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.
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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.