Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

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VanMarmot
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Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by VanMarmot » September 2nd, 2012, 6:39 am

I hiked to Lookingglass Lake (below Mt. Adams) last year via the Stagman Ridge trail and was truly impressed by what a beautiful little lake it is. Looking for a different way to visit Lookingglass, I came across Hike #62 in Nelson's Day Hiking South Cascades which has you reaching the lake from the W via the PCT. By using part of what was the original (1960s) alignment of the Round-the-Mountain (RTM) Trail, I was able to make a partial loop out of this hike. Here, the PCT starts from a TH off Rd 521 (just off Rd 23) about 13.5 mi N of Trout Lake and goes about a mile before entering the Mt. Adams Wilderness.

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Ultimately you'll climb 2200' but the PCT is so gently graded and in such good condition, you hardly notice. The first 5 miles or so are through a low-undergrowth forest. Best water in this section is where the PCT crosses the upper-most reaches of the White Salmon River.

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Eventually, the PCT reaches a junction with the RTM and Stagman Ridge trails. I took the Stagman Ridge trail down to where it makes a sharp right turn just at the edge of a creek. From there, I turned on to the clearly visible (on the far side of the creek) alignment of the original RTM trail heading E. It's easy to follow and makes a few minor (and one not so minor) creek crossings as it heads toward the lake.

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Lookingglass Lake is in a shallow bowl just below the trail about 0.7 mi E of the Stagman Ridge trail.

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There was only one group camped at the lake when I got there (later I would meet several more backpacking groups enroute to the lake), so I had the lake pretty much to myself for lunch (it also took the mosquitoes most of my lunch break to find me). After lunch, I went NE on Trail 9A (old RTM trail) to connect with the "new" RTM trail at about 6000'. Along the way, I caught a view of St. Helens,

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and passed through fields of fragrant lupines.

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About 0.5 mi W of the 9A/RTM trail junction, the trail leaves the trees and traverses a steep slope, which affords views of Mt. Hood to the S,

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and of Mt. Adams looming above you. :shock:

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A little further W I came to Horseshoe Meadow (mosquitoes were a lot more aggressive here) with its truly iconic view of Adams.

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From here, it was all downhill through a forest softened by the afternoon light.

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I had seen no one in the morning and one group at the lake, but on the way down in the afternoon I passed a half dozen groups of backpackers heading (mostly) for Lookingglass Lake. I can understand why as it's a truly beautiful destination for either a dayhike or a backpack. And today's weather was, of course, totally bluebird and perfect for hiking. :D All told, 15 mi RT and 2500' EG.

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drm
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by drm » September 2nd, 2012, 7:47 am

I think that the loop portion of this is in the Field Guide: http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org ... Ridge_Hike

Though it accesses it via Stagman.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by VanMarmot » September 2nd, 2012, 2:14 pm

drm wrote:I think that the loop portion of this is in the Field Guide: http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org ... Ridge_Hike

Though it accesses it via Stagman.
It is. I did this loop last year (Stagman 2011) but didn't realize at the time that the "use" trail from Stagman to the lake was actually the old RTM trail.
Last edited by VanMarmot on September 4th, 2012, 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chase
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by Chase » September 2nd, 2012, 4:27 pm

Nice pictures! There's some sweet off-trail stuff to the south and east of that lake should you return and feel adventurous.

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Roy
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by Roy » September 3rd, 2012, 7:49 pm

That is a pretty little lake I remember it was so clear and shallow you could see the colors of the stunted eastern brook trout that were in there.

Nice tr and photos as always.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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VanMarmot
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by VanMarmot » September 25th, 2012, 1:17 pm

The Cascade Creek fire has burned through many of the areas shown in this TR. Very sad. :cry: But very glad I got to see them.

Here's an incomplete list of places inside the fire perimeter. (Obviously, there will be different degrees of severity.)
-- all of Horseshoe Meadow,
-- reached The Bumper at 6,490 ft.,
-- about two-thirds of the Stagman Ridge Trail,
-- roughly three miles of the Pacific Crest Trail,
-- reached Crystal Lake at 6,247 ft.,
-- "Island lake" (largest in Mt. Adams Wilderness),
-- roughly three miles of the Round-the-Mountain Trail,
-- nearly all of the Shorthorn Trail,
-- Lookinglass Lake,
-- the first mile or so of the South Climb Trail,
-- miles of other trails (not shown) within and outside of the Wilderness.

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bobcat
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Re: Lookingglass Lake via PCT 01-Sep-2012

Post by bobcat » September 26th, 2012, 6:51 am

Yes, pretty much every trail on the south side of Adams west of the Aiken Lava Bed. Add to your list the lower trails that can be done earlier in the season:

Crofton Butte - Gotchen Creek
Salt Creek
Cold Springs (make a loop around the lava bed with Snipes Mountain)

One of my favorite areas is all burned up!

Most, if not all, the trails will be reopened, but hiking around large burns turns me off. I spent some time in the B & B Burn (south side of the Jefferson Wilderness) a couple of years ago. I knew it before the burn, but my recent experience did not make me want to go back. There's a certain beauty in the starkness, but mile after mile it becomes depressing - and then there's the inevitable and constant deadfall to negotiate.

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