On Sept 9, 2022 Bob and I hiked starting from Lava Lake Trailhead to Matthieu Lake, on the PCT trail. On our way back we took the PCT trail over the lava section to McKenzie Hwy 242 and walked along the road exploring the Dee Wright Observatory and then followed the road back to our car. This area was deeply damaged by the Milli/Nash fire of 2017. Hiking through a burn area and seeing the devastation up close deeply impacted me.
We had some great views of the mountains and of North Matthieu Lake before reaching South Matthieu Lake. This was a gentle hike with a more gentle elevation. We stopped at the South Lake and ate lunch while Panda (bob's giant Schnauzer sank to her chest in the lake shore and enjoyed the coolness of the water.
This was a little meadow meadow lake on the trail.
When we returned we looked over at the PCT trail that continued on the lava rocks. That was an amazing hike to Hwy 242. I truly enjoyed the harshness of the lava flow. It's stark and of course I really had to watch my steps. We crossed Hwy 242 and saw the sign where the PCT heads off across the desolate Lava fields. On a through hike one would not want to be caught out here and searching for a place to camp.
We walked the Hwy to the Dee Wright Observatory and enjoyed the views. There is a trail with interpretive signs. One really struck us. The sign is from an old diary entry from a pioneer crossing the lava. in it he states "I broke an axle today" Bob and I looked across the lava and we had a laugh. The old wagon trail can still be seen in the lava rocks. See below.
This was an amazing section of the PCT.
On Sept 4th 2022 I did an overnight with my hiking friend Bob. We had quite the adventure.
The concept of the trip was to test out my skills and my retro backpacking equipment.
This is the last stove I've purchased and I learned that if I wanted to use this stove I'd have to buy an adaptor. So I bought a new stove. It is kind of fun looking at my retro backpacking gear and deciding if it is still usable. It doesn't fit in with the ultra light trend. My older style REI backpack will be suitable for now.
So Bob and I met up at the Pisgah Trailhead of the Crown Zellerbach Trailhead and then we drove up to Vernonia and checked in with the park host of the primitive campground at Anderson Lake. After we checked in we drove to the Holce Trailhead and parked the other car.
We hiked from The Holce TH down to the Pisgah TH which was about 18 miles. These trail signs are all along the trail showcasing the history of the logging that went on, as this is a rails to trails trail. Also there were many logging camps that were established along the trail. And the signs also highlight the geological history of the trail too. And there are really good mileage markers on the trail.
It was a good hike. We saw a coyote on the trail in a meadow.
After the hike we drove back up to Vernonia to set up our tents. Bob had his new one-person ultra light tent and I had my big two-person Kestrel tent. Unfortunately the rain fly was tacky because I had stored the tent and rainfly in my attic cove for about 20 years. I already had planned to buy a new tent the following week.
We did this trip to practice our camping skills along the PCT. At the campground the small food trailer was open so Bob and I decided to practice our 'trail town' skills so we threw our packs on some benches and bought hamburgers and sundaes from the cart. Bob learned that he needs to eat more calories on his hikes. He scarfed his burger down in a couple of bites.
Then we took our gear and hiked to the primitive camp along Anderson Lake.
That was a great experience. We had one other camper at the site, she brought us some firewood and conversation.
It was early evening and I wasn't tired. We set up our tents and Bob disappeared into his tent and didn't reappear until the next morning. I seemed to be on my own. So I walked back to the food truck area with the bathroom and warm water.
I had a good time hanging around the firepit. I talked with the owner of the food truck and a resident of Vernonia who used to live in Portland. We talked and he said I ought to move out of Portland! They left to go home around 9pm and I headed back to my tent taking a couple of photos of the lake with the light from the moon.
All my concerns about sleeping out in a tent were assuaged. I slept well and woke up feeling energized. Of course the hardest part of any backpacking trip is that waking up during the night to pee. Although the sky is always cool to look at in the middle of the night!
Our trip was a success. We considered this a practice overnight hike for the PCT.
I am an avid walker and hiker. My favorite is a long hike. I also enjoy taking off and going on a meandering walk for a few hours. I've hiked rim to rim in the Grand Canyon and I did 3 Burning Boot Walks on Vancouver Island.