McKenzie Pass to Santiam Pass
July 29-30, 1978
Seven members of the party of nine gathered in time to leave 19th and Patterson at 7;30 a.m. sharp on Saturday. (C.M. said to go without her if not there.) We picked up Glenn Meares at Santiam Pass where we left his car for the return shuttle. We arrived at PCNST trailhead in time to depart at 10:40 a.m.—just got our packs on when C. Mills drove in to join us after all.
The parade of nine hikers then negotiated the 1¼ mile lava trail, along the South side of Hwy 242, past Dee Wright memorial to the North side of the Hwy. Under a cloudless sky we reached the end of the first timbered area for a one-hour lunch stop. About 2:00 p.m. we reached the Little Belknap Crater area, which we explored for a half hour.
After the trail reached the end of the lava surface we were at the base of the ridge below George Lake. During our lunch break we had discussed the possibility of camping there and a backpacker going out had given us a good report on it. So, with our hot, tired feet, we struggled behind Glenn who picked a good route to the lake with map & compass. The lake was well worth the effort for good camping, swimming, star gazing (three or four satellites observed), etc.
On Sunday we were up at 6:00 a. m., departed at 8:00 a.m., contoured back to the PCNST, thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, and flowers (lupine, fireweed, bear grass) in the cool of the morning. We noticed that the ridge on Mt. Washington was free of snow, Coldwater Spring needs a new bucket to replace the perforated, rusty coffee can on a string, the Landes-McLoughlin climbing trail is well marked with a cairn, and the Big Lake burn was hot hiking, but interesting. A small unnamed lake about 1½ mile from the pass was a pleasant surprise for a cool break before reaching Santiam Pass about 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Pass to pass trekkers were Donn Chase, Emmy Dale, Wilbur Groner, Jane Hackett, Karen Houglum, Glenn Meares, Charlotte Mills, Merle Traudt, and leader Wes Prouty.