Launching National Parks Hiking

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Our National Parks are treasures. They are special places set aside so that everyone can enjoy nature, and in my view there are few places as splendid when “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.

National Parks are our natural heritage: landscapes like no other, places were we have the chance to view wildlife in their natural habit, trees, flowers, forests, meadows, mountain tops, deep canyons, rivers, lakes, plains, deserts, and so much more. A place to fill our lungs with fresh air, stretch our legs, take flight with our imagination, share togetherness and memories, or find solitude in the quiet of wilderness. Fill our souls.

And from my viewpoint find a little balance to our stressful, plugged in, overworked lives through a taste of adventure in a way that only a National Park can provide. It is the journey not necessarily the destination, or said another way what is important is “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” and our Nation Parks are a fabulous place to do just that.

-Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” -John Muir

Please join me Roger Jenkins as I am “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” at our National Parks. At least once a year, as a minimum, we need to recharge our batteries in nature and National Parks are a great place to do that. So I implore you if you love our National Parks, then come with me and LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Upper and Lower Twin Lakes

LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Back Country Wilderness Hiking

Date: June 1, 2020

Distance: 8 miles, elevation change approximately 1,200’, duration approximately 6 hours, rated Moderate

I did the hike to Upper and Lower Twin Lakes in Lassen Volcanic National Park as part of a Back Country Wilderness Backpacking Adventure. My base camp was a Echo Lake, so the following morning I set off to further explore the trail ahead. I read about the Summit Lakes Loop after I had already made the plan of using Echo Lake as a base camp and then hiking out each day to do other excursions in the park, but the Summit Lakes Loop sounded really intriguing.

So that you will have all of the information regarding this hike you will want to checkout my previous post Echo Lake which will catch you up on the first portion of the hike from the trailhead at the Ranger Station not far from Summit Lake.

From my base camp at Echo Lake my hike took me through beautiful wooded forest. I made my way across snow areas that covered a portion of the trail, and went past several unnamed lakes, a couple of which were probably more like ponds.

I heard commotion behind me and I spied another hiker. At a quick pace he made his way down the switch backs of the hilly trail towards me. He would be the only person that I saw out in this back country, as it pretty much seemed that we had this extraordinary experience all to ourselves. I hiked a couple miles or so with this new trail friend, Sean a Trail Guide for Outdoors Adventure Club out of the Bay Area. He is a recently retired CAL Fire Fighter and was a pretty impressive guy. Sean had done a couple 200 mile stints along the Pacific Crest Trail and plans on doing the entire PCT next year. It would have been this year, however he thought the resupply could be an issue because of the whole Cov-19 Pandemic Crisis. He is a Trail Angel, meaning he would take in PCT Through Hikers for a night so that they could have a quick respite from their long trek. When he caught up to me he said, “I thought that I saw fresh footprints in the snow.” He was doing the hike that I mentioned, an 11 mile loop of the Summit Lakes. He was scouting the hike as next week he would be leading a group and wanted to get more familiar with it. We talked about me doing the loop with him, however I had only planned on a morning hike to the Twin Lakes and then back to my camp to resupply with additional water and to pick up food before heading out to hike to King Creek Falls.

It was fascinating speaking with Sean, with all the experience he has had on the trail as a Cal Fire Fighter, outdoorsman, and Trail Guide. I told him that I was not used to being in an area where it was an Mandatory Requirement to Backpack with a Bear Canister, which led to a conversation regarding bears. He said that his encounter with Black Bears was that they could easily be scared off as they really didn’t want anything to do with you. He said however, that Grizzly Bears were an entirely different animal. We spoke about how, at least at Lassen Volcanic National Park, the bears did not relate cars with food like they do at, for instance, Yosemite. He recanted a story that while at Yosemite his brand new truck had a couple thousands dollars of damage as a bear tried to get at food, and how a friend’s vehicle had been totaled.

While we are on the topic of bears, I must say that because of the whole Mandatory Bear Canister Requirement and the strong suggestion of carrying Bear Spray, (which of course I did), along with the fact that there was essentially no one in the entire park to include employees, (I had only saw the Ranger at the Park entrance and then she was gone by 4:30 PM), I really had bear on the brain. Checkout Bear Attack! My Worst Nightmare.

