The Trio expeditions have begun. Grizzly Peak was first on the list for us and it was perfect sauce for getting us started. Here are a few stats for you before we get into the good stuff.
* 75 miles from Redmond Oregon
* Pamelia Lake is on the way to the summit
* Trail is 6 miles each way
* Difficulty on a scale of 1-10, 3
* Great views of Mt. Jefferson
* Permit required and can be obtained at recreation.gov
* Parking pass also required
* Part of the Trio for 2020
We had to split this expedition into two groups, the permits are hard to come by. The first group was a fine selection of Posse elite with Aaron, Christian, Joseph, Vivian, Maya, Bryant, Lindsay, Blake and myself included. We set out at the early hour of five am from the Redmond High parking lot. I have to say that the sleepy eyed travelers were probably still in the middle of a dream when we met up. This was true of both expeditions. The morning wasn't doing us any favors and we weren't welcoming it like a fourth of July parade either.
I'm going to mash these two expeditions together. The second group was Jose, Kaitlin, Drew, Keegan, Kenly, Alexis, Chris, Scot and myself. It would have been cool to slam everyone in together, alas, it was not meant to be.
The drive from Redmond to the trailhead was quick. The turn off to Pamelia road that leads to the trail is 11 miles East of Detroit, can't miss it. The rain was misting down on us both days, nothing to get your drawers soaked, a nice Disney mist.
The first two miles to Pamelia Lake are easy ones; a creek welcomed us and at the first sight of it, we all started collecting our photos. It's cool how flowing water seen over and over keeps us captivated. The constant movement is a physical demonstration of our lives; the hours, days and weeks that move us from thumb suckers to paying too much for a cheap car suckers.
We had a number of firsts on the trail, a toddler, baby and some teenagers joined us. Joseph and Bryant win the packmule award; they packed their kids up the mountain. This is a good place to visit if you have younger travelers in your group.
We made Pamelia lake in no time and the only people on the trail was us. We did see some others at the lake camping and milling about. From the lake to the top of the mountain, the trail was ours. It gets moderately steep in places; nothing to serious. Aaron informed us the day before the first trip that it was hike naked day, I can report that we didn't see any nakedness on the trail. I didn't think we would, one never knows when in Oregon though. Aren't we all naked all the time underneath our clothes?
A straight forward path is a good thing sometimes. You can let the easiness of the trail create easy conversation, that's just what we did. How long can a discussion about the proper name for the two end pieces of bread last? We made it about a half mile on that one. No conclusion was reached, it's either the butt or the heel. Keegan came up with the Alpha and the Omega, I like that one. So we talked along and enjoyed a nice stroll in the beauty of our State.
A few things to note are the many logs that are laying across the trail. None of them were of any consequence, just logs doing what logs do. After Pamelia Lake, we came to an outlet stream, on the first trip, we had to find a rock skipping spot to make our way across. A week later, during the second go around, the stream was empty. I was also surprised how quickly the lake dropped. It has emptied out faster than the cupboards in a house full of teenagers.
I rated this trail a three on the difficulty scale. It really should be a bit lower, the distance is the only factor that made me go with the three. The "steep" part is not a good use of the word. It's a nice, meandering trail that gently makes it's way to the summit of Grizzly. Twelve miles of walking may prove to be a bit long for some hikers. We all agreed that it was a great expedition to get the Trio season kicked off. Beyond the lake the trail is cut into the hillside. At times, it's kind of narrow and it adds to the ambience of the place. It's almost like making your own way through an enchanted forest. We were looking down a steep hill when Jose turned around and looked up. Wow, the rock formation set our imaginations ablaze. Jose and Kaitlin said it looked like something out of the movie Frozen. I will take their word for it, as I haven't seen it, I will say this, Jose is a character, I never thought of him as a cartoon character. He was talking about the gel in his hair early on in the hike. I can see him as a Johnny Bravo kind of cartoon now that I approach the subject.
One of my favorite spots was where the foliage overgrew on the trail. We had to duck and walk, still as we hit the leaves, they released little drops of water, a high mountain shower. The morning was cold, the droplets were cold. We let Drew go first and we could hear as the water introduced itself to the backside of his neck. The first trip, Bryant had his son Blake in a backpack. As he walked through the leaves, the water made it's home on the top of Blake's head. He was not amused.
