Sunday, June 16, 2013

Diamond Lake - John Dellenback Trail

As the official date for summer approaches, we decided it was time for one more "spring" hike.  On Friday we packed up and drove north to Diamond Lake.  We visited Diamond Lake once a few years back in the off season and had terrible service at the resort restaurant.  We also made cabin reservations at the resort once for an anniversary trip, but we both got food poisoning and couldn't make the trip.  So we were hoping that the "third times a charm" rule would apply to this trip.  It did!

Mount Bailey from the beginning  portion of the trail
After arriving at Diamond Lake and parking, we found the trailhead and started hiking the John Dellenback Trail. This loop around Diamond Lake is a paved trail that best serves as a bike path but can also be hiked.  In winter it is used for cross country skiing. The trail is pretty much level the entire loop, but is hard on the feet when hiking.

We hiked the loop counter clockwise and at the start we encountered numerous logs across the trail. We were trying to figure out if these were a warning to not use the trail or just some leftover winter/spring cleanup.  Regardless, we hiked on.  We both enjoyed the first 3 miles of the hike the most, as the trail followed along the lake shoreline and gave us awesome views of snow covered Mount Bailey and partially snow covered Mount Thielsen.  We saw patches of blue Forget-Me-Nots and Mountain Bluebells and at times were escorted along the trail by flights of dragonflies.
Mount Thielsen with Diamond Lake in foreground

After 3 miles the trail moves away from the lake shoreline as it goes behind the Thielsen View campground and some private cabins. We tried to take breaks along this portion of the trail but found that every time we stopped, the mosquitoes started. So we opted for the eat-and-drink-while-in-motion routine.

This sign is a trap set up by mosquitoes!!!!
Finally after almost 4 miles of relatively view-less trail, we came to Silent Creek.  This spring fed creek flows into Diamond Lake and the water is so clear. We stopped to view the creek from the bridge and took a few pictures.  We would have loved to jump in, but then we remembered the mosquitoes. Soon after Silent Creek we took a short side trail to Teal Lake.  This small hidden lake is beautiful and had lily pads at one end with yellow flowers.  Katie decided to take a swim in Teal Lake followed by rolling in dirt and pine needles. Maybe it helps against the mosquitoes!?!  We decided to not follow her lead.

Upstream view of Silent Creek from the bridge

Teal Lake

We also hiked along a large meadow area with views again of Mount Bailey and Mount Thielsen.  They were both so beautiful today with the backdrop of a beautiful clear blue sky.

A view of the paved 11.5 mile John Dellenback loop trail
The last 4 miles of this 11.5 mile loop took us through more campgrounds and offered occasional views of Diamond Lake.  We did not realized that there are over 400 campsites at Diamond Lake in addition to the Trailer Park, Lodge, Motel and cabins.

We made it back to the Lodge and completed our longest hike ever in 4 hours.  We were definitely tired and our feet were sore from the paved trail, but we were excited to have completed this long hike and to enjoyed some awesome views.

So long Spring. Bring on Summer!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

P.S.  If  you are interested in  hiking at Diamond Lake but 11.5 miles is a bit too much, consider hiking the first 1.7 miles along the lake shore till the trail reaches a road.  Make that your turnaround point for a 3.4 mile hike.  You can also take road 4795 to the Silent Creek bridge, park, and hike a 2.3 mile loop to the Silent Creek spring.

Everyone enjoys Diamond Lake, even caterpillars!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Badger Lake Trail to Long Lake

Fourmile Lake view from a campsite in the campground
With forecasts of blue skies and highs in the 80's, we decided it was time to try hiking in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area again.  So on Saturday we ventured up Highway 140 and took Road 3661 till it ends at Fourmile Lake. It was beautiful!!  Fourmile Lake is one of those places you need to visit at least once.  You can fish, camp right along the lake shore, or as in our case, hike.

We parked at the Badger Lake Trailhead parking area in the middle of the campground (no day use fee if hiking) and set off on what would be our longest hike of the year (so far).  The first mile of the trail was a warm up as it ran parallel to the the campground before turning north toward the shore of Fourmile Lake. It also provided us with our first snow patch - an omen of things to come?

View of Fourmile Lake and snow covered Mt McLoughlin
The trail took us through the woods along Fourmile Lake and provided us with a beautiful view of the lake with snow covered Mt McLoughlin in the background.  Since we have only hiked this trail in Autumn, it was awesome to see Mt McLoughlin with all the snow. This portion of the lake is also where all the driftwood piles up and adds a unique beauty to the shoreline. (see photo at end of this post)

Woodpecker Lake

View of Woodpecker Lake from trail on return hike

Since it is still early in the hiking season, we encountered the typical downed tress, flooded trail sections and even crossed a few creeks/streams from the snow melting.  It didn't take long though to reach Woodpecker Lake where our dog Katie cooled off by jumping in.  We decided not to.

Woodpecker Lake is a small lake but still very pretty and surrounded by trees.  We took a short snack break and enjoyed the view before moving on to Badger Lake.  The distance between these two lakes is very short  and it took only a few minutes of hiking to reach what we consider the prettiest lake of the hike.  Badger Lake even has rock ledges at the northern end right along the trail, which makes it an ideal place to sit back and take in the sounds, smells and beauty of the area.  Great place to soak your feet too!

Badger Lake view from rock ledges along the shore

The last two miles of our hike from Badger Lake to Long Lake can be summed up in two words - SNOW/SLOW.  Although we came across little patches of snow (mostly in the shade) throughout the trail, the portion between Badger and Long Lake had consistent snow which made it very slow going.  We had to constantly check for trail markings to make sure we were going the right direction while being careful not to slip on the ice crusted snow. This portion did provide us with a few areas of beautiful meadows and flowers like Lilies, Buttercups and Marsh Marigolds.   Of course our dog Katie loved the snow and made a point of it by rolling and running through it.  We decided not to.

The "snow" section of our hike - where's the trail?
It took us an hour and forty-five minutes to cover the last two miles, but we finally arrived at and viewed Long Lake.  Some day we may try to hike the entire 14-mile loop, but for today, this was our turnaround point.  We took our lunch break on the trail at Long Lake, enjoying again the beauty of the area, before we began our trek back.

Long Lake - the turnaround point for our hike
On our return hike we did make another long stop when we arrived at Badger Lake - we just couldn't pass up the opportunity. Our 9 mile hike took us 5 hours and we were very tired when we arrived back at the campground at Fourmile Lake.  We only saw one other hiker the entire time on the trail, but that's just fine with us.   This hike had so many beautiful  sights to see and hold our attention.

Now it's your turn - get out there and see all the beauty of nature while the sun shines.

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol

Driftwood along shore of Fourmile Lake