|Cathedral Rocks and Mt. Jefferson|
On an early July morning I walked into Pamelia Lake, located in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, planning on spending the night somewhere in the wilderness. A spongy, needle laden trail beneath giant Douglas firs led me to the lake, where I was greeted by an abundance of blooming rhododendrons.
I sat on a log near the lake’s shoreline for a while and watched trout rise to the lake's calm surface, feeding on the abundant insects flittering about. I don’t know why, but the water brought along that morning tasted especially good, so much so that the bottle was soon empty. It was time to replenish from a wild source.
Part of Hunts Cove
I stopped briefly at Hanks Lake then continued on to nearby Hunts Lake, laid out my sleeping bag to lounge on and took in the sights. A forest ranger, hiking to Marion Lake for the weekend, stopped to say hello. She told me about how Marion Lake had become a zoo on the weekends and that its overuse was becoming a major concern. Her job was to make sure people followed the wilderness rules. Not easy for one person at a party of 300 others.
After spending a good share of the day at Hunts Lake, I backtracked and took a switchback trail connecting with the PCT at the 5,600' level. I followed the PCT along spectacular Cathedral Ridge, where a view of Hunts Lake appears hundreds of feet below. After passing a few tarns as the sun set, I once again laid out my sleeping bag a few hundred feet off the trail and fell asleep.
Hunts Lake from the PCT
Later that night I awoke to what I’ll describe as muted thuds occurring in a rapid succession. I didn't move, realizing the thunderous alarm was coming from the same direction I was staring. My eyes, not needing to adjust much in the forest partially lit by the nearly full moon, latched onto a deer herd as they appeared from the trees and ran down a small hill directly toward me. They then hesitated, but continued to creep closer.
I decided to play a little game, seeing how close the deer would come before they noticed me stretched out across their path. I remained still, keeping my eyes open, never really thinking they'd walk over the top of me. But they kept coming. Finally, as they moseyed no more than 7 or 8 feet from me, I sat up. They scattered, like cottonwood seeds in the wind. I think they actually would have walked right over me if I hadn’t moved.
Intersection with the PCT near Cathedral Rocks