Not a Local

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jhiker001
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Joined: February 10th, 2019, 4:58 am

Not a Local

Post by jhiker001 » February 10th, 2019, 5:55 am

Hi, I’m not from Oregon, but I’ve been there once before. I’m from PA. Last year I stepped into the eastern side of Oregon by dipping into the Snively Hot Spring after a fantastic backpacking trip in the Sawtooths of Idaho. But anyway, I wanted to join this site because I’m going on a backpacking trip this summer to Eagle Cap Wilderness and was hoping to gain some insightful knowledge before heading there. Thanks!

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texasbb
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Re: Not a Local

Post by texasbb » February 10th, 2019, 2:54 pm

Howdy, 001, and welcome from a misplaced Texan who's now a Washingtonian, but hikes Oregon a bit. You'll love Eagle Cap, hard to go wrong there. Do you have an idea of your itinerary?

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jhiker001
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Re: Not a Local

Post by jhiker001 » February 11th, 2019, 11:52 am

I do, Tex. We plan to start at Two Pan Trailhead and hike into the Lake Basin area. We want to spend 3 nights there, spending each night at a different lake, as well as hiking up Eagle Cap. I also plan want to do some fishing up there. Then we'll spend our last night at Minam Lake, and head back out to the trailhead. Have you been in that area?

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texasbb
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Re: Not a Local

Post by texasbb » February 11th, 2019, 1:05 pm

Yes, I'm pretty familiar with that area. The Lakes Basin can be crowded at times (though "crowded" is relative...the Wallowas don't get near the traffic as some places). I think Two Pan is the best starting point if you just want to enjoy the Basin, and I think you're doing it right taking the East Fork Lostine on the way in and the West Fork out. The views to Eagle Cap along the three-mile wet meadow on the East Fork are marvelous. I did that same route a few years ago (just two nights); you can see here if interested. A couple of other trips that went through the Lakes Basin here and here.

Eagle Cap is definitely worth the fairly easy walk-up. I think Glacier Lake is one of the prettiest up there, so I'd recommend doing a night there. The view to it coming down from Glacier Pass is nice. Among the other lakes, I don't recommend Horseshoe because its camp spots are so overused they're basically covered with two inches of "flour," but I do see a lot of fishermen there, so maybe it's worth it. Crescent, Lee, and Douglas are nice if you want a little more solitude (but no Eagle Cap views).

Bugs can be bad in the early season (July, early August), and there are occasional thunderstorms to dodge, but it's a beautiful place. I know you'll enjoy it.

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jhiker001
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Re: Not a Local

Post by jhiker001 » February 11th, 2019, 7:54 pm

Thanks, Tex. I looked at many of your pics and now I'm even more excited to hike there than before (and trust me, I was pretty excited). I think Glacier Lake will definitely be one of our campsites. We're going at the end of July so hopefully most of the snow will have melted. And if the bugs are bad, it sure wouldn't be the first time. Thanks for the info!

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drm
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Re: Not a Local

Post by drm » February 24th, 2019, 9:10 am

Typically you would still have snow on the higher passes in late July, especially on north facing sides. That would include getting to Glacier Lake from the basin. That shouldn't stop you, but you can check back here as it gets closer to see how it all looks. Don't plan to camp right at the lakeshore as they have been enforcing restrictions to stay back a bit. Fortunately there are usually granite benches a little back with flat campsites that still provide views of the lakes, and even better views of Eagle Cap.

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retired jerry
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Re: Not a Local

Post by retired jerry » February 24th, 2019, 2:06 pm

echoing what was already said. I've done trips in the Wallowas a few times starting about 1970

Two Pan is probably the best trailhead - shortest to get to the nicer alpine area

Lakes Basin is over crowded. Maybe spend the night at Mirror Lake and hike down through the lower Lakes Basin as a day hike. Glacier Lake better. Go to the top of Eagle Cap, basically just a trail.

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Bosterson
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Re: Not a Local

Post by Bosterson » February 24th, 2019, 4:10 pm

retired jerry wrote:
February 24th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Maybe spend the night at Mirror Lake and hike down through the lower Lakes Basin as a day hike. Glacier Lake better. Go to the top of Eagle Cap, basically just a trail.
I would not recommend staying at Mirror Lake, as when I was there the year before last it was a zoo full of yahoos with illegal fires. Glacier Lake is amazing and I think less crowded since it's harder to reach. (I've only ever passed through, never camped there.) Eagle Cap is a good walk up dayhike from the Lakes Basin, though a bit farther from Glacier. You could always detour to Eagle Cap on the way in or out though.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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jhiker001
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Re: Not a Local

Post by jhiker001 » February 26th, 2019, 6:53 pm

Thank you all for your informative feedback regarding Eagle Cap. I think at this time the best thing for us to do is to sit back and see what the snow conditions hold come July. I appreciate the info about the rowdiness that can occur at Mirror Lake-not what most of us sign up for. And I'll also keep in mind the info about not camping too close to Glacier Lake. We spent the night too close to a lake in the Wind River Range a couple years ago and the ranger made us move back- lesson learned.

If I could pick your brain one more time, I'd appreciate it- If this Eagle Cap trip falls through due to snow conditions, what else do you recommend? We're flying into Portland at the end of July and we have about a week. What do you think of Goat Rocks? Three Sisters? Mt. Rainier? (I hiked a portion of the Wonderland Trail about 20 years ago but that feels like so long ago) Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance!

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retired jerry
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Re: Not a Local

Post by retired jerry » February 26th, 2019, 7:12 pm

If you take the East Lostine trail to it's junction, just before Mirror lake, the terrain isn't very steep. 1/2 mile in any direction you can find nice places to camp away from the crowds at Mirror Lake.

I did a Three Sisters trip last July, not too much snow. The bugs were sure terrible. Make sure and bring long sleeve shirt, pants, headnet. Into August it gets better. All of the Cascades and Wallowas are similar. It depends on the exact time and weather and so forth. Three Sisters is probably my favorite. Goat Rocks is good too. Rainier is pretty crowded, you have to sign up for specific sites on specific nights.

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