Showing posts from April, 2014

North Fork Middle Fork Willamette: Buffalo Rock Section

Forest Road 19 also known as Aufderheide Memorial Drive is a great gateway to hiking in both the McKenzie River watershed and the Willamette River watershed. There is access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails including access to the Three Sisters Wilderness and Waldo Lake Wilderness. Because of relatively low snow pack these lower trails, most around 2,000 feet have been open all winter. The Buffalo Rock Section is a relatively new trail that will one day run 35 miles from Westfir to the Shale Ridge Trailhead.

Once we turned off onto Forest Road 1939 I was somewhat confused to see a locked gate, but it was only about a mile to the trailhead so we parked at a small turn out and headed towards the trailhead. The road passes through mostly a monoculture of Douglas-fir, as well as through a site that had been recently thinned. Once you reach the trail the forest becomes much more impressive.

The trail stays relatively close to river level for the two miles or so. At nearly two miles …

Gold Lake Sno-Park: Marilyn Lakes Loop

Snowshoeing is always something that I love to do, but very rarely have the opportunity. Not so recently a good friend and I made it out to the Gold Lake Sno-Park near Willamette Pass. It was his first time snowshoeing and my first time in this area. We happened to pick an absolutely beautiful day to go, it was sunny nearly the entire time. 

There are many places that can be accessed from the Gold Lake Sno-Park including many shelters, mostly three-sided ones, but there are also is the fully enclosed Maiden Peak Shelter. These shelters can be used by anyone for free either overnight or just to warm up. We took the most direct route from the parking area to the Marilyn Lakes Basin. After crossing the somewhat sketchy Highway 58, we strapped on the snowshoes and set out down Gold Lake Road. About .5 mile down this road a trail will veer to the left that starts the decent to Marilyn Lakes. 

Because of the relatively low snow pack we ended up coming across a couple of areas that were flo…