Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

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ElementalFX
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Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by ElementalFX » August 14th, 2018, 12:48 pm

Note: This is Part 1 of my southern Oregon PCT trip report. Part 2. Part 3.


From July 16 to July 28, I hiked a section of the Oregon Pacific Crest Trail from Hyatt Lake to Mazama Village, along the way passing through Brown Mountain, Mt. McLoughlin, the Sky Lakes Wilderness, and the Oregon Desert.

I intended to go further, but because of foot problems (planar fasciitis), was only able to max out at around 15 miles or so tops (with considerable pain). Regardless, I plan on continuing the OR and WA PCT and finishing eventually.


I left behind my main DSLR camera in favor of saving some weight. So instead, used an iPhone 8 to take photos.


I brought along a tiny Flutterbat pony plush and a miniature Fluttershy figure along for the ride, taking dozens of photos of them along the trail. My goal is to eventually take her across the whole Oregon and Washington sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.




Part 1: Hyatt Lake to Fish Lake Resort.


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Opening Photos: Rounding the lava flows on Brown Mountain, with Mt. McLoughlin in view.







Trip Report


----Day 1----

Hyatt Lake to Howard Prairie Reservoir
Distance: 8.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet.
Weather/Temp.: Hot and sunny


On the first day, I started out from the unmarked PCT trailhead on E. Hyatt Lake Rd and began hiking through the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument.
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There were quite a few old growth incense cedars between Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Reservoir.



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The trail went north, from dry, open forest to oak savannah and prairies.



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Passed by many beautiful clusters of gold stars in the open, dry meadows.



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The trail wound over a bend, and led to a limited view of Howard Prairie Lake. Camped shortly there after that.



----Day 2----

Howard Prairie Reservoir to Brown Mountain Shelter
Distance: 13.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,560 feet.
Weather/Temp.: Hot and sunny


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On the second day, started out along the northeast end above Howard Prairie Lake, and passed dozens of trespassing signs every 50 feet or so.



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Crossed over the Howard Prairie Reservoir aqueduct...



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...and immediately crossed over pretty little Grizzly Creek.



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Tons of large sugar pine cones, mostly around 12 inches in length. Flutterbat (6") for scale.


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Took a detour down to Griffin Creek springs to re-fill on water. Tons of different kinds of wildflowers grew here.



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lilies


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The local wildlife loved the spot, too!


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Passed by the junction with Vulture Rock Trail. Didn't take the detour, but once I got home, did a little research and found VanMarmot's trip report on it, which seems to conclude that it disappears after it crosses a 4WD road.



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Some kind of lily?



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The trail wound around Old Baldy and through snowbrush, then entered the Rogue River National Forest.



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Once in the RRNF, things started to look much more green.



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Tons of small wildflowers through here, growing in shady areas on the forest floor.



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Massive tree splintered and fell.



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Nearing the junction with the Brown Mountain Shelter, the trail passed through thickets of rhododendron.



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Stayed at Brown Mountain Shelter for the night.




-----Day 3------

Brown Mountain Shelter to Fish Lake Resort
Distance: 12.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,110 feet.
Weather/Temp.: Mild and Sunny

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Started out in the forest, then traversed around the lava flows around Brown Mountain.



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After a few miles, the trail rounded a corner and Mount McLoughlin popped into view.



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Mt McLoughlin (9,493 ft) is the most prominent volcano in the Rogue River valley. It is also the tallest volcano between Mt. Shasta in northern California and South Sister in central Oregon.



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Went through a "tunnel" in this tree!



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Pink wildflowers on the way down to Fish Lake Resort.



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Fish Lake


Stayed at the resort for two nights, then continued north to Mazama (coming in Part 2).





http://gpsfly.org/g/8359

http://gpsfly.org/g/8360

http://gpsfly.org/g/8361
Last edited by ElementalFX on September 14th, 2018, 8:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.
-ElementalFX
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Chazz
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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by Chazz » August 15th, 2018, 6:27 am

Great trip report and looking forward to the next installment. How much smoke did you encounter down there? I saw some haze in a couple of those photos.

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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by ElementalFX » August 15th, 2018, 7:37 am

Chazz wrote:
August 15th, 2018, 6:27 am
Great trip report and looking forward to the next installment. How much smoke did you encounter down there? I saw some haze in a couple of those photos.

Thank you. At the very least, I saw smoke in the distance the whole way through, all the way to Crater Lake. It faded out in the immediate area from Mt. McLoughlin to the Devils Peak ridgeline traverse in the Sky Lakes Wilderness, but you could see it off in the distance where there were views. Once past the Devils Peak saddle, through the Oregon Desert, the recent 2017 burn south of Crater Lake, and at Mazama, the smoke was extremely thick on the ground and in the air. It was billowing on the ground and you couldn't even see Crater Lake from the rim.

It was also fairly thick between Hyatt Lake and Fish Lake, especially around Brown Mountain.

This was about as smoky as it got.
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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by kmcdade » August 15th, 2018, 6:39 pm

Looks like a beautiful section! Thanks for sharing.
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Chazz
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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by Chazz » August 16th, 2018, 7:44 am

Thanks for the smoke update. I have my own section hike coming up during Labor Day weekend from Elk Lake to Odell Lake so I am on constant smoke and fire watch mode lately after getting skunked by the fires around Mt Bachelor last year.

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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by bobcat » August 17th, 2018, 7:32 am

Great report. Those iPhone photos certainly pass muster!

By the way, I think your 'giant sequoias' are really incense cedars, but good-sized ones!

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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by ElementalFX » September 14th, 2018, 8:20 pm

bobcat wrote:
August 17th, 2018, 7:32 am
Great report. Those iPhone photos certainly pass muster!

By the way, I think your 'giant sequoias' are really incense cedars, but good-sized ones!

Thank you! I saw your post before, but forgot to reply and update the post. I have the "giant sequoias" changed to incense cedars. I assumed they were sequoias because they looked just like ones I saw down in the Sierras (and subsequently assumed those were sequoias). The bark and needles looked pretty similar, if not the same.
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Re: Oregon PCT (85mi) Section Hike - Ashland to Crater Lake (Part 1)

Post by ElementalFX » September 14th, 2018, 8:21 pm

kmcdade wrote:
August 15th, 2018, 6:39 pm
Looks like a beautiful section! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you! :)
-ElementalFX
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