While looking for a map to show the Twin Lakes for this article I ran across the below post on All Trails by Backpacker Andrew Shegrud which totally spooked me and thought that I should make my readers aware of it regarding this hike. This incident took place a month after I was at the very same spot.

DON’T GO TO UPPER OR LOWER TWIN LAKE

My girl friend and I set out from Butte Lake Campground on June 30th 2020 for a two night stay at Twin Lakes. The cinder cone and lava beds were really cool, and the lakes are super scenic. We got to the southern side of the Upper Twin Lake, and found an awesome camping spot.

About 5-10 minutes after we set our packs down and started setting up the tent, a 5 1/2 to 6 foot tall black bear approached us. We waived our hands in the air and screamed at it at the top of our lungs.

There was a standoff for about 30 seconds as we continued to yell at the bear, in an attempt to scare him off. The bear was not scared of us, and took one of our packs and ran off with it, then ripped all of our gear up to shreds trying to get to our bear can.

When we safely got back to Butte Lake Campground I sought out one of the Rangers and told him what happened. The Ranger said, “Oh yeah, we’ve heard of several incidents already this year. It sounds like the same bear that is taking people’s packs.”

The reason I’m leaving a 1 Star rating is so that it stands out, and hopefully anyone looking to camp at Upper Twin Lakes sees this! The lakes and scenery is really nice, but so are all of the other lakes and trails in this area. Go to another lake. Take another trail. It’s not worth it. – Andrew Shegrud

I think that the problem with the idea of going to a different lake or trail is that bears roam a pretty big expanse of territory, the male more than the female. You would have to just not go to the park with that idea. The good news is that the bear just stole their stuff and didn’t hurt them. Stuff can be replaced. Still it sounds like a scary experience.

But as far as my hike, the woods, and the lakes they are really beautiful and I throughly enjoyed my outing.

Lassen Peak from Summit Lake
Echo Lake, along the way to Twin Lakes
Lower Twin Lake
”What is wilderness? Wilderness is a rare, wild place where one can retreat from civilization, reconnect with nature, and find healing, meaning and significance. Knowledge, respect, and understanding for these wild and undeveloped places will ensure that they remain spectacular for years to come.” – National Park Service
I hiked to Twin Lakes with trail friend Sean, a recently retired Cal Fire Fighter and now Trail Guide.

Thanks for joining my trail friend Sean and I as we were “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ at Twin Lakes in outstanding Lassen Volcanic National Park. Be sure to FOLLOW, SHARE, LIKE, and COMMENT so that you can take part in the many adventures to come. If you like my beanie than go to SHOP APPAREL, if you are seeking balance and love adventure than go to the menu above for hikes and backpacking all over the West. Each is it own website and thus each needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Bear Attack!

MY WORST NIGHTMARE

The  corner of the tent depressed in rapidly several times in swift succession waking me from a deep slumber, I kicked at it yelling, “Hey, hey, hey”, thinking it was perhaps a raccoon or other smaller creature. The response was a deep guttural huff almost like a bark, an under the breath sort of groaning growl that started out low and heightened into one horrific thundering roar that seemed to continue for eternity straight into my tent with a blast of breath, a cloud of steam and saliva. I immediately realized this was my worst nightmare.  I obviously surprised the bear who sounded highly agitated and the ground vibrated as his full weight came down with a thud. I could hear his movement and feel his breath as his head swayed side to side. I quietly reached for the Bear Spray. But Bear Spray inside a small tent?  The only thing I was going to get was me, temporarily blinding myself and then there was the intense debilitating and excruciating pain. This was no time to be totally incapacitated.   A foot away from me separated only by the thin cloth of a tent was four hundred pounds of FUR, FANGS and FURY.

Only to sit up, rub my eyes and say what just happened?! It was a nightmare… it was only a nightmare… hold it- was it?! It seemed so real… it felt so intensely genuine that I had to say to myself did that happen, am I okay!? The anxiety of being in Bear Country, alone, at night, being required to have a bear canister, having it recommended to have bear spray, and all the talk during the day about bears and how effortlessly they could tear the backseat out of a car to get to the food in the trunk, after smashing the window and ripping open the door.

