Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lost Creek Lake

In retrospect, it was kind of amazing we even made it to the trailhead, much less doing any hiking of note. It had been raining heavily all week so only 5 hikers (including me) decided to brave the elements and go hiking on the picturesque shores of Lost Creek Lake. But rain really wasn't the issue because that's what rain gear was invented for. So, while we were all prepared to get wet, none of us really expected snow!

Shut up kids and let me drive!

The shortest drive from Roseburg to Lost Creek Lake is on the curvy Tiller-Trail Highway and when the road gained elevation after leaving Tiller, snow began to fill the air. Then it began to stick on the highway, a fact not lost on driver Gary when the car made a surprise skid on the icy pavement. From that slippery point forward, it was us crawling along at 15 miles per hour before the road topped out and began descending into a land where airborne water existed in its more customary liquid state. A tip of the hat to Gary, our lives were in his hands and he was up to the task.

A few small puddles on the trail
The hills surrounding Lost Creek Lake were all dusted with snow but we were hiking just under snow level. We only had to contend with cold rain pelting us with fat drops of water as we set out on the trail. A flood warning was in effect and we had to step through a number of creeks flowing beneath the oaks and madrone trees where under normal conditions, there would exist no creeks at all.

Manzanita bloom
The lake supports a healthy population of water fowl and sure enough we observed some geese and ducks and they in turn observed a small and sad flock of wet hikers. The path ambled up and down with each up and down part serving as a temporary creek bed. It wasn't long before pants and boots were wet and muddy. On one hillside, a fountain of water was spurting from a gopher hole presumably long vacated by its gopher tenant. No doubt, some gopher landlord is being sued for damages, pain, and suffering.

Lost Creek Lake
After a short walk on a trail flanked by flowering manzanita bushes, the path followed the edge of the lake on a rocky shelf, treating us to a moody view of the lake underneath a dark gray sky. Wet clouds cloaked the surrounding mountains, reflecting somewhat on the lake's surface. In its own wet way, the day was absolutely spectacular and a certain camera who was mad at its owner for exposing it to the rain, was nonetheless quite busy taking pictures of the stormy scene.

Trail through the manzanitas
As we hiked, the rain did let up a bit and really, it wasn't anything a raincoat couldn't handle. After splashing along the trail for a couple of miles, we left the trail (formally known as the Rogue River Trail but not the same Rogue River Trail we love and hike so much) and took a side trip to Blue Grotto.

Blue Grotto
Blue Creek was flowing fast and muddy as we hiked along the creek. Blue Grotto is a scenic little bowl where Blue Creek drops over a rock bluff that on a sunny day, is actually an odd blue color not unlike the mold on a month-old English muffin. On this wet day however, the color was grayed out in keeping with the portentous clouds of gloom overhead. No complaining though, because the copious amount of rain made sure to keep the creek flowing fast and strong and the waterfall was absolutely stunning. I've been here before and the creek usually just barely trickles over the drop. So, there was a plus side to hiking on this day after all!

Drip, drip, drip....
We returned to the lake and ate lunch on a forested bench overlooking the large body of water. Naturally, the rain started up again when we sat down so we quickly returned to the trail to hike back to the car. On the way back, we encountered kindred spirits and their canine friends on the trail, all out for a hike in the rain. We understood because hiking in the rain is fun, better than spending the day at home watching TV. Although, we did concede to the bad weather somewhat when we returned to Roseburg by way of snow-free I-5.

Why we hike in the rain
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

1 comment :

  1. Yup, it looks wet! Been there before when parts were flooded, but I think you could have inter-tubed down some parts of the trail! Wish we could have hiked, but I guess we are fair weather hikers at best. Waterfall sure was full.