Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

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VanMarmot
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Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by VanMarmot » August 26th, 2012, 7:25 am

With the snow gone and the bugs dead, it was time for a hike in Indian Heaven, probably my most favorite place within close proximity to Portland. Between one thing and another, this was my first chance this season to hike in Heaven. Starting at the Thomas Lake TH (lot was overflowing but I saw few folks on the trail), I took Tr 111 past Dee Lake,

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then past Nana Lake,

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to the point where the 111 trail veers SE at 4700'. Here, behind an old sign, there's a former trail (clear in some places, faint in others, reverting to creek bed in yet others) that heads N toward Bear Lake.

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It runs through patches of forest and across several large meadows, where you can still see (arrows) the old yellow - but now faded - posts that used to mark the route,

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past Acker Lake,

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to Bear Lake and soon a junction with the PCT. From here I followed another old trail directly E over the ridge to Clear Lake, from where I could see my goal - Lemei Rock - in the distance.

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From Tr 34, I climbed up Lemei's NW ridge, then scrambled along the rocky ridge - one exposed move - to the summit. Because Lemei is the highest point in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, it commands great views in all directions, including Adams to the NE,

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Red Mountain (arrow), Berry Mtn (b), and Gifford Peak (g) to the SW,

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St. Helens and Bird Mtn (b) to the W,

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Rainier, Bird Mtn (b, out of view), Pt 5568, and Sawtooth Mtn (s) to the N,

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and, of course, Hood to the S - still somewhat obscured by smoke.

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After lunch on Lemei, I took Tr 179 past Lemei Lake,

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then got a close look at some wildlife,

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before finally reaching Junction Lake - where I ran into the largest collection of people (7) I'd see the whole day.

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To make a loop, I went a little S on the PCT from Junction, then turned due W and went XC to Rock Lake and Tr 111.

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From there it was easy trail back to the TH.

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A near perfect hiking day - sunny, crisp, full bluebird weather with clear trails, easy XC, NO BUGS :D , and expansive views. It just doesn't get any better. 13 mi RT, 2200' EG.

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adamschneider
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by adamschneider » August 26th, 2012, 8:13 am

No bugs, really? That seems early. Good to know.

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hiker russ
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by hiker russ » August 26th, 2012, 8:59 am

Great TR and photos! Labeling the peaks and points is great!

Is there a trail up Lemei Rock? Is the exposed move difficult to get down (that's normally the issue for me)? Did you notice if there is a trail up East Crater?

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Koda
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by Koda » August 26th, 2012, 9:35 am

this is the first summer TR of Indian Heaven I've ever read where there was no bugs....

That section of trail between Rock Lake and Aker Lake I think is the old decommissioned CCT trail (Cascade Crest Trail)
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Crusak
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by Crusak » August 26th, 2012, 9:42 am

Koda wrote:this is the first summer TR of Indian Heaven I've ever read where there was no bugs....

That section of trail between Rock Lake and Aker Lake I think is the old decommissioned CCT trail (Cascade Crest Trail)
Yup, looks familiar Koda.


Great TR, VanMarmot!

That route XC that you took reminds me of a backpack trip we took a few years back. We started out cross-country but 'discovered' the old CCT and followed a good distance and ended up camping at Bear Lake. Such a super place to make a base camp and explore!

Nice to hear that the bugs are gone!
Jim's Hikes

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VanMarmot
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by VanMarmot » August 27th, 2012, 7:38 am

hiker russ wrote:Great TR and photos! Labeling the peaks and points is great!

Thanks!

Is there a trail up Lemei Rock? Is the exposed move difficult to get down (that's normally the issue for me)? Did you notice if there is a trail up East Crater?
There's no "trail" up Lemei but there is a use trail up its west ridge - which requires you to go along the summit ridge and make that one exposed move and another use trail up a scree slope on its NE side (you can see this from Tr 34). The scree slope is the easiest way to the summit as all it involves is a lot of loose dirt and rocks but no exposed climbing moves.

I've hiked to the top of East Crater (views not great) but just went XC, which wasn't too hard to do. Others may know if there's a secret use trail to the crater rim.
Last edited by VanMarmot on August 27th, 2012, 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by VanMarmot » August 27th, 2012, 7:40 am

Koda wrote:this is the first summer TR of Indian Heaven I've ever read where there was no bugs....

That section of trail between Rock Lake and Aker Lake I think is the old decommissioned CCT trail (Cascade Crest Trail)
It was buggy in June/July but both this year and last seemed to be short summers bug-wise. It may already be cold enough overnight to knock down those that are left.

Yes, it's part of the old CCT - abandoned when the PCT was moved up on the slopes to avoid crossing meadows. There's a long section of the CCT to the W of Berry Mountain that's still quite evident and easy to follow, so you could cross about half of the wilderness on the CCT.

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n.bumppo
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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by n.bumppo » August 27th, 2012, 9:40 am

VanMarmot wrote: I've hiked to the top of East Crater (views not great) but just went XC, which wasn't too hard to do. Others may know if there's a secret use trail to the crater rim.
I hiked into the crater from the south a few years ago. As I neared the rim I ran across a trail that continued down into the crater. On the way out I followed the trail hoping I could find where it started. About half way down the trail disappeared and I ended up going XC back to the PCT.
Dave

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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by littlefeet » August 27th, 2012, 1:20 pm

You might have seen my small group at Junction Lake .. four people and one small dog all passed out in the sunshine!

We spent two wonderful nights out - no skeeters and sans-rainfly at night. Scored big on huckleberries too!
Life is too short to wear tight shoes!

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Re: Indian Heaven / Lemei Rock 25-Aug-2012

Post by drm » August 27th, 2012, 5:22 pm

I gave a ride to a couple of PCT thru-hikers from Trout Lake to the Road 23 trailhead this weekend and they also said they had no issues with mosquitoes in Indian Heaven. Seems like an early end to them this year.

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