Craig Lake/Santiam Pass
September 26, 1987
Although I had visited Craig Lake earlier in the summer, I have discovered that it is much better to wait until September than to run the gauntlet of mosquitoes lurking in the forest. I am attracted to lakes that are incongruously located in the tops of hills, and Craig Lake fits that description. At my favorite lunch spot on the west side of the lake, one not only has a lovely view of the lake but also of Three Fingered Jack, if the sky is clear.
Although we left Eugene in fair weather, there were cloudy skies in the mountain with even a little precipitation falling when we started at the trailhead. Soon, the misty rain stopped, but clouds still obscured the higher elevations. The short cross-country section was as tricky as usual because of the dense forest in sections, but I finally found the trail leading to the lake after we had already bushwhacked part way up the hill. With all the dry weather, the lake was at the lowest level that I’ve ever seen it.
Although there was a brisk breeze blowing, we had a pleasant lunch break on the west side of the lake. Just for our enjoyment, Three Fingered Jack broke through the clouds just as we were finishing lunch. I thought that was mighty considerate of good ol’ Jack. After lunch we went to a little rise just west of the lake where we were treated to a view of Mt. Washington and the North and Middle Sisters complete with new snow. It was refreshing to hike on a cool day after hiking in the heat of the summer.
My companions who helped make this trip so enjoyable were Peter Boag, Ted Briles, Bob Foster, Rachele Noto Fiszman, Don Orton, Ethel Steussy, Joyce Strassberg, Heidi Wagner, and leader Anne Montgomery.