06 July 2011

Serene Lake, Pyramid Lake & the Roaring River Wilderness

This past weekend, we attempted to backpack our way to the Serene Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest.  We left Portland around 10am and drove towards the trailhead near the Frazier Turnaround.  Unfortunately, the long gravel road also had some snow patches, so we decided to not go any further.  We turned around and drove down to another connecting trailhead at Shell Rock Lake.
After passing Shell Rock Lake and starting our ascent, the trail was basically a creek, due to the amount of snow melt.  We ran into a family hiking with their JRT and they were on their way down after losing the trail due to snow levels.  We decided to try our luck and continued on.  They were right, the snow levels were out of control.  In previous years, these trails have been snow free during the early summer months, but we'll need a few more hot days to help clear them out this year.

We followed the blazes on the trees until we hit the Frazier Turnaround and our original starting point, the Serene Lake trailhead.  There was a nice campsite with a park bench, so we stopped for lunch.  This clearing, and knowing we were starting to descend gave us a little hope that we would get to Serene Lake after all.  After lunch, we started going again from blaze to blaze.  When we stopped seeing noticable trail markings on trees, we started flagging our way, just in case we want to turnaround.

We eventually made that decision.  As we headed back, we met another group with a JRT who had also made the grueling hike up through the snow, only to decide to turn around.  We hiked back to Shell Rock Lake to post up for the night.  Although it was crowded during the day, as the evening rolled around many of the families who were there for the day headed out and it ended up being a really nice and quiet spot with a few camp fires spotted in the distance.  While Willis fished in a fishless lake, the pups and I soaked up the remaining sun rays.

We hiked out on Sunday morning and went to find another place to set up for the night.  After helping a stranded camper get back to a campsite so he could get help with his truck, we drove to Pyramid Lake.  It was another rough gravel road, but this time it wasn't covered in snow.  It was a short hike up to the lake, where we dropped our packs and scoped out the scene.  We were hoping for some hiking trails to spend the day on, but the overgrown trail just circled the lake.  After the dogs and I soaked up more sun and Willis attempted to fish in another fishless lake, we decided to head back to town a night early. 

Overall, it was a good weekend.  I'd like to go back in August or September when the trails are a little more clear and hiking one mile doesn't feel like hiking three. 

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