A Birthday Outing To Pamelia Lake
Monday 10 September 2012 — Category: Outings
Cascades I had never been to before: the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, along Oregon Route 22, between Detroit and Santiam Pass.
More specifically, we went to Pamelia Lake, tucked away in a canyon on the western slope of Mount Jefferson (the second-highest peak in Oregon).
After driving for about one-and-three-quarter hours, we finally arrived at the turnoff for the one-lane road that leads to the Pamelia Lake trailhead parking area. But just a short ways up the road, we were dismayed to see a sign which said that this was a Limited Entry Area, and that we must absolutely obtain a permit at the ranger station back in Detroit. I was so shocked that I just sat there for a while, frozen with indecision. Did we REALLY need to go back and get a permit?
Eventually, I turned around and sorrowfully headed back, feeling very frustrated that I had not researched the outing better, so I would have known of the requirement, and stopped at the ranger station when we had passed it the first time earlier that morning.
In the end, I was glad that we went back. Not only did we do the right thing and obey the law, but we also avoided a potential $200 fine if we were caught without the permit. Apparently, the Pamelia Lake area is so popular that the Forest Service has had to limit the number of visitors in order to help preserve it. Only 20 groups of ten people or less are allowed in each day. Now, if only a ranger would ask to see our newly-acquired approval out in the middle of nowhere, I would feel even better!
Permit in hand, we headed back once again to the Pamelia Lake turnoff. Unfortunately, we had lost a good 45 minutes going back for that scrap of paper. Once we got to the trailhead parking area, it was a two-and-a-quarter mile hike — with about an 800-foot gain in elevation — to the northwestern end of the lake. There we enjoyed our picnic lunch and the great view.
Then we continued along the eastern side of the lake on Hunts Creek Trail for the entire half-mile length of the lake, and then for another half a mile south until we reached the point where the trail crosses Hunts Creek. The day was advancing, and we didn’t want to take off our shoes and roll up our pants to wade through the creek, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.
The entire six-and-a-half mile hike took us about five-and-two-thirds hours — obviously there were lots of stops, and we walked at a fairly leisurely pace. I took a total of 109 pictures, which I have whittled down to the best 30, which you can view in the Pamelia Lake 2012 photo album. It was a beautiful and enjoyable hike — not too long and not too steep — and we were glad to discover another little corner of the Oregon wilderness.
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