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.