Irish Mountain Backpack

August 13-15, 2010

Irish Mountain may be the largest Cascade peak that nobody knows. Although it is just six miles by trail from the popular Erma Bell Lakes trailhead in the southern end of the Three Sisters Wilderness, our group of six appears to have been the first to hike there this year. We camped beside two small but lovely, swimmable lakes at the 5.5-mile mark, with heather meadows, tadpoles, and an American marten. The next day four of us scrambled 30 minutes up to the mountain’s craggy little summit (views from Mt. Thielsen to Mt. Hood), and then bushwhacked six miles around the mountain, visiting a total of 17 lakes and 19 ponds amidst open woods and small meadows. We decided that lakes, unlike ponds, are big enough to swim in, and tested this theory by swimming in a charming V-shaped lake directly on the Cascade crest with an island and a fine view of South Sister. The next day we packed up camp and hiked out, agreeing that Irish Mountain deserves more recognition. We only wish we could have done this trip in September, when there would have been more huckleberries and fewer mosquitoes. Obsidians attending were Bill Sullivan (leader) and Chris Stockdale. Chemeketans on the trip included Sullivan, Rick Jorgensen, and Mona Knapp. Guests were Janell Sorensen and Niccole Shipley.

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