Jefferson Park Backpack

August 11-13, 2006

On Friday, August 11, six savvy backpackers trekked up the Whitewater trail to the alpine meadow and lakes area that makes up the Jefferson Park area at the base of the glacier covered giant called Mount Jefferson. The Whitewater Trail is initially steep, then continues uphill more gently along a prolonged ridgetop with frequent views of mountain ranges to both east and west, as well as dramatic glimpses of the giant itself. An empty campsite was almost a challenge to find, as camping is allowed only in designated sites and August is a heavy use time for this area. However, a suitable site was secured on the north side of Scout Lake — a site with a view of the lake with the behemoth mountain behind.

On Saturday, some of the group hiked further north on the Pacific Crest Trail to the high ridgetop (at approx 7500 ft) from which Mt St Helens and Mt Hood could be seen to the north and the various high peaks to the south were also visible. Others hiked down the Breitenbush trail and enjoyed babbling brooks and flowery meadows and still another enjoyed sunning and swimming at Lake Russell. Due to an unusually heavy butterfly hatch, we were accompanied all weekend by thousands and thousands of rust and black colored butterflies which were so thick they gave the appearance of fall leaves being carried by the wind. In addition, the wildflowers were in an unusually spectacular bloom in the alpine meadows, likely due to the extensive winter snow cover having only recently being melted. During this heavy use period, other happy hikers and backpackers were frequently encountered, but sharing the joy of the experience only magnified our own pleasure.

On Sunday, the group sadly packed up and trekked back down the mountain, wishing we could have stayed another few days.

Members: Becky Lipton (leader) and Evelyn Nagy. Nonmembers: Lynn Black, Sheila Daughtry, Bob Durham and Demetri Liontos.

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