[pct-l] off the beaten path

mark v allemande6 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 10 15:21:54 CDT 2009

Besides the already-mentioned places:

-Split Mountain is a not-too-difficult scramble in the Sierra, right off the PCT.  As you approach Mather Pass northbound, it's the big (as in 14,000+) peak to the east.  At its base you'll see a large, circular lake (named on the maps only by its elevation).  Follow the south shore of this lake, aim for the saddle to the north of Split, and then follow the ridgeline north.  I did this in August with no snow.  In snow, it might be more challenging, but if  you stick to that route it still shouldn't be too bad.   When you get to the top, you can be glad that you've climbed a California 14er in an easier way than most peakbaggers, who park on the east side of the mountain and have a harder climb to the top.  From the PCT side though, no big deal.

-North of Silver Pass (north of Vermillian Valley Resort), the Cascade Valley Trail is more fun to me than the PCT for that route.  Mileage is the same, and both end up at Red's Meadow.  The Cascade Valley goes lower, along and across a river, past some small waterfalls, and past Ida Bell hot springs.

-Buck's Peak is an unassuming side trip of a half hour or so from the PCT, on the north side (descent) from Mt. Hood.  There are very good views from the tiny top though, and it's the highpoint of Multnomah County.

-If not afraid of heights, Mt. Thielsen, north of Crater Lake.  You'll get to an obvious saddle and junction due west of the unmistakeable sharp peak.  Follow the use trail east, go up the south (not southwest) side of the peak.  This one was scary for me, but if you climbing go for it.

-Deception Creek and its trail is  very nice...real colorful and alive rainforest, with shrooms, muskrats, draping moss.  It's a different way down to the north end of Washington's Section J.  From the pass, the trail isn't very distinct, but if you follow the creek, within a mile it becomes a big, happy trail.  I just roadwalked from there back up to the PCT.


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