The odds of a human bein being attacked and killed by a bear are almost impossible. You have a better chance of being hit in the head by a falling coconut. That being said, I would have to think that those odds must go up dramatically when that human bein is sitting alone in a tent, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hungry bears. To later hear that in that very place a young couple encountered a bear that would not scare off and destroyed all of their stuff to get at their bear canister makes one take pause and think was I just dreaming? The ranger told the couple that there was a problem bear that was taking backpacks and they had several incidents just this year and believe it is the same bear. I suppose that proved my point regarding the odds increasing…

That is a lot of adventure… more adventure then I would be looking for. A Bear Attack Nightmare in the middle of the wilderness is quite enough of an adventure thank you very much.

“Bears find themselves at the spot where two deep-seated but contradictory human impulses collide: the desire to feel protected from unforeseeable danger and the longing for unspoiled nature.“
-Bernd Brunner

Thanks for joining me on this Nightmare in the Wilderness. Here is a quick funny story, so with all of these bear thoughts going through my mind… It was early morning, the light of day just starting to illuminate my tent, everything was very still, then suddenly out of no where this squirrel like creature ran right over the side of my tent, doing his best impression of ‘Speedy Gonzales’, under the staked out rain fly, and across my backpack, giving me quite a start indeed. For more “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” please LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and FOLLOW. Don’t forget to SHOP APPAREL for your adventure needs and to help support PBTA. The menu above has more pursuing balance at National Parks as well as many areas for adventure across the West. By the way, each is a separate website and needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Credit is due for the feature photo of the bear from Outside Magazine.

Sweet dreams… yeah right…

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Echo Lake

LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Backpacking, Back Country Wilderness Camping, Hiking

Date: May 31/June 2, 2020

Distance 4.7 miles, elevation change 810 feet, duration 4 hours, rated Moderate

This was my first trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Because of the Covid-19 emergency the park, along with all National Parks, had been closed. I arrived the weekend that it opened back up. The park was open, but most of the campgrounds and the Visitor Center were still closed. Backcountry camping was open and that is what I was interested in.

Lassen Volcanic National Park- I have heard it called “Little Yosemite.” It is one of our lesser utilized National Parks. It’s most prominent feature is Lassen Peak, the largest Plug Dome Volcano in the world, and the Southern Most Cascade Mountains Volcano.

After reaching the park I filled out the Self Registration for the Backcountry Wilderness Camping and was on my way. I just about had the place to myself. I suppose that it was a little early in the season, as there was a lot more snow than I was expecting which caused me to rethink my plan to Peak Bag Lassen Mountain that was covered with snow. I do not have the proper equipment for such a snow and ice adventurous undertaking. The other reason the park was so scantily populated is not every National Park has re-open so few people probably even know it is back. I parked near the Ranger Station at Summit Lake and slung my heavy pack up onto my back and headed out on my adventure. It was quite late in the afternoon, but since it was the unofficial start to Summer there would be plenty of light to make the trek to Echo Lake where I would be setting up my base camp.

The start of the hike went through a marshy area which had a little wooden bridge to get past the worst of the wetland and a couple places where I crossed on logs. It wasn’t long before the trail took me past Summit Lake. I imagine that this area would usually be teeming with visitors as I peered back across the lake at the deserted campground. The three days that I was there I saw two small groups at the beginning of the hike near the parking lot, and then only one person in the back country. The weather was cool, it was cloudy and there was low cloud cover obscuring both Brokeoff Mountain and Lassen Peak.

The hike rambles up through gorgeous forest and woodland, along vibrant green meadows until, through the pines, you get your first glimpse of Echo Lake- a quaint little timber lined lake with a little snow thrown about as decoratio

You are not permitted to camp right down near the lake so I hiked along the tree studded lake shore trail until I made it past the far side of Echo Lake and then up the hill until I found some level ground where I would pitch my tent and call it home for the next couple nights.

As I said, this would be my base camp and I would do a couple other hikes while at the park, so I would hike in and out of Echo Lake multiple times. One such hike was to the Upper and Lower Twin Lakes. It rained on me once, which was a surprise, as early on when I had WiFi coverage next to the Visitor Center I was supposedly between rain storms. So take note this is Northern California Mountains and the elevation of the park starts at about 6,500 feet so you must be prepared. When I broke camp the weather had changed again and it was picture perfect with mild temperatures.

