Elk Lake to Olallie Trailhead
September 5-7, 1981
Distance from the Elk Lake-Bachelor Butte neighborhood to the Cougar-McKenzie country isn’t very far by trail, but the variety of land and plant forms is great. On the dry eastern side are several good lakes and some fine swimming while the lush Cascade forests on the western slopes have water for drinking, but not for swimming. At least, by the route this party traveled.
Left Elk Lake after an outdoor lunch where we were spectators at a wedding on the shore. The first night’s camp was at Mile Lake, just past Horse Lake. We were the only people there and enjoyed having the place to ourselves. Day One was perhaps too easy, but we made up for it on our second day when we left Park Trail and used the old Corral Draw Trail to go down to Bill Gott Spring and out to Wildcat Swamp. Things were very dry, old blazes gone in many places, and the Gott Spring turned out to be a vast black elk wallow. By late evening we were glad to find the spring on the Wildcat Creek and camp there in the woods.
Monday we came out to Olallie Guard Station at about 11:00 a.m. where Helen Smith greeted us, the first person we had seen since Mile Lake. Our visit with Helen included a side trip down to Bear Flat. When we returned to the guard station, a small crowd was there—Lots Schreiner, Helen Lynch, Joe Lowry and friends, plus watermelon. It was a party.
Going out was easy. That Olallie Trail is like getting a foot massage. With the help of Lois our car shuttle worked marvelously. We went out the Wapiti Road, scenic delight for those who had never been there. Backpackers on this adventure included Margit Castenholz, Mary Fulton, Dot Leland, Glenn Meares, Don Payne, Velma Shirk, Millard Thomas, Jan White and Emmy Dale, leader.
Special thanks to Ms. Legris’ Bachelor Butte Party (Sept. 6) for bringing our cars around from Elk Lake to McKenzie Bridge. Those drivers were Suzanne Steussy, Richard Heinzkill & John Cecil.