Date of visit: May 27, 2012
Population: 699 (2010 Census)

When President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps to create jobs, CCC camps were established all over the country. One such camp was created in 1935 in Stanfield, Oregon and was known as Camp BR-44, or Camp Stanfield. The men from this camp worked on irrigation projects in the area, clearing clearing willows and debris from the Westland Canal, reconstruction the Stanfield Main Canal, putting in riprap and brush along the canals, installing 429 water control structures, repairing pipelines, building 75 miles of access roads, working on the feeder canal to Cold Springs Reservoir. A vegetable garden at the camp was pronounced a model for other CCC camps to follow. The camp closed in June 1938.

Welcome to Stanfield

Irrigation district

Hope Presbyterian Church

No more tacos


Water tower

Old house

Map of Stanfield

Oregon Towns Project

Every town in Oregon

When you’re on a road trip, just trying to get from point A to point B, do you ever drive by all those freeway exits denoting one small town after another and wonder what you’d find there? Or driving down a state highway you see a sign pointing down a side road that says Jefferson – 10 miles, but you never take that side road because Jefferson isn’t on the way to anywhere you need to go.

Well, I’ve decided I’m going to visit these little places that people always pass by. I’m going to visit every town in Oregon, big or small. It will probably take me many years – Oregon is 98,466 square miles and has about 450 towns, depending on which source you consult. I’ll take at least one photo in each place and learn at least one interesting thing about each place. I’ll write about my experiences here on my blog.

It’ll take me awhile, but I think this will be fun and I’ll get to learn a lot about my home state!

Oregon Towns Project

Pamelia Lake

After our marathon trek to and from Marion Falls, we headed over to Pamelia Lake, even though it was late in the day. We didn’t want our permit to go to waste.

The November 2006 storms wreaked havoc on the trail. Part of the Milk Creek Glacier up on Mt. Jefferson broke loose and sent a torrent of debris downstream. The debris flowed down Milk Creek and spread out towards Pamelia Creek, causing the creek to carve a whole new channel in places. It obliterated large sections of the trail but the Forest Service has done a good job rebuilding the trail. The forest in there is incredibly surreal. Rocks and boulders litter the forest floor and in many places they are resting on the “upstream” side of a group of trees, unable to go any further during the debris flow.

After hiking in and out of patches of this bouldery forest, the last stretch towards the lake was fine. About 6:00 we reached Pamelia Lake.

According to Sullivan’s hiking book, we could go around to the south shore of the lake for a view of Mt. Jefferson. We were unable to find a way to do so and we eventually realized why. Sullivan describes how the lake level drops by mid to late summer so that the shoreline is exposed. It is along the shoreline that he tells you to walk to get the view of Mt. Jefferson. You can see in the photo below that all the logs that would normally be high and dry by late July are in fact anything but. But this, of course, is not a normal year.

Greg explored in the bushes along the lake, but even if we had tried to bushwhack over to the south shore, we would have had to wade the outlet creek, which again is apparently normally pretty dry. So we gave up and simply hung out on the north shore, admiring the lovely evening and the peaceful lake.

Pamelia Lake is nice and I’m glad we went there. But I’m not sure what the huge appeal is. Why is this lake so popular? So popular that the Forest Service has had to limit access! There are several prettier lakes with hikes that are of similar length and difficulty, both in the Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood areas.

I would like to come back here to explore the area further up, including Grizzly Peak and Hunt’s Cove. I have barely seen any of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, and I hope to spend more time there next summer.

Marion Lake

I have a very strange work schedule, so I occasionally have weekdays off, which was the case this past Thursday. So I headed down to the Mt. Jefferson area to go for a hike. I originally intended to go up to Pamelia Lake, having never been there, but when I stopped in at the Detroit Ranger Station for the required permit, I was told the trail was closed for a few days. Apparently they were doing some blasting where the PCT crosses Milk Creek, to try and make the crossing better after it was ripped to shreds in the November storms. So I decided to do Marion Lake instead.

I was surprised to see half a dozen cars at the trailhead. On a weekday towards the end of the September, I thought I’d be the only one up there. I never saw the occupants of most of those cars, though I did pass a group of four men who were taking a break at Lake Ann, who had started on the trail about ten minutes before me. I didn’t see them again the rest of the day.

When the trail forks after Lake Ann, I took the right fork and then tried to find Marion Falls, without success. So I continued on to Marion Lake, where I ate lunch along the shore.

Marion Lake

There was a little fall chill in the air, and the day was a little overcast. The weird thing is that you can tell this lake is popular and overrun with people in the summer because of all the little trails down to the shore and the huge trampled camping areas. But there were no campers there that day, and no other hikers. It was a little like being in a ghost town.

While eating lunch, I could see the huge rock slide to my right, across which the Blue Lake Trail crosses. There were a lot of colorful vine maple there, so I headed up that trail just as far as the rock slide so I could revel in the gorgeous beauty of all that fiery red color. It was fantastic! I absolutely love vine maple in the fall!

Fiery red

View from the rock slide

There are a lot of patches in the forest where vine maple grows here, but only the exposed ones on the rock slides are in color right now. There are several rock slide areas that the trail passes, or that you can see from a distance, and ALL rock slide vine maple is in color now. It’s pretty spectacular.

Back down on the Marion Lake trail, I meandered down to the peninsula, where I had a pretty nice view of Three Fingered Jack, silhouetted in the afternoon sun.

Three Fingered Jack

And if you cross the peninsula to the other side, you can see the very top of Mt. Jefferson.

A little bit of Jeff

From here, I could also see two horseback riders crossing a rock slide on the Minto Pass Trail, right before it connects up with the Marion Lake Trail. I came across the hoofprints on the trail a short while later, but never did see them up-close.

Horses on the rocks

See all my photos from this hike here.

This is a pleasant and easy hike. I am by no means a fast hiker, but it only took me four hours to do the six miles, including my detour to find the waterfall, my lunch break, and my half hour vine maple fix. Makes for a great autumn hike!