Brian's Photo Blog — Article 169
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Going Whole Hogg
Friday 5 October 2012   —   Category: Outings

Soon Oregon’s nine-month rainy season will begin. Before it hits, I thought I should take one last trip to the top of the Cascades — an area which is generally unaccessible from November (or even October) through June due to snow.

So a couple of days ago I headed back up to the part of the Cascades closest to where I live in Albany: Santiam Pass. It is in this region that I have taken numerous photo outings, including: This time I explored two places which I had never been to before. Once I got to the top of Santiam Pass, I turned into the Hoodoo Ski Area and continued south a few miles to the end of the road at Big Lake, not far from Mount Washington (as you can see in the photo to the right). There were also great views of Hoodoo Butte and Hayrick Butte (next photo).

It probably wasn’t the best day for a hike, because there was a strong arctic wind from the northeast blasting over the Cascades, and here I was at the top! It was very cold and very windy! And all I had was a windbreaker! For this outing I took the six-mile Patjens Lakes Trail, which, unsurprisingly, take you past the set of four small Patjens Lakes.

I couldn’t use my walking stick, because my hand turned to ice — I had to keep my hands in my pockets as much as possible. Anyway, the trail was pretty easy, so it wasn’t a problem to do without the stick. When I stopped to take some photos, by the time a few minutes had passed, my hands were frozen once again!

More than half the forest along the trail had been burned in the Shadow Lake Fire of September 2011. I found that dead trees do not block the wind as well as live trees, and you could say that the scenery was not quite as picturesque as it could have been. But on the other hand, burnt trees do have a unique look of their own, and I did get some interesting shots after all.

The arctic wind and desolate landscape encouraged me to keep moving and press on. I got back to my truck in about four and a half hours. By the time I finished my lunch it was about 1:00 PM, and I was ready for the second leg of my adventure.

I drove the few miles back to U.S. Route 20, then only about 400 yards west on Route 20 to the foot of Hogg Rock. This tuya formation is fairly flat on top, oval shaped, about 800 by 500 yards across, with very steep, practically vertical sides.

As you can see from the first photo above (which I found on Wikimedia Commons — the photo was taken from the top of the Hoodoo Butte), U.S. Route 20 wraps in a nearly 180-degree curve below the cliffs of this tuya, on the west and south sides. In the photo to the right, you can see the highway, 200 feet below, from the top of Hogg Rock, taken as I was holding my camera at arm’s length over the edge!

In the next photo, you can see a cairn I found on one edge of the top of Hogg Rock, to which I added another stone. In the background, you can see Hayrick Butte, a larger, sister tuya not far away. To its right is the slope of Hoodoo Butte, while to its left is Mount Washington in the background. Big Lake, where I was hiking in the morning, is just a mile or two south (to the right) of Hayrick Butte.

Once I had made it to the top of Hogg Rock, I walked along about half of its perimeter, enjoying the precarious view, before returning to my truck by 3:00 PM. I do have to admit that there were times when I was quite scared being so close to the edge of a 200-foot drop, but somehow I managed to keep a grip on myself and not panic. But at a few points I was sweating and my heart rate went way up!

I had originally planned on going out to dinner at Bronco Billy’s in Sisters — as is my habit when around that area — but since it was so early, I decided to just go home and barbecue my own filet mignon there. In the end, I probably had a nicer meal than if I had gone out — especially with the feta cheese and salsa on top of the meat!

Wow! Two hikes in one way — one in an arctic wind and the other on top of Hogg Rock — plus barbecued filet ... I really went whole hog! But I won’t be able to put the album of resulting photos up anytime soon because I still have the 1,400 photo to process from my recent trip to Lake Chelan. I'd better start going whole hog with my backlog of pictures!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 169
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