Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bullpup Lake

Sometimes, it's just the "being" of hiking and not the destination. As an example, consider a recent Friends of the Umpqua Hiking Club sortie to Bullpup Lake. Actually, saying we hiked to Bullpup Lake is somewhat misleading as we arrived at the small lake in less than a mile. The rest of the day was spent wandering aimlessly on an up and down ridge trail in viewless forest. That's a statement of fact and not a complaint, as we all enjoyed the forest walk despite not really going anywhere in particular.

Bullpup Lake
Starting at the chilly trailhead, the trail immediately began heading uphill before delivering panting hikers to Bullpup Lake. The lake is small and the water is less than pristine but it made for a nice camera stop as the lake reflected the surrounding forest quite nicely. And then the "fun" started.

I'm NOT tired, I'm just taking pictures!
The trail left Bullpup Lake and headed up a forested slope, emphasis on the word "up". The trail ascended 1,000 feet in about a mile, and I quickly realized I had forgotten to pack my uphill leg muscles this morning. However, the camera is a reliable refuge for tired hikers and lots of pictures of mushrooms and the morning sun slanting through the trees were taken. 

We were switchbacking up a ridge and eventually we found ourselves at the edge of a treeless lava flow. It was culture shock of sorts to find ourselves under a blue sky instead of a tree canopy. A nice view was had to Bohemia Mountain, Fairview Peak, and other high points in the Calapooya Mountains range across the Big Bend Creek drainage.

Diamond Peak
Shortly thereafter, we attained a ridge crest and the hike then became typical of ridges: up and down but never level. The ridge was heavily forested and offered little or no views. I bushwhacked briefly to a rocky viewpoint that offered a partial view of Diamond Peak, South Sister, and Mount Jefferson, the tips of which rose above the Middle Fork Willamette River valleys. 

The North Umpqua River valley
At a rare open meadow, we ate lunch while enjoying views looking down the North Umpqua River valley with a number of large peaks faintly visible on the horizon.  I'm not sure which particular peaks we were looking at but they were probably in the Siskiyou Mountains range. The sun felt good after the cool forest.

The Quest for Bulldog Rock

After lunch, a contingent continued on in what would turn out to be a futile quest for the summit of nearby Bulldog Rock. The forest made navigating difficult and they wound up walking past the rock, never realizing they were actually on the Bulldog Rock slope. So they got to enjoy a long walk in the woods without particularly going anywhere, part of the "being" of hiking in a forest.

No mountain lion pictures, this will have to do!
Oh, one more cool thing happened on this trip. On the drive out, a mountain lion darted out in front of my car, followed by another mountain lion. Now, how cool is that?  For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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