It was late fall. It was my day off. I finished all my homework the night before. And I was ready to get out of the house.
Just before leaving I checked the forecast — rainy with a chance of rain — but as a true Oregonian, this was no obstacle. With my rain jacket packed, I drove down Highway 22, entering the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness area, towards the Pamelia Lake trailhead to ascend towards Grizzly Peak.
Just before reaching the trailhead, I pulled off the road to get a quick view of Detroit Lake. In the summer the 9-mile-long canyon reservoir is usually dotted with boaters, anglers and sunbathers.
But on this late fall day, as the season inched towards winter, the lake was still and reflected a thick fog sweeping over the forest.
Since Grizzly Peak is located in the protected Pamelia Limited Entry Area, accessing the trail requires a limited entry area permit and a daily quota is enforced. Fortunately I was able to get a day-of-trip permit, but those with more foresight might opt to purchase an advance reservation ahead of time. Either way, both are $10.
Once on the trailhead, I immediately got a glimpse of Oregon’s geological history at its finest — a rushing river, fallen trees and a tapestry of green all around. I even discovered a secret waterfall along the way. (But don’t tell!)
Admiring the last bit of fall before it’s gone.
Enjoying the sounds of the river as I trek along the trail.
Oregon’s ever-changing weather shined down on me.
Any Oregonian knows that even when the weather app claims it’ll rain all day, clear skies could still stop by. As sunlight began to pour over the trail, Pamelia Lake glowed in all its own reflective glory.
After a couple of miles of traversing through old-growth forest, the Grizzly Peak trail splits from the Pamelia Lake trail. To the right of the trail junction is the way to Grizzly Peak; to the left leads to the Pacific Crest Trail. Parts of the PCT are closed due to fire restoration, and it’s best to check with the Detroit Ranger Station prior to hiking for current conditions.
From here, I made my way towards Grizzly Peak and got a taste of some first snow.
The depth of Mt. Jefferson Wilderness becomes apparent as I approach the summit.
A fellow hiker commented that Mt. Jefferson is “just in your face.” From the Grizzly Peak summit it was sure hard to miss.
And it was also hard to look away. I took in one long, last view of the magnificent mountain before returning home for the night.