Also take note this is bear country and not only is it a good idea to have bear spray, but in the backcountry it is required to have a bear canister, which was new for me, and really had me thinking about bears.

Last look at Echo Lake.
To some it’s just water.  To me it’s where I regain my sanity. 

Thanks for joining me at Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Echo Lake. A great area to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“. A place to pick up all the pieces scattered in traffic, crowds, time schedules, obligations and the craziness of our lives. Stayed tuned to this channel as well as the many different channels that “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ wanders- just checkout the menu above. It is divided by area and each is it’s own separate site and thus needs to be followed independently. So, please take a moment and FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. SHOP APPAREL- If you need a hat, or shirt we have the best logo, the best merch, made of the best stuff, and besides you will be helping to support PBTA.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursing Balance Through Adventure

Garfield Peak Trail

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic View

Date: 9-1-19

Distance 3.5 miles, 1,069’ elevation change, duration less than 2 hours, rated Strenuous

Garfield Peak Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Crater Lake National Park, and it’s all about the view. While it is true there are outstanding views of the precious treasure know as Crater Lake, all along the Scenic Rim of this volcanic caldera, in my opinion, this is the best high view. Garfield Peak at 8, 060’ is not as tall as Mount Scott, but Mount Scott is set back a bit where Garfield Peak is upfront and personal.

Garfield Peak Trailhead is just beyond the Crater Lake Lodge in Rim Village, and the views there are outstanding but just wait until you get the Big Picture at the top of Garfield Peak. The trail wanders through green stands of hemlock and fir, before you cross volcanic rocky terrain. The Park calls the hike strenuous. I am not so sure about that, however you will certainly get a workout, as you traverse a series of switch backs during the steepest portions of the climb. There are multiple view points along your journey to the top where you can look back at Rim Village, the breathtaking lake of course, and also the Klamath Basin to the south.

From the summit of Garfield Peak you can take in the entire lake to include enchanting ‘Wizard Island’, and the ghostly ‘Phantom Ship’. Your commanding view will include at no extra charge the cascades to the north where Mount Thielsen will stand most prominent. This day, this hike, this view, simply marvelous. Garfield Peak Trail is worth the price of admission.

“The appearance of the water in the basin, as seen from the top of the mountain, is that of vast circular sheet of canvas, upon which some painter had been exercising his art. The color of the water is blue, but in very many different shades, and like the colors in variegated silk, continually changing.” – Captain Franklin B. Sprague

I have enjoyed everything thing that I have done the three days I’ve spent exploring Crater Lake National Park. The ‘Crater Lake Blue’ will stay with me forever. On the top of Garfield Peak, at the end of my time at Crater Lake, I can‘t help but feel some of the balance that we all seek to offset our busy, work-a-day, stressed filled lives. After all that is the goal of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. However, it isn’t about the destination, it’s the journey. With that thought in mind please come with me as I leave this beautiful place, continue this quest of fulfillment, this soulful journey to find balance, this escape of the ho-hum, communing with nature, and experiencing the life of adventure. You can do it with me… Please : COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Keep in mind, that ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ is made up of a dozen or more different sites, PBTA National Park Hiking is but one. Go to the menu and do some exploring of your own. If you need top quality hiking, workout, casual ware then why not support ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ by making a purchase at Shop Apparel.

Video Clips of Garfield Peak

Discovery Point Trail

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic View, Sight Seeing

Date: 8-31-19

Distance 4 miles, elevation change 915’, duration 2 hours, rated Easy

Discovery Point Trail is an easy trail great for the whole family, although be aware that this delightful jaunt, that I started past the Crater Lake Lodge, starts out a scenic sight seeing type of saunter, but becomes a little more like a hike the further you go. There are places further on that you will want to watch your step around roots, rocks, exposed cliffs, and big drop offs.

There are outstanding views all along this hike that will simply take your breath away and that you will never forget. This is a hike that you really can go as far as you want. The views don’t differ that much although you get closer to Wizard Island the further you go, and you will have steep embankments, trees, cliffs, rock outcroppings to checkout. It is a wonderful little hike to be sure.

