Canyon Creek Meadows
Craig Lake

July 23-24, 1983

After a pleasant drive to Jack Lake on the east side of Three Fingered Jack, we arrived at about 11:00 a.m. on a partly sunny Saturday morning. We began our hike at the lake and headed to that lovely alpine meadow on Canyon Creek. It is a lovely place with wildflowers and little streams with Three Fingered Jack dominating the view to the southwest. We crossed the length of the meadow and continued up the side of the moraine past the still frozen lake high on the side of the mountain. When we reached the viewpoint on the eastern saddle, we were treated to a magnificent view of Jefferson, Washington, the Sisters, Broken Top and Bachelor. How I love the high Cascade country! After having our well-deserved lunch at the viewpoint, Fred found a good place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere while Whitey and I trotted over to explore that fascinating eastern ridge. It is a strange area made up of layers of lava and another rock that looks like sandstone which is really compressed volcanic ash as Whitey explained to me. The volcanic ash is soft, and the elements have weathered it into fantastic forms, such as towers and minerets. In some places the towers are topped with rough caps of lava that look like gargoyles. There was still a lot of snow on the north slope, and as it had melted along the edge of the rock, a snow cave had formed. Each of us took turns sitting in there and experiencing its sacred nature. After we rejoined Fred, we made an unlikely trio which played like children glissading down the long snowfields with peals of laughter.

As Jack Lake was inhabited by both too many people and too many mosquitoes, we drove down to Jack Creek and were fortunate to find not only a private camp site but one with absolutely no mosquitoes.

On Sunday morning, we were treated first to a thunder storm, then to a visit to the head of Jack Creek before we drove over to the Santiam Pass to hike into Craig Lake. We weren’t as lucky with the weather as we had been on Saturday, but we still didn’t get rain while we were on the trail. Neither Fred or Whitey had ever been to Craig Lake and I was hoping I would be able to find my way across the cross-country part of our journey in spite of the low, thick clouds at that altitude. We were lucky enough to see a long-eared owl who was indignant about having company in such lousy weather. My intrepid companions never lost faith as we beat our way through the brush. When we finally saw the lake in the fog-like clouds, it was almost close enough to touch. We had our lunch on the peninsula on the north side before heading down t he trail on the east side of the butte. The funny thing about that trail is that it just completely disappears at the bottom of the hill. There is a little clearing there and we decided that the trail must have been made by space aliens who board their craft in that clearing. I think that fog does strange things to my head . . .

The mountains, the flowers, the wildlife, the lakes and the streams were all special, but just as delightful were my two companions on the trip: Whitey Lueck and Fred Schepman. I thank both of them for their contribution to the joy. Anne Montgomery

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