North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

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wnshall
Posts: 82
Joined: July 17th, 2009, 10:31 am

North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by wnshall » July 3rd, 2014, 11:06 pm

My 9-year old daughter and I enjoyed a one night backpack trip to North Lake. North Lake is in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness, nestled between Mt. Defiance and Green Point Mtn, in the same general area as Wahtum Lake and Waucoma ridge, but without all the crowds. Indeed in our two full days we saw 4 other people: two at the trailhead and two up on Green Pt Mtn. The trip was a good distance for my 9-year old to tackle with a pack, provided a variety of day hiking options, and featured a beautiful lake setting.

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North Lake

We started from the Rainy Lake campground. To get there you head through Hood River. I strongly suggest following the driving directions given in the field guide here. I stupidly followed directions from Google (I didn't realize until too late that they were different from those in the field guide), which sends you on Kingsley road towards Kingsley Reservoir. The directions called for turning onto Dead Point road which then connects to NF-2820, which takes you to Rainy Lake. While this looked plausible on my Oregon Atlas, I completely missed the turn, and I think this section of Dead Point Rd may be gated and/or unmaintained. Instead I ended up at Kingsley Reservoir. At this point I still hadn't realized my mistake, so I continued on a rough, rocky road past Kingsley Reservoir. After about three, slow miles on this sketchy, narrow, rocky road I arrived at a junction with a much better maintained gravel road. I didn't really know where I was, but just then a car came up from the left. Turns out they too were looking for Rainy Campground, and were a bit lost, but were pretty sure they were on NF-2820. After looking at my map for a while I finally figured out where we were -- on my map the sketchy road connecting Kingsley Reservoir to NF-2820 is called Larch Mt Rd. From this junction it was just 4.3 miles to Rainy Campground. So, in the end I made it using the Google directions, but I don't recommend it. The field guide directions are more straightforward and keep you on better-maintained roads. NF-2820 is generally a pretty well-maintained gravel road, with just some pot holes, ruts, and rocky spots. My Volvo Wagon had no trouble navigating it.

So, after that adventure, we arrived at Rainy Campground. This is a rustic campground with 4 campsites with picnic tables. The county charges a fee for camping ($10) and day-use ($5). It was bit unclear whether you were supposed to pay if you were just parking your car and hiking or backpacking. I decided to err on the side of caution and paid the $10 overnight fee.

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Ready to go!

A short 1/4 walk from the campground leads you to Rainy Lake. The 1 1/4 mile trail to North Lake passes through stately forest, going first down slightly, and then up again to the lake; there's little overall elevation gain between the two lakes.

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Rainy Lake

North Lake is a beautiful smallish mountain lake beneath the rock pile cliffs of Green Pt ridge. There's a nice campsite right where the trail reaches the lake. Some additional sites are along the lake to the left. The trail continues around the lake to the right, providing access to the east and north shore.

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North Lake

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Campsite

After setting up camp, my daughter was eager to explore the lake. The water was quite refreshing and welcome on this hot day. We found lots of crayfish, which dissuaded us from doing too much wading. The lake is quite shallow along here, so we didn't try any swimming either, although it looks like it's deeper along the north shore.

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Wading in North Lake
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Crayfish

After cooling off, we decided to hike over to Bear lake, on the flanks of Mt. Defiance. A 1 mile section of the Wyeth trail connects North Lake to the Mt. Defiance trailhead on NF-2820. Bear Lake is another mile or so up the trail. So a short time later we arrived at Bear Lake, another beautiful mountain lake. There are two or three campsites here as well. We didn't see any crayfish, but did find lots of salamanders. We joined the salamanders and took a swim in the cool, refreshing water. After drying off and warming up in the sun, we headed back to camp.

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Bear Lake

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Enjoying dinner at camp. Sweet and sour pork and Raspberry crumble by Mountain House. Yum!

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Everything tastes better outside, says my daughter.

It didn't get nearly as cold at night as I expected - my not terribly trustworthy thermometer indicated it was 60 degrees at 7 am, when I expected more like 50 or even 40 degrees. The clouds covering the sky due to the marine layer returning probably explain the moderated night time temps.

After breakfast, we tackled a loop hike up onto Green Pt. Ridge to Green Pt. Mtn, down to Rainy and back to North lake. We followed the trail around the east side of North lake and picked up the Wyeth trail headed north. Once past the lake the trail descends through the forest working its way around to a junction with Green Point Ridge Trail. Turning left, we headed up the ridge, steeply at first, and then much more gradually. This is a largely viewless hike through forest until the peak of Green Pt. Mtn. Lush forest below, dryer, more austere (dominated by Noble fir?) up on the plateau.

After about 4.5 miles you finally reach the peak of Green Pt. Mtn. While mostly overgrown, a rocky outcrop does yield nice views of Hood, Adams, Mt. Defiance, and Rainy Lake below.

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Mt. Hood
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It's a short 1.5 mile hike back down to North Lake.

After a final dip in North Lake to cool off, we packed up our gear and hiked the 1.5 miles back to our car. Two completely full days happily spent in the wilderness. Bugs were a little annoying during evenings and mornings, worse the second day than the first, but nothing a little DEET couldn't take care of.

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We made it!

Does anyone know the history of Rainy and North Lake? Both appear to have man-made walls or dams built across their outlets. Are they in fact man-made or man-enhanced lakes? If so, for what purpose?

North lake served as a superb base for backpacking with kids. Other hiking options include the approx 6 mile round trip to the top of Mt. Defiance or the 12 mile hike to Wahtum lake. More ambitious or multi-day trips could include loops to Wahtum lake or Warren lake on the other side of Defiance, or even Cedar Swamp campsite on Herman Creek Trail.

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TwoPaw
Posts: 63
Joined: July 28th, 2013, 10:30 am

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by TwoPaw » July 4th, 2014, 6:40 am

Don't know the history of the lakes but your post solved a mystery for me. Couple of weeks ago I hiked to Burnt Lake and saw this miniature lobster, you see - of course, it was a Crayfish. Fortunately, the one I saw appears to have been native; a Signal Crayfish. Many invasive ones out there, especially at motorized lakes...

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sgyoung
Posts: 321
Joined: November 3rd, 2013, 7:30 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by sgyoung » July 4th, 2014, 11:59 am

Nice TR, and that is very cool that your daughter was such a trooper. Very impressive. Glad you guys had a great trip.

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Roy
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Joined: January 25th, 2010, 6:35 pm

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by Roy » July 5th, 2014, 12:58 pm

Nice to see some kids on here the smiles tell the story.
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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RobinB
Posts: 762
Joined: September 9th, 2013, 11:29 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by RobinB » July 5th, 2014, 10:51 pm

Your daughter looks so happy! Thanks for the TR - it brought back happy memories of hiking with my dad when I was that age :)

Limey
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Joined: December 19th, 2012, 2:34 pm

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by Limey » July 6th, 2014, 6:31 am

Great kids backpack. I could never get my daughter to get into hiking, still can't convince her that she would like it and she is now 38. The man made appearance at the lake outlets probably dates back to the logging days. There were log flumes that ran from Rainy, North and Black lakes all the way down to Ruthton. There is a thread on here somewhere which talks about it and an old map showing the flumes. Very cool. Anyway, I really enjoyed your tr.

deuelio
Posts: 10
Joined: July 17th, 2013, 11:09 am

Re: North Lake Kid's Backpack Trip 7/1-7/2/14

Post by deuelio » July 6th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Everything tastes better outside
wnshall's daughter.

I put this quote up there with all the great quotes by all the great explorers in history.

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