Besides the soul stirring grand views of one of the most gorgeous sights on the planet, with water as blue as blue can be, there are a number of things to checkout at Rim Village which is where you will find the trailhead. There are scenic and historic buildings such as Crater Lake Lodge, among others. The Rim Visitor Center has some great displays regarding the lake, how it was formed, the history, and checking it out is a fun and interesting thing to do. There is also the Sinnott Memorial Overlook that allows an incredible vista from right in the side of the cliff. It has an informative display about the lake and points out the neighboring peaks and mountains. There is a cafe to grab a bite and gift shop to purchase souvenirs at Rim Village as well.

This is a major tourist destination and although there is ample parking if you are there on a major holiday, such as Labor Day, you will be hard pressed to find parking. Don’t get stressed and just go with the flow… Besides once you peer over the side into that Crater Lake Blue you will find that balance that we all seek, and after all we are ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ and that lake of lakes provides that without a doubt.

“What a mighty depth is here, Where clouds of pearl drift far below And stars show through; Where sunbeams play with the emerald-purple waves And all the Silent Sea is stained with blue.” – Stanton C. Latham

Isn’t Crater Lake magnificent? You really have to be here “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ to appreciate it’s grandeur photos don’t do it justice. Well, there is but one adventure left in this series of Pursuing Balance Through Adventure National Parks at Crater Lake so don’t miss it. Please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

If you care to support Pursuing Balance Through Adventure then please buy your active wear here, check out: Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Shop Apparel

Crater Lake Lodge

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Sight Seeing

Date: August 31, 2019

I did not stay at Crater Lake Lodge, as I was backcountry camping where I backpacked in three miles, into the wilderness, at the juncture of the Pacific Crest Trail and Union Trail just outside of Crater Lake National Park’s Gate. But I always like to checkout the old historic lodges at the National Parks and find them fascinating. Sometimes they are quite grand and have great historical value and sometimes they are just quaint old lodges that are cool. Crater Lake Lodge, in my book, is more the later, and certainly worth a look.

The scenic views from the lodge are just breathtaking. You can probably tell from how many pictures I have taken of the lake, and again I apologize that many of them look the same, but I promise you I have sorted through them, but one becomes so entranced, even mesmerized by the incredible beauty that bewitches all who lay eyes on Crater Lake. I seriously have like a hundred pictures of the lake, lol.

The lodge was built in 1915 it has four floors and has 71 guest rooms. From what I could see of the rooms they are much like other National Park Lodges were they are small, basic, sparse, nothing fancy, but clean and nice. It is the historic stay that you are there for and of course the view at this lodge is to die for.

There is a restaurant that looks like it would be fun. The pillars are large tree trunks, there is a grand fireplace, and big windows with gorgeous views of the lake. There is patio dinning as well which is great with unobstructed views of the lake and Garfield Peak.

Looking up at Crater Lake Lodge.
“To say that this wonderful lake is grand, beyond description, is to give an idea of its magnificence. Everyone gazes at it in almost tearful astonishment.“ – Jim Sutton

Thanks for coming along to checkout this quaint old National Parks Lodge as I am ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘ at Crater Lake. I still have a couple more adventures at the “Deep Blue Lake”, as the first explores called it. So please SHARE, LIKE, COMMENT, and FOLLOW.

Mount Scott Trail

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike

Date: 8-31-19

Distance 5 miles, 1250’ elevation change, duration 3 hours, rated Strenuous

Picture this a blue bird, picture perfect day peering down from my perch 8,929’, at the Fire Lookout stationed atop Mount Scott, the highest point at Crater Lake National Park staring into ”Deep Blue”. This is the name the first explorers called Crater Lake. Of course the Klamath Indians had been at this place for thousands of years.

To obtain the panoramic 360 degree views of the entire landscape that I enjoyed on that gorgeous Labor Day weekend you are going have to work for it, but I assure you that it will be well worth it. The park service rates the almost 5 mile hike as Strenuous I have also seen it rated Moderate. It is probably somewhere in between, but I would be inclined to lean more toward moderate.

The trailhead begins next to a flat meadow and a path of pumice, then a gentle climb through mountain hemlock, and from there it starts ramping up in elevation. You will make your way along a series of switchbacks with views of the lake and also the rest of the countryside in back of Mount Scott. Near the top there is a large path where you will make your way along the ridge line to the Fire Lookout. It is not open, but it is still interesting to see it. Most people will hangout there for lunch, wanting to have the mountain top more to myself I continue along in back of the Fire Lookout another 20 yards or so and just took it all in. Ahhh, “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.

