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Salem Oregon 2014

Hike to mt Jefferson park and PCT - Part 2

Our Crazy Post Retirement Wanderings Hiking and Triking

Hike to mt Jefferson park and PCT - Part 2

To get to the trailhead for Mt. Jefferson - Jefferson park and PCT trail to Russell Lake in central Oregon, take exit 253 from interstate 5 near Salem, Oregon, drive 61 miles east on North Santiam Highway 22. Between milepost 60 and 61, which is around 10 miles past Detroit, turn left on forest road 2243, posted as whitewater road. Follow this rock road for about 7.5 miles where it deadends in a large trailhead parking area.

The trail winds back and forth on a couple of long switchbacks through a dense forest of Hemlocks and old growth douglas Fir until you reach a ridge, which you follow for several miles and then the trail drops down into the canyon, and continues up toward the lakes. When it drops into the canyon you're about a mile from the lakes. The trail goes along a stream that's over a hill from the lakes, and eventually climbs over the hill and you can see the lakes, and nice views of Mt. jefferson.

It was a beautiful cloudy day when I hiked on this trail. The temperature was in the low 70's and with a light breeze blowing and it was a perfect day for hiking. This is a nice trail, but it will wear you down just as you reach the area with the lakes. You just have to persist. It's worth the effort. Words don't do it justice, nor do the pictures. But the pitures do better than the words.

I didn't realize that I had started too late in the day until I reached the lakes area and noticed that it had taken me until nearly 6:00PM. Fortunately I brought a flashlight with me. Hiking an unfamiliar trail in the dark for over 4 miles, and the forest gets REAL dark when the sun goes down. Lesson learned: Always bring a flashlight and a headlamp, with extra batteries!

I got back to the trailhead in complete darkess at just before 9PM, and got back to the condo at about 10:15PM sore and tired, but happy. I'd hiked about 12.6 miles with an elevation gain of more than 1,000 feet. I left the trailhead a little after 1:00PM, and got back at about 9PM. I traveled 12.6 miles in about 8 hours, averaging a little more than 1.5 miles per hour. Not a bad pace for a complete novice hiker! When I had set out to do this hike, I had only planned on hiking a short distance, to see how hard it was. But before I knew it I was at Mt. Jefferson lakes. I guess the other lesson learned is plan better and stick with the plan!

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