Clear Lake

June 25, 2008

Clear Lake and Sahalie Falls never disappoint. Making today’s hike special was the fact that we had three visitors from Texas who were not only awed by the scenery from the time we left Springfield until seeing the Three Sisters and Mt. Washington setting a magnificent backdrop for the picturesque lake toward the end of our loop. . . but will go home telling everyone how they hiked over lava and snow(!) in shirtsleeve weather (a bit warm for us Oregonians, but delightful if you’ve spent the last few weeks in 100+ degrees in Gulf Coast humidity).

The snow was more a matter of remaining icy clumps here and there on the trail (although there was a six ft. tall pile at the picnic shelter that was pretty impressive). We also had to do a balancing act at one new inlet, tip-toeing across shallow water on a narrow line of rocks (the lake is higher than normal). At the source of it all, where we had lunch, the normally docile springs feeding the turquoise great pool were actually gushing out with considerable force. And the small rapids connecting the pool to the lake was a steady, deep stream covering all the rocks.

And, to top it off, the normally dry Fish Lake Creek was a full fledged rapids. Foot bridges at both ends of the lake appeared to have been newly rebuilt, or at least strengthened with new railings, etc.

Sahalie Falls, as has been noted in other recent reports, is a roaring powerhouse. It’s hard to believe that what starts out so deceptively can become such a monster. Speaking of which, our guests wondered about the possibility of seeing Sasquatch on the hike. Not only didn’t Big Foot make an appearance, but neither did the ospreys, eagles, pileated woodpeckers, beaver, river otters, pikas and other critters described in the lake brochure. We did see lots of wildflowers and other vegetation authoritatively identified by Anne Montgomery (and with Barb and Margaret along, she had to be on top of her game). Having us all smell the perfume emitted by flowering False Solomon’s Seal was a sensory first for the rest of us.

So, if you get the idea we had a magnificent day. . . you’re right!

Thanks to Jim and Kathy Floyd for being my co-drivers. And a final note: By the time you read this, we’ll know if Jackie and Richard Acuff’s daughter, high jumper Amy Acuff, qualified for her FOURTH! Olympic team. Wow!

Hikers were: Jackie Acuff, Richard Acuff, MaryLee Blodgett, Jim Floyd, Kathy Floyd, Margaret Prentice, Barb Revere and Marshall Kandell, leader.

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