Views from the ridge line show the Fire Lookout, Mount Thielsen, among other mountains and the country side out the backside of Mount Scott.

I bid fair well to the backside of Mount Scott, pictured in the distance.
“The Lake? The Sea of Silence? Ah, yes… The one thing that strikes you… is the silence, the profound pathetic silence that broods at all times over all the things. The huge and towering hemlocks sing their low monotone, but that is all you hear… It is not an intense silence, as if you were lost, but a sweet sympathetic silence that makes itself respected and all the people are as if in church.” – Joaquin Miller.
Crater Lake from atop Mount Scott, and yes that little patch of white to the left in the picture is snow, even in August.

Crater Lake is beautiful at eye level after plunging into it’s frigid water cliff jumping, and it is beautiful from a birds eye view from the highest point of the Park. Come with me as I continue ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ at one of the most gorgeous places on earth. COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Until next time Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’

PURSUING BALANCE THROUGH ADVENTURE VIDEO ATOP MOUNT SCOTT

Back Country Camping

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Back Country Camping, Backpacking, Hiking

Date: August 30 – September 1, 2019

Duration: 6 miles round trip each day; 770’ elevation change, 2.5 hours, trail is rated Moderate

I spent three days at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon over the Labor Day holiday, a very busy time to be there. I arrived early the first morning to beat as much of the crowd as possible and to secure my back country permit. I greatly prefer backcountry camping to a campground. The nature, the solitude, and the roughing it aspect verses lots of people around, other campers music, noise, campfire smoke, and activities. It is a good thing that is what I was looking for because I am pretty sure that the National Park Camp Grounds were all full on this the last big hoorah to Summer.

I made sure I was in line right when the Ranger Station opened. There was a group checking in the same time as I was and I overheard a lot of what the Ranger was explaining. There were two choices left as far as wilderness camping, as they only allow a certain amount into a given area. He informed the group ahead of me that the first choice has a puma problem, as a brazen cougar has been hanging around and had been sighted multiple times in recent days. As their group of 8 decided he let them know that they would probably be fine as any time they have had an issue it was with lone backpackers of lesser stature, (Great…). When it was my turn I picked the area without the bold mountain lion appearances. But the reality of the situation is the bears are very active and both of these predators have large territories that they cover so that same lion could easily end up at my camp.

I camped on the Union Peak Trail close to where it intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail. My plan was I would camp in the wilderness, but hike back to civilization each day to do the popular hikes overlooking the gorgeous Crater Lake. I had been to Crater Lake once as a teen with my family, but just to stand on the side of the crater and peer into it’s incredible beauty. This time I wanted to take full advantage of the Crater Lake experience.

I had some difficulty finding the trailhead, as it was really just a pullout, that wasn’t really marked, outside of the West Entrance of Crater Lake National Park. But once on the trail I was treated to backpacking through old growth forest with towering firs that cannot be found in many places. Viewing these gentle giants that have been there since before the Civil War, I sauntered past a sapling and thought that it will still be here a hundred years after I am gone. So peaceful, so quiet, so wonderful.

I found a good camp spot, set up my tent, fired up my backpacking stove, chowed some backpacking food: Jamaican Style Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans. Then I took anything and everything that would have any scent to it especially any food item, but also toothpaste, away from my tent and raised it ten feet in the air from a tree branch.

During my hikes in and out of the area each day I ran into some of the PCT’ers. The Pacific Crest Trail is almost 2,700 miles from Mexico to Canada. Early in the year, while backpacking in the Angeles National Forest, I had talked to some brave intrepid souls that were making the quest and found them talkative and eager despite that Southern California had more snow and longer into the season than normal, which had made the start of the travel more difficult. They were a couple of weeks into their journey and spoke about how everyone suffers with blisters and sores on their feet the first week or so until their feet become trail worthy enough to withstand the incredible amount of miles they put in each day. The person I spoke to was in the hospital a couple days when his feet became infected. Also they informed me they had seen massive rattle snakes near the spot we were at.

