Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

Post by VanMarmot » May 30th, 2014, 6:46 am

There are a lot of trails and hiking opportunities in the mountains W of Medford, so we let the presence of a lake (which are not plentiful) guide our choice for our first hike in this area (#68 in Sullivan's Southern Oregon guide). And, unlike Wednesday's snow storms, this day was full bluebird - clear, sunny, about 70F, gentle breezes. The roads - both paved and gravel - to the Fir Glade TH off FR 1040 (or 400) were in great shape and we were soon heading S on a forest trail.

Image

A little over 0.5 mi in, and after passing a small pond, we crossed into CA (no sign, no agricultural inspection station?) and then reached the edge of the Red Butte Wilderness at Fir Glade - a huge, moist meadow.

Image

About a mile or so further S, the trail leaves the forest and passes into open, brush covered ground, with big views to match.

Image

It's still flower season down here at this altitude (~5,000') and, although not massively plentiful, there are a great many species represented, including this candy-stripe variety of Lewisia.

Image

After about 4 mi, we reached a pass at 5,300'. To the N, in the upper watershed of the Butte Fork of the Applegate River, is Phantom Meadow; the trail we came in on contours along below the ridge on the left.

Image

Looking W, we could see Preston Pk (7,309') in the Siskiyou Wilderness still holding some snow.

Image

A mile further along the trail, we arrived at the pass (at 6,000') which overlooks Azalea Lk and from which we could see snow-covered Mt McLoughlin to the E.

Image

It's 600' down to the lake, but the trail is switch-backed so gently you hardly notice either going down or coming back up.

Image

The lake itself is a shallow gem nestled in the pines.

Image

Image

It's drier down here, so the ground cover around the lake is less than what you see in the Gorge and S Washington. There are some very nice hiker campsites on the W side of the lake - perfect for a lunch break.

Image

After that we reversed our steps back to the TH, working on our tans as we went.

Image

All in all, a perfect day hiking new terrain in great weather and with huge views (13 mi RT, 2000' EG - but hardly noticeable - there's more contouring than big ups & downs). :D
Last edited by VanMarmot on January 25th, 2015, 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
sprengers4jc
Posts: 1035
Joined: October 22nd, 2013, 11:35 am
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

Post by sprengers4jc » May 30th, 2014, 6:56 am

Incredible place. Great photos, and that is the most beautiful version of a Lewisia that I have ever seen. I didn't even know this place existed but it looks like a great backpacking trip to try later this year or next. Thanks for sharing.
'We travel not to escape life but for life to not escape us.'
-Unknown

User avatar
drm
Posts: 5136
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

Post by drm » May 30th, 2014, 7:34 am

Lewisia! Lots of that where I just was in the Trinity Alps, but with fainter pink stripes.

User avatar
miah66
Posts: 2029
Joined: July 6th, 2009, 8:00 pm

Re: Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

Post by miah66 » May 30th, 2014, 7:59 am

Great TR, VanMarmot! Interesting area for sure. How do you get your skies to look so good in your photos? Mine are always washed out when the greenery in the foreground is properly exposed. A filter?
"The top...is not the top" - Mile...Mile & a Half

Instagram @pdxstrider

VanMarmot
Posts: 1923
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: Azalea Lake (OR/CA border) 29-May-2014

Post by VanMarmot » June 1st, 2014, 4:43 pm

miah66 wrote:Great TR, VanMarmot! Interesting area for sure. How do you get your skies to look so good in your photos? Mine are always washed out when the greenery in the foreground is properly exposed. A filter?
I always use a circular polarizer filter to give more depth to the sky. Works great when the air is dry (as in Medford & the Sierra Nevada (CA)) but not so good when there's a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere. I also sometimes use a 0.6 or 0.9 ND split filter - hand-held in from of the lens - to try to give more exposure to the sky.

Post Reply