Fire transforms any landscape, but this section brought home to me how resilient nature can be. When I climbed up out of Santiam Pass in 2018 significant sections were freshly burned, each step brought up a cloud of ash, and the undergrowth was completely gone in the freshly burned areas. Just four years later the dead trees still dominate many areas, but the ash is gone and the blackened earth has been turned green again. Flowers were blooming everywhere, and the landscape looked fully alive again.
Christine dropped us off at Santiam Pass. Friends Lori, Georgia and I climbed up out of the pass and were quickly above 6,000 feet. We enjoyed spectacular views, but with visibility slightly altered by light smoke. Three Finger Jack was dramatic and more interesting to me than the higher and more dignified Mount Jefferson. The flora was beautiful, lush, and abundant.
The hiking was moderately challenging. The only tricky bits were a short snow traverse and one log stream crossing. There were a lot of blow downs, many with root balls intact. Georgia and Lori swam at both Rockpile Lake and Pamelia Lake while I practiced looking lazy.
We came off the PCT at Pamelia Lake due to an active trail closure order covering a 20 mile section of trail leading up to Olallie Lake.
My knee was pretty painful on day three, so I am hoping that two days off will help. My heavily used tent finally gave up on the third day, and I had great luck finding a replacement at a local REI today.
If all goes as planned, Lori and I will hike from Olallie Lake to Cascade Locks following a weekend break during which Portland is suffering 100 degree weather.
Here's the album for this section.