South Cinder Peak

September 5, 2007

Great adventure! Hike began at the Cabot Lake Trailhead on the east side of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The first, nearly two mile segment, went through an area of a major fire about five years ago. Vegetation is limited to fireweed, low shrubs of various kinds and lots of blacked, dead, trees. The Ponderosas are just beginning their comeback with the typical plant no more than a foot in height. Terrain in this section is relatively flat. We did not stop at Cabot Lake, which is just out of sight off the trail. The second, 2.8 mile, section of the trail then climbs steeply in a series of well constructed switchbacks before climbing more gradually on to Carl Lake. Forest is primarily hemlock with some true fir and spruce, the ponderosa having been left behind at Cabot. Carl is a truly beautiful Alpine lake, heavily forested except for steep cliffs on one side. The next 1.5 mile section proceeds pass Shirley Lake, also a beautiful alpine lake, but much smaller than Carl. The trail continues steeply up to the PCT, climbing along the side of a spectacular canyon. The trail to the Peak proceeds South on the PCT for less than a ¼ of a mile before turning West to the base of the Peak on an unmarked trail. A climb of the Peak appears formidable from the base, with a pitch of 15% or more. But it took only 15–20 minutes on a well defined trail. The view from the top made the climb more than worthwhile. A shifting, broken, cloud cover restricted the view to some extent. But Jeff. is close and presents a stunning view. We also had good views of such peaks as Jack and Washington; as well as the smoke from the Mt. Washington Wilderness fire.

After we scrambled down off the Peak, our real adventure started. We decided to take the loop back to Carl Lake which Sullivan describes in his hiking book. However, after hiking north on the PCT for close to two miles, we couldn’t find the junction. We couldn’t hike cross country (even though we could see the Lake) because of the cliffs overlooking the Lake. So we retraced our steps to the original junction. This meant adding two hours and approximately four additional miles to the hike. So, we arrived back at the trailhead just before dark (about 8 p.m.) with everyone seeming in good health and spirits, although not necessarily looking forward to a two hour drive home. Intrepid adventurers, all Obsidians, were LaRee Beckley, Brad Bennett (new), Dan Christensen, Dick Hildreth and Elle Weaver.

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