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Patjens Lake Trail #3395
1 Photoset

2019-09-23  
mini location map2019-09-23
11 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Patjens Lake Trail #3395North Central, OR
North Central, OR
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2019
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking8.60 Miles 885 AEG
Hiking8.60 Miles   4 Hrs   52 Mns   1.77 mph
885 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a pleasant loop hike on a packed earth trail that was easy on the feet. My hiking distance was about 2 miles longer than the official distance because I started from my camp in the Big Lake Campground. Much of the trail passes through a burned area with tree skeletons dominating the views. The forest floor has recovered from the burn with a lush growth of bear grass and a variety of bushes which probably includes huckleberry. Small new growth fir trees dot the burned areas. About half way around the loop the trail passes through an unburned area of old growth conifers with moss draping off the limbs. The small Patjens Lakes are quite scenic with the shores largely untouched by the burn. Part of the loop follows the southwest shore of Big Lake and provides good views of that lake as well as the flat topped Hayrick Butte and Hoodoo Butte to the north, and Mt Washington to the southeast.

The sign board at the trailhead has a place to sign up for Mt. Washington wilderness permits with no fees. I usually ignore these self registration stations but luckily on this day I signed up and stuck the permit in my pocket. Towards the end of the hike, going counterclockwise around the loop, the trail passes along the south west shore of Big Lake where I stopped to take some photos. I saw a ranger about a quarter mile away dispersing rocks from a fire ring that was too close to the lake shore. She saw me taking photos and a few minutes after I had continued back on the trail she caught up with me (she must have ran). After some polite conversation in which I unwittingly revealed that I was just finishing up the loop which goes through the wilderness, she asked for my wilderness permit. I didn't ask what the consequences were if I didn't have the permit but it's possible there is a ticket and $$fine involved. While fumbling through my pockets looking for the permit I asked her if I was even in the wilderness. She changed the subject without answering and closely scrutinized my permit. Now, after looking at the map on HAZ, I realize that I was not in the wilderness when she asked for the permit. What a tricky (but very cute) young lady.
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Flora
Lodgepole Pine
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