31.5 miles of hiking • 6000' elevation gain •
A little escape from reality. I decided not to camp on this trip. Too cold and dark this time of year. Stayed two nights near Willamette Pass and two nights in Plush, Oregon. Went on a hike every day. One big one.
1) Fuji Mountain 3.5 miles, 1000 ft eg. This is a great quick hike if you are travelling over Willamette Pass and dont have all day. Huge payoff in views at the end!
2) Cowhorn Mountain 15.5 miles, 3000 ft eg. I did a big loop with several miles of bushwacking. Took all day. Started at Crescent Lake and took the Windy Lakes trail west to the final lake. Then it was a short steep climb up to the PCT. Headed south to Cowhorn and after summitting, I circled around the south face and wandered for hours in the forest-was quite pleasant. Joined the Metolius-Windago trail near Bingham Lakes for fast return in the gloaming.
3) Odell Butte 2.5 miles, 750 eg. This perfect cone dominates the landscape. Very busy summit with several antennas and control buildings in addition to the lookout site-which was still staffed for fire season with several active fires to the south!
4) Petroglyph Lake, Hart Mtn 5 miles, 500 ft eg. Wandered the rim of Poker Jim ridge and eventually made my way over to the lake(which was dry). I thought I would be lucky to find a few figures, but the autumn light was perfect for picking up the prolific display of glyphs in the rimrock lining the lake. I saw more than 40 figures. Some obvious, some faint, some otherworldly. The highlight of my trip. Afterward, I drove over to the Hart Mountain Hotsprings and no one was there, so I enjoyed the bath house and one of the meadow pools. Sketched and napped with my feet dangling in the hot water surrounded by golden colors of the desert.
5) Drake and LIght Peak, 5 miles 1750 eg. The highest intact lookout tower in Oregon, Drake Peak LO (el 8200 ft) is available for rental, but is now closed up for the season. I started at the S Fork Crooked Creek TH, and wandered upward. After visiting the LO site, I had a spectacular rim walk over to LIght Peak and Fence Pass, and then picked up the Fremont Trail near Twelvemile Peak and headed down through golden quaking aspen stands. The area is stunning but very disturbed by roads and tree cutting and cow poo! Would be so much lovelier if they kept out the bovines and ORVs.