Cascade Gorge - February 25, 2017
Coordinator, narration and pictures by Richard O'Neill

There was a winter storm warning in effect when we hiked in the Cascade Gorge area near Lost Creek Lake. Yet, despite (or maybe because of) the dire weather forecast, 7 hikers showed up for this hike and it was like "Winter storm, what winter storm?" 

At the lake, the surrounding hills and shady parts did have a couple of inches of snow but really, this day was all about the sun and blue sky. The trail leading up an arm of Lost Creek Lake was mostly level and alternated between open cliffs and shady forest comprised of cedar, fir, and madrone. Snow queen and Oregon sunshine were abloom next to the trail and it almost felt like spring. There was one scenic stretch where pink cliffs, blue sky, turquoise lake, and white hills awed us and kept cameras busy Was this not a Richard Hike, or what?

Heh, heh, heh, maybe I spoke too soon. Several miles into the hike, a tree lay across the trail. No problem, we worked our way around that and about 20 yards later there was a second tree. Then there was more, more, and even more trees laying across the trail. And not just content with trees blocking the way, the Richard Hike gods made sure a couple of landslides made things tricky as we scrambled across the shifting landslide scar. Hiking became tedious work, which was a shame as there were several scenic creeks crossing the trail. All of the bridges over the creeks were damaged by falling trees but amazingly, all remained passable.

We were hiking up the Rogue River in the lake's impound area and at the intersection of the Middle and South Forks of the Rogue River, we ate lunch and turned back. Yay, we got to scramble over, under, and through the same old tree mess again. The hike wound up being a pretty tough 9.6 miler but it did feel good to defy the odds and enjoy a rare sunny day. The next day it was back to rain and snow, so we definitely snuck this one in.

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