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Marion Lake
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mini location map2019-07-29
14 by photographer avatarkeepmoving
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Marion LakeNorth Central, OR
North Central, OR
Backpack62.60 Miles 9,761 AEG
Backpack62.60 Miles4 Days         
9,761 ft AEG22.72 LBS Pack
1st trip
Spent 4 days doing a giant loop around the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. I had originally packed food for 5 days, but was moving faster than planned and skipped one of my side trips to reduce the length down to 4 days instead. Had fantastic weather the whole time- clear skies, day time temps in the upper 70s/low 80s, nighttime lows only occasionally dipped into the mid 40s.

Day 1- TH to Lake of the Woods, 4.8 miles, 1432 AEG
Intentionally got a late start and just did a short hike in to Lake of the Woods. It sits in the middle of a burn zone, but it's still a charming little lake with a nice view of Mt. Jefferson. Since I had plenty of daylight left, I explored the surrounding area- taking in the view from a nearby ridge and exploring uphill to check out Whiskey Lake.

Day 2- Lake of the Woods to Wasco Lake, 20.2 miles, 3506 AEG
Stared the day off with an exhausting climb out of the burn zone towards the PCT. The trail was very faint and I spent more time climbing over and crawling under downed trees than I did actually hiking. Definitely a great way to break ones spirit first thing in the morning. Fortunately the views opened up as soon as I obtained the ridgeline which made up for the bad start to the day.

Heading south on the PCT I felt like a fish trying to swim upstream, I passed several dozen hikers all headed northbound. Many appeared to be thru hikers, but there were the occasional groups of backpackers out for shorter trips like myself. I dropped down to Carl Lake and had initially intended to head up to Table Lake, but the mosquitoes were bad and I was getting tired, so I opted to return to the PCT and keep heading south. Ran into the wilderness ranger and had a nice chat with her- she said I definitely missed out by skipping Table Lake, so I will have to return to check that out sometime.

Made camp early at Wasco Lake just south of the PCT on the north side of 3 Finger Jack. Went for a swim, had an early dinner, then retired to bed.

Day 3- Wasco Lake to Lower Dixie Lake, 23.5 miles, 3190 AEG

Woke up to the light illuminating 3 Finger Jack over the lake. Hastily packed my gear and then headed out to check out Canyon Creek Meadows and the glacial lake at the base of 3 Finger Jack. Beautiful area and the meadow was full of Lupine.

Continuing past 3 Finger Jack the trail leaves the crowds of day hikers behind and enters yet another burn zone. It was getting pretty warm, so when I reached Booth Lake I stopped for lunch and went for another swim. Past the lake the trail continues thru the burn zone for quiet a while until it rejoins the PCT and eventually enters the forest again. Pushed for about 8 miles without really ever taking another break, which was definitely a mistake. Eventually stopped at Lower Berkeley Lake and took some time to have a snack and cool down before pushing on.

Really didn't have much of a plan as to where to camp for the night. My initial though was to head to Santiam Lake, but I wanted something a bit more secluded, so I kinda wandered a bit until I found a small mostly overgrown campsite at Lower Dixie Lake to call home for the night. Definitely pushed myself harder than I should have and should have taken more breaks during the day.

Day 4- Lower Dixie Lake back to the TH, 14.1 miles, 1633 AEG
Started the day by trekking up to the top of Red Butte to admire the views, then dropped back down towards 8 Lakes Basin and more burn zone. Felt very fortunate that most of the trail at this point was generally downhill as I was starting to run out of steam.

Made one final push up to Marion Mountain which provided almost 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Very cool way to end the trip by being able to look at the entire wilderness area and spot the distant points that I passed through during my 4 day trek. Then dropped back downhill and returned to the trailhead.

Base Pack Weight- 12.72lbs
Total with 5 days of food and 16oz of water- 22.72lbs
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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