Fish Lake - May 9, 2015
Coordinator Richard O'Neill, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill
About 7 years ago, I hiked to Fish Lake the hard way, taking the Lakes Trail alongside Fish Lake Creek. The area had been ravaged by wildfire and piles of fallen snags covered up the trail, particularly in the first mile. I became quite the tree hugger as I made my way over, under, and around the dead trees lying on the trail and I quickly became slathered with an ungodly goo of ash, insect repellent, sun screen, blood, and perspiration.
Given that, this hike was advertised as a strenuous affair, and about a dozen hikers walked through that first mile in….in…in….beautifully shaded forest? Wow, what a difference between then and now! The Forest Service had removed the logs and the forest was in full arboreal recovery with a veritable jungle growing underneath the trees which have leafed out quite nicely in the intervening years.
Since most of the trail is now well shaded, we’ll have to call this a moderate hike instead of strenuous. While uphill all the way to Fish Lake, the grade is relatively gentle. At about the halfway point, the trail peels away from Fish Lake Creek and works its way along some scenic cliffs above the creek’s canyon.
Shortly after the cliffs, the trail takes a rare downhill turn to Beaver Swamp, a scenic little pond replete with beaver nests and sunning turtles. It was nice, pretty, and a prelude to the last steep section taking us to Fish Lake.
Fish Lake was reliably scenic, its blue waters reposing nicely below Highrock Mountain and Rocky Rim. A slight breeze ruffled the lake’s surface and we sat down for an extended lunch and laze. Life was good and the best news was that the trail was all downhill to the trailhead. Now that the trail has been fixed up, this is a superb little hike and should become a club favorite.
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club