Now fast forward to late Summer where the PCT through hikers are pushing hard to get to Canada before the snow and they take on a much different persona. Of these adventurers, I ran across a dozen or more and they varied from young and fit heavily bearded, to older and limping, and a young lone female that was cute in an athletic trail sort of way. But they were trail harden by now after 4 months of hiking. They had purpose and intent in their quick stride, grit and determination. Barely a hello, eyes remained fixed on the trail, no time for pleasantries or idle chit chat. They were no longer friendly, not discourteous mind you, just more to the task, perhaps a bit worn and weary. The many miles had taken a toll and yet still far to go.

Then conversely, I met a young man, trail name “Peak Freak” and his three compadres. I had to quicken my pace if I was to carry on a conversation, as all of these hikers move along with a fast gait. I discovered why this troop was different, more open and friendly. They were heading the opposite way, South. They had been hiking for two months and had another three to go, so they were not nearly as haggard. “Peak Freak” took a moment and showed me his PCT APP “Gut Hook”. It had a plethora of good information that would be most helpful for those taking on such an undertaking. It was interesting to talk with him, but I will say that one might want to stand upwind of them.

While walking around my tent the following morning I found a couple pretty good sized prints that were not clear enough for me to identify. I was then taken aback to find, a half dozen paces or so from my tent, bear scat. Okay… Pursuing Balance Through Adventure…

There are three circles on the map. Garfield Peak, the hike I would take in a couple days, the small circle is the trail head, and the circle in the center is where I would backpack to camp.
Holy Crap, are you sXXting me?!!!
PBTA Crater Lake Video, check it out.
“Here all the ingenuity of nature seems to have been exerted to the fullest capacity, to build one grand, awe-inspiring temple, from which to live and from which to gaze upon the surrounding world and say: ‘Here would I dwell and live forever. Here would I make my home from choice; the universe is my kingdom, and this is my throne.” – William Gladstone, Crater Lake National Park Founder

Thanks for checking out Crater Lake National Park Back Country Camping. There is more to come regarding this magnificent national treasure known as Crater Lake, so I beseech you SHARE, LIKE, FOLLOW, and COMMENT.

Happy Trials

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Cleetwood Cove Trail

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Activities: Day Hike, Cliff Jumping, Swimming

Date: 8-30-19

Distance: 2.2 miles, 700’ elevation change, duration 2 hours, rated: Strenuous

Cater Lake is basically a giant volcano. Surrounding this caldera, filled with unbelievably blue water, one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, are high and extremely steep walls which are in a state of constant change. Erosion by snow, rain and ice, can lead to unsafe conditions. Rock falls and collapses are not uncommon. Because of this steep and unstable terrain Cleetwood Cove Trail is the only way down to the water.

During the Summer at the height of the season securing a parking spot in the lot can be an issue so plan accordingly. It is a short hike down to the bottom, however it is steep with plenty of switch backs. Also keep in mind the lake is at altitude and even 6,178’ above sea level can affect some people. This hike is rated Strenuous.

It is however, a great little hike down through fir trees, with great views all the way down. When you reach the bottom you will be struck by how clear the water is and it is some of the purist water on earth and of course you can never get over the “Cater Lake Blue”.

At the bottom there are boats that will take you on a tour of the lake, which could include Wizard Island. I did not do that tour, but I bet it would be fun.

There are bathrooms at the bottom where you can change. Bring your suit because swimming in Crater Lake is something that you will alway remember. Even in the Summer the surface water temperature is under 60 degrees. So you can painfully ease your way from the shore into this chilly water, or you can take the plunge from the cliff which I highly recommend, and get it over with all at once. Such a thrill!

You should be cooled off enough at this point to make the trek back up the steep Cleetwood Cove Trail. In my opinion a dip in Crater Lake is a must do.

Some of the clearest, purist water on earth
Cliff Jumping
“In many ways this is the most remarkable body of water in the world. There is no lake it’s equal in depth, no lake so blue, none surrounded by such precipitous walls. Its whole setting is stranger and unusual: it is a lake in a mountain-top, occupying the crater of a burnt-out volcano.” -Aubrey Drury

Now that is ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ at one of the most astounding sites in the world, Crater Lake, and then leaping into it’s frigid yet intoxicatingly beautiful water. Ya’ just gotta’ luv it! There is more to come of this magnificent spot so please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

CLEETWOOD COVE CLIFF JUMPING VIDEO

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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