Erma Bell-Williams Lakes Loop

October 7, 2007

With reports of snow on the ground in the area the day before, we made sure all hikers were well equipped with warm layers, rain gear and boots before heading out highway 126 for the trailhead on mostly dry road. The vine maple, dogwood and big leaf maple stunned us with their colors along the Afuderheide Rd. and kept us well entertained for the longish drive. The six alpine lakes along the loop were gorgeous, but Middle Erma Bell was the clear favorite, as it was glassy-smooth and reflected the reds, yellows, and greens of its surroundings. We flushed a single dusky grouse and lots of chickadees and Oregon Juncos as we walked the trail between lakes. A redtailed hawk watched us take our lunch from its perch at Williams Lake. Our trail was clear of snow except for one short stretch and only a little of last week's snow remained along the trailside. All the small creeks had water in them, but all were crossable, with the outflow at Otter requiring the most care. Our return was via Oakridge and most thought this was the better route. The lead car saw a bull elk cross the road about 100 yards ahead on Aufdeheide Rd. and we also flushed a dusky grouse that flew alongside the shotgun window for a bit in its panic to get to a safe place. Three slugs and were also sighted on trail.

Hikers were: Carol Anderson, Brian Hamilton, Mary Hamilton, Lena Houston, Pat Hutchins, Daphne James, Valerie Metcalfe, Carol Petty, Lynne Tracy Susan Wanser and Barb Revere, leader.

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