PCT: Pamelia Lake sobo

Another day, another day hike … with Lionshead Fire closure behind us (for at least this year), an opportunity to put more PCT miles onto the Jefferson / 3 Finger Jack hike from earlier this year. The day started at dawn from the popular Pamelia Lake TH (one of the biggest most developed TH this year). It’s a 4 mile hoof from TH to PCT and then it was SOBO to catch up those PCT miles (closing the gap from Elk Lake to Pamelia Lake – more on PCT miles in October).

The trail from parking lot up to the Hunts Cove junction is a wonderful walk through old forest along a raging creek. Then, I was relatively disappointed in the first 5 PCT miles sobo being all up-hill and again under trees. There were peak-a-boo views to Jefferson and the valleys below. The lakes were amazing colors and depths.

Once above the trees somewhat crossing over a saddle looking south, the hazy, smokey air became much clearer (pun intended).

Once up that saddle and looking back the other way … WOW. I think I took the wrong turn trying to close those PCT gaps sobo when NOBO looks so much better.

The trip back to the car was uneventful. All told, less than 10 other hikers the entire day and most were PCT hikers closing gaps from fire detours. A close up of Jefferson makes it look like a pointed pile of cinders and solid rock … weird, huh? I was surprised at the lack of glacier coverage on the south side.

Summary: this PCT section, Pamelia Lake Trail junction to PCT sobo to North Cinder has a few great views north of Jefferson, but most to the hike is under trees and continuous incline or descent depending on direction. As a destination hike, aka parking at Pamelia Lake TH and then hiking PCT sobo, I would not recommend this segment. As a ‘gotta close those gaps’ check list hike, it hit the mark. The weather was perfect, just a bit hazy – almost Goldilocks like. Pamelia Lake TH is like a city park with large parking lot … going PCT nobo is still a gap – all the way to Olallie Lake.

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