PCT: Willamette Pass sobo

This was the 5th year walking over this segment of the PCT – south from Willamette Pass (Trapper Creek TH). Last year was almost exactly 1 year ago (9-9-2021), and there was also a fire in the area – this year, Cedar Creek fire was burning several ridges to the northwest.

In typical fashion on Sunday 9-4-2022 (Labor Day Weekend), it was at the trailhead before sunrise and hiking with the sun.

The hike from TH past the Yoran Lake junction is just a fast up-hill green tunnel until a few small drying lakes and views to DIamond Peak. There was not much snow on the south side, but the meadows were still green. The lower right pic is a dried pond that looked to me like a farmer’s field carefully planted.

Once around the northern side of Diamond Peak, looking to the south, the view down over Summit Lake to Mt Thielsen was a bit hazy from Windigo Fire.

Unfortunately, looking back north, Cedar Creek fire was another reminder of the tenuous situation for our forests.

After a good segment on the trail and fresh water from the 1 stream still running (around PCT nobo mile 1896), I turned around very near the climbers trail to Diamond Peak – but it was jus too hot and too far to up today – so, back around and down toward Odell Lake and Trapper Creek TH for the ride home.

Summary: The PCT south from Willamette Pass is a thrill-seeker’s dream. There are lakes, a mountain stream, views to south and north once over and past Yoran Lake junction. In September the 6-legged monsters are almost gone – i heard 1 the entire time, so lake-side relaxing is feasible, unlike July and early August. The entire 25+ miles I saw 4 other hikers – all sectional PCT hikers – and 2 larger ‘camping’ groups hanging out at one of the lakes. This section is not a destination hike, but for an easy PCT experience with lakes to swim and views, eventually, it works. Plus, the drive is not overly long, so carbon karma is limited.

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