Canyon Creek Meadows & Black Crater
July 24-25, 1982
Since only 2 people signed up for this hike, we decided to make a chance in plans: The original plan was an overnight backpack into Canyon Creek Meadows, but we altered that to a day hike into Canyon Creek Meadows, camp overnight on the Metolius, and then another day hike to Black Crater on Sunday.
After leaving the parking lot at about 8:10, we decided to make a stop at Sawyer Ice Caves. I’ve been going there for probably 15 years but this was the first time I explored more than the entry room of the big cave with the hole in the roof. Some one had told me a month or so before that the cave continued on back and sure enough there is a large cave that continues for at least another 100 feet if you climb over the rubble to get to it. There is also another smaller cave right by the parking lot.
We arrived at Jack Lake to start our hike a little after eleven a.m. The rocky hillside on the north side of the lake was teeming with wild flowers: bear grass, 2 kinds of penstemon, lupine, paintbrush, cats’ ears, and even Washington lilies were to be found there. It was one of the best wild flower displays I’ve seen this season. At about a mile and a half from the trailhead we began to encounter large areas of snow. When we arrived at the meadows, they were melted out but soggy from all the snow still around them. It was too early for most wildflowers, but buttercups were already out. We continued across the meadows and then on up the snow covered hillsides to get to the moraine lake. At a viewpoint right by the lake, we stopped to eat our lunch at a rocky patch where the snow was melted and alpine wildflowers were making their show. Fortunately, the steep trail leading from there to the view point on the east shoulder was snow free so that we were able to continue on to see that fabulous view of Three-Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, the Three Sisters and Broken Top with all the lakes and lesser peaks around them. After clambering over the rocky formations to the east, we glissaded down the snow-covered hillsides and began our hike out.
We spent Saturday night camped on the Metolius with few mosquitoes in attendance. Sunday morning we did some sightseeing along the Metolius and had a leisurely breakfast in Sisters before driving on to the trailhead at Black Crater. Since Sunday was a hot day, the trail to Black Crater seemed even steeper than the 2,400 feet of altitude that it gains in 3½ miles. Fortunately the snow along the trail helped keep me cool enough to handle the hike. At the top another panoramic view of the Cascades awaited us making all of the exertion worth while. Surrounded by all this beauty we ate our lunch at the site of the old lookout. Then the hike down the crater and the drive brought us back to Eugene. My companions for this outing were Jack and Lana Lindstrom. They added immeasureably to the enjoyment and I, Anne Montgomery, highly recommend them as hiking companions.