Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Bobby Lake

Years ago, Mrs. O'Neill and I did an epic six-day, seventy-eight mile backpack trip from Willamette Pass to McKenzie Pass and somehow, we still managed to remain married in spite of this trek. On our first day, we stopped for lunch at Bobby Lake and felt pretty proud of ourselves because it had been a nine mile hike to get there and we did it by lunch time! Woo-hoo, we were pretty awesome hikers back then. There is an easier way to get to Bobby Lake though, one can simply grab the Bobby Lake Trail from Forest Road 5897 (a.k.a.Waldo Lake Road) for a short 5'ish mile out-and-back hike. Since I was on my way to Odell Lake to meet some friends for a camping and hiking extravaganza on the trails of the Diamond Peak Wilderness, a hike to Bobby Lake seemed like an enjoyable way to break up the long drive to Odell Lake.

Intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail

Bobby Lake lies to the south of the Three Sisters Wilderness and accordingly, there are a number of small volcanic peaks and cones nearby. I was reminded of this fact by the dust clouds that rose up from the trail with each step I took. The soil is all pumice dust and fine volcanic ash, both easily stirred up by hiking boots, and I certainly picked the wrong day and trail to stay clean on, good thing I'd be camping by a lake.

The hike to Bobby Lake was basically
a mostly level walk through a forest

The actual trail to Bobby Lake was not all that much to write about, consisting of a straight shot to the lake through a viewless forest with little or no undergrowth. Mountain bikers and faster hikers occasionally whizzed by, leaving me behind to eat their dust. There were several trail intersections to sort out but since I had an accurate map in hand, there were no misplaced hikers in the hiking of this hike.

The end of the trail (except for the rest of the trail)

At each trail junction, marker medallions on signposts proclaimed this trail to be part of the Eugene to Pacific Crest Trail, an ambitious trail project that is more concept than actual trail. That would certainly be a fun backpack trip but make sure to pack your uphill leg muscles. The last trail junction was with the actual Pacific Crest Trail and from there, it was a quarter-mile walk to Bobby Lake itself. One little oddity about intersecting the Pacific Crest Trail is that about a quarter-mile prior to that event, a signpost marked the official end of the Eugene to Pacific Crest Trail. Seems to me like you'd want to actually reach the Pacific Crest Trail before making the "mission accomplished" declaration. Either that or change the trail name to Eugene to Almost the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Twins rise up over Bobby Lake

Bobby Lake is a beautiful mountain lake sited between The Twins and Maiden Peak, both of which were visible on opposing skylines. The blue waters of the peaceful lake were surrounded by acres and acres of dark forest sloping up to the aforementioned peaks. Small puffy clouds formed overhead and slowly drifted away on the high air currents and I found myself wishing I had brought a tent and sleeping bag with me because who wants to ever leave such an idyllic place?

Bobby Lake on a lazy afternoon

I followed the lake's shore for about a half-mile, stopping at a scenic rocky slope diving into the lake itself. It was nice to sit and reminisce about our visit to this lake so many years ago. Not as nice to reminisce about was a chat we had with a mountain biker as we ate lunch back then, he made sure to tell us several times that he used a root ball just before stopping by to say hello. In hiking vernacular, he was telling us he pooped and I'm not sure why he felt the need to let us know, but there are no secrets on the trail.

Hold the lightning bolts in abeyance, please

Anyway, I had a lake and campout to get to, so after a nice little view soak while wandering lost on Memory Lane, it was time to head back to the trailhead. One difference between then and now was that I didn't really have to deal with mosquitoes this time out. Some memories you just don't like to remember, but on that epic backpack trip, for all six days I had to contend with voracious mosquito swarms and an increasingly hostile Mrs. O'Neill (hostile because of the mosquitoes, which were CLEARLY my fault). 

Aster is summer's last hurrah, personified

For more photos of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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