We took a long drive up Santiam Pass to the Marion Lake Trailhead. We knew we were up for a 6+ mile challenge as we started up to this mountain lake. Celebrity joined our adventure.
21 month Analise walked very slowly, enjoying the breaks sitting on rocks. She found a single puddle from the melting snow and insisted on splashing.
6 year old Amy enjoyed the old trees and shared stories of Field Day. The snow had recently melted and the mosquitoes were not yet swarming.
After awhile we made it to the first lake- Lake Ann. We met a fisherwoman who had packed her raft and fly fishing gear. We enjoyed our lunch watching her launch and explain fly fishing to us. Amy decided we had made a new friend who should teach us to fly fish and bring us out in her raft, but we continued up to Marion Lake after she set out.
On our way to Marion Lake, we took a side trail to Marion Falls which was a dramatic and sudden cliff edge.
On our way back to the main trail, we got to watch a deer.
Marion Lake was dramatic, huge, and surrounded by pretty rocks. The mouth of Marion Lake was clear and beautiful.
We spent quite a bit of time at the cold lake shore. The girls stripped off their clothes and took a dabble so that they would not hike in wet clothes. Celebrity had a gift for spotting crawdads.
As we came around the huge lake, 3 Fingered Jack loomed above us.
We got a little lost finding the loop trail back to Lake Ann and added about another mile onto our day. By the end of the seven miles of beautiful mountain lakes and forest we were that wonderful happy hiker exhausted.
We drove down the Marion Creek Road and found a BEAUTIFUL unmarked campsite near a raging creek. The was an amazing spot with a fire pit, a raging stream, moss covered branches, and a tucked away tent spot the perfect size for our large tent.
We set up camp and I perched on a flat cooking surface with equal views of fire and stream to try out my new toy, the "Safari Chef" camping stove. My tiny one burner backpacking stove is great for boiling water but we were able to grill delicious salmon for dinner along with a yummy noodle dish with my traditional boiled water and snap peas from our farm share.
Analise was excited to sleep in the tent and announced who was sleeping in the tent with her along with pink monkey.
Once Analise was asleep, we enjoyed making Smores by the fire. Celebrity even graced us with a fire dance!
I knew I was in trouble when I was awoken at 5:50am with "Go find that trailhead" and a very happy energetic Analise!
Analise and I enjoyed camp chores and spending a few hours together before the rest of the crew woke up.
After everyone woke up, we had breakfast and broke camp before driving a short distance to the Independence Rock Trailhead.
We took a short hike up Independence Rock for a lovely view of the valley below.
We had a great time together and felt so grateful to enjoy the mountain lakes in the cool of early summer without many bugs. We can't wait for our next adventure!