Oregon PCT: Timberline to Olallie Lake

I continued south on Oregon PCT from Timberline Lodge down to Olallie Lake this week. Now completed 101 miles.

All water sources on Halfmile’s PCT maps are active and have water. The formerly broken water pump at Frog Lake campsite is working; located between camp sites 4 and 6. There’s a couple water gaps of 8 to 10 miles between Timothy Lake & Lemiti Meadow. Water quality at Lemiti Creek is getting stagnant and murky, but plenty of water. Look for more details at trail conditions update page on PCT Oregon.com site.

I bivied first night at north end of Timothy Lake and the mosquitoes were surprisingly not a serous problem at all. Similarly at Warm Springs River, which has some excellent cold clear water. Weather excellent at night; never needed to get out my tarp.

Afternoon of my second day I met thru-hiker Slingblade on trail who had an encounter with a bear around mile 2047 just north of Jude Lake.

The bear started to leave when it saw him, but then came back and bluff charged Slingblade on the trail. He showed me a picture of it. There was lots of bear scat on trail around there. Huckleberries are ripe everywhere along the trail between Timothy and Olallie Lakes. Berries means bears.

About a dozen hikers were hosted at Olallie Lake by trail angels Daniel & Brenda who are there this week. Wonderful hosts they were, to about a dozen or more hikers, mostly section hikers, mostly going north, but several south. As Daniel is a graduate from St. Johns College, we had some wonderful conversations around the campfire. It’s not often you get to talk classics, Greek literature, and even Kierkegaard on the trail :)

Staff and owners at the Olallie Lake Resort Store were friendly and seemed glad to have hikers around. The store has some nice cold beverages, various camping supplies, and several types of backpacker meals, including a nice selection of Paleo Meals To Go – sweet!

Best of all I got a ride home from there by another hiker and his wife who were staying at a cabin at the resort. He had hiked Oregon on the PCT last year and loved the lake so much, he came back to rent a cabin for a few days. Had great conversation on the ride home to Portland with them both. Trail people are great people.

This is an excellent portion of the trail, but it gets rather sunny and dry as you approach Olallie from the north, with the forest thinning out and turning from mostly Douglas fir to mostly Lodgepole pine. Water management is important here, with gaps of 10 and 8 miles from Timothy Lake south to Lemiti Creek with the lovely Warm Springs River between, resp.

Some pics:

Looking north at Mt Hood from the ridge south of Frog Lake, mile 2082.


Timothy Lake Sunset from the north end of the lake, mile 2075
Timothy Lake sunset from the north end of the lake, mile 2075.


Lemiti Meadow
Lemiti Meadow, mile 2052.


Mt Jefferson from Olallie Lake
Mt Jefferson from Olallie Lake.


Mt Jefferson sunrise from Olallie Lake
Mt Jefferson sunrise from Olallie Lake from my bivy bedroom. Not a bad way to wake up.



Oregon PCT: Cascade Locks to Timberline

Did first part of my PCT hike from Cascade Locks to Timberline Lodge. Stayed overnights at Wahtum Lake, near Lolo Pass, and above Little Zigzag Canyon, ambling into Timberline Lodge early morning the fourth day for their breakfast buffet :)

Here’s some pics.

Day one was cloudy and misty, threatening to rain. Hiking across Benson plateau was literally walking in the clouds. Evening arrival at Wahtum Lake brought the first sun breaks all day.


Sun breaks continue early day two and finally a view of Mt Hood peaking out from the clouds.


Lost Lake peaking through the trees.


Over the hills and far away. Day three ascending from Ramona Falls up to Timberline, looking west.


Mt Hood from the south side, looking at Paradise Branch Falls from Zigzag Glacier that soon join the main Sandy River.


Sunset reflecting off Mt Hood, from east side of Zigzag Canyon.


Sunset reflecting off Mt Hood, from east side of Zigzag Canyon. Hiked until after sunset today.


Gear on morning four. Bivied out for night three on east side above Little Zigzag Canyon.


Obligatory, yet elusive selfie, with trusty Tilley hat.


PCT Barlow Pass to Timberline

Hiked the PCT rom Barlow Pass Trailhead up to Timberline Lodge, and back, then down to Frog Lake and back this weekend.

Trail is clear, no significant snow, just some spots to cross over just east of Timberline at about 6,000ft.

Heard report from other hikers that there is still some postholable snow between the Lodge and Zigzag, but given this ridiculous record heat wave, don’t expect that to continue.

Mt Hood from PCT near Timberline, June 04, 2016
The Money Shot: Mt Hood from PCT near junction with Timberline Trail east, June 04, 2016


UTM tool for Half-Mile’s PCT maps

Half-mile’s maps of the PCT have an unusual scale: 1:31,680, so that one inch on the map equals a half mile on the ground.

Like any decent map they have UTM coordinates on them, so you can find where you are if you have those coordinates. I use the MilGPS iOS app on my phone for that.

MapTools is the site I first used to get me into UTM format and how to use it. I can do math based on tens much easier that our clung-to clumsiness of the sexagesimal math of the Babylonians.

But UTM grids on maps are still a kilometer wide. Sometimes, I like to have a bit more accuracy than that when looking at the map (and estimating). That’s where grid tools come in.

Documenting last weekend’s lunch spot on Half-mile’s PCT map with Maptools grid overlay tool

The basic function of the grid tool is to extend the precision of your map to match your GPS UTM coordinate more closely.

The grid tools they make are simple to use. It is a small plastic square that you place on the map over the grid you are located within, and then it allows you to pinpoint your location to within the grid to within a hundred (or less) meters of accuracy.

The grid tool must of course match the scale of your map and Maptools makes a grid overlay tool for the uncommon 1:31,680 scale of the Pacific Crest Trails maps made by Half-mile.

And at 4.5 grams, while I admit it’s more of a WANT than a NEED, given my style of on trail hiking an eyeball estimation within that square kilometer is usually close enough to know where I am on the trail, I do enjoy my maps and navigation, so it’s light enough to take. And of course, when you are off-trail, location specificity can be vital.