could match up what you are looking for with one of those maps?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW-What a ride!

Jim Wagner
Posts: 30
Joined: December 2nd, 2013, 7:52 pm

Re: Old PCT route - S. Chambers Lake area?

Post by Jim Wagner » March 29th, 2019, 5:36 pm

Thanks, that is a real resource!

I have one of those maps somewhere, 1960s version. The resolution is just not quite enough though it does clarify that the trail did go around the east side of S. Matthieu Lake. That narrows things a lot.

Much appreciated...

Jim

Jim Wagner
Posts: 30
Joined: December 2nd, 2013, 7:52 pm

Re: Old PCT route - S. Chambers Lake area?

Post by Jim Wagner » March 29th, 2019, 9:19 pm

Hmmm, just got an idea from the Table Park conversation.

Maybe an older USGS topo would have enough resolution to show the route. Might even have one!

Jerry just posted a link to historic USGS topo maps in my Table Park thread. That looks like it may hold the key to this little puzzle.

Jim

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