The trail was eroded away in places, footing was still good but a slip down the hillside would have been no laughing matter. There are places where the incline is pretty steep. The first mile above the lake was my favorite part of the expedition. A waterfall, with the trail right at the base of it, was another highlight on the trail. If you are looking for a fun day trip close to Central Oregon, Grizzly Peak is a good choice. Alexis said he will most likely visit this area again, this was his first mountain climbed.
The star of this show isn't a prince or princess, it's a beauty and a beast, Mt. Jefferson. The views along the way and especially from the summit are really spectacular of the Jefferson. On the first trip, we spent some time at the summit, eating and relaxing. I was really captivated by this mountain. It's a giant and it's steep. It's like the kid you knew growing up that was bad to the bone. He didn't have to try to be who he was, he was scary in his DNA. Mt. Jefferson was inviting me to a beatdown, I'm going to climb on that mountain one day. We talked about the route we would take and everyone of them looked fierce. Totally cool.
Unfortunately the clouds rolled in and stayed on the second expedition. If there's anybody that I wanted to see experience the awesomeness of Jefferson from the summit of Grizzly Peak, it's Keegan. We have the same kind of obsession with mountains. Mountains are our scary movies.
I asked Chris if he would climb mount Jefferson and in a casual, laid back manner he said, "Yeah, I'd climb that."
Chris is a sneaky, adventurer. His calm manner hides the heart of a hardcore traveler. His first mountain was an eighteen mile, serious affair last summer, Middle Sister. The whole time, he was in business mode. If he was afraid or ever thought of turning back, I didn't see it. I imagine on some of our difficult trips, I'll look over and see him there. It came as no surprise when asked if he would climb Mt. Jefferson that his answer was the same as if I asked him to grab some lunch at Taco Bell. Although, I'm not sure which of the two is the more dangerous. My lower intestine would say it's the mass produced bean product.
The two groups were very different. The first was more of a couples outing, young love was swirling around like the cold artic blast at the peak of Mount Jefferson. The second was Father/Daughter, Father/son, with a few random dudes thrown in. One of the randoms, beside myself, was the oldest person to embark on a Posse Trio expedition, Scot. I didn't get to talk with him much on the trail, he was up in the front blazing away. Talk about business, I wouldn't have been ataken back at all if he started handing out business cards up there. Scot's no hassle, lead you up a mountain in no time, guide service.
Pamelia Lake is a cold thing. It's what makes it therapeutic. It was warmer on the first trip, we took advantage and jumped in to let the healing begin. About twenty feet from the shore was an old log, floating. We made our way out onto it and then blasted into the cold stuff waiting on the other side. From having my pack on for a number of hours, when I came up out of the water, my upper back and neck went into cramp down. It was freaky, my head was pulled to the left as the muscles contracted. After a minute or so, the muscles released and I have to say, I felt pretty good. If you're one that lives vicariously through the journeys of the Posse, this is one of those things that you have to experience for yourself, it's great. Jumping into a mountain lake takes away all the worries of the day and leaves you with the spirit of a teenager. The water running down our faces, the laughing and giggling when one of the group disappeared underneath the surface, then screaming out as the lake welcomed them to a simple moment of joy. The combination of nice people in a wild setting is something I recommend you do as often as possible.
The second trip was overcast and chilly, Drew was the only one of us brave enough to enjoy the lake in full body contact. Most were happy to dip their feet in and watch Drew.
The Posse is growing and it's good to see new faces on the trail. Lindsay and Christian fit right in. It's cool to see how easily a person can show up and become a part of the Posse. The youngsters that climbed their first mountain, were polite and ready for the challenge. Thanks for getting up early, Kaitlin and Kenly, hopefully this is the first of many expeditions for you. If you ever find that sweet someone that adds frosting to your life, before you let your heart make choices for your brain, invite them to climb a mountain with you. You will come down off that thing with a clear vision of just who you are about to hitch your wagon to. That free advice is applicable to adults as well, you're welcome.
My conclusion of grizzly peak
Grizzly Peak is a great place to visit if you're in the market for a nice hike with great scenery and views of Mt. Jefferson. Pamelia lake would make for a nice camping spot and base camp of sorts for a summit attempt of the beast, I might opt for a camp a little higher myself. The trail conditions are good, it is eroding in spots where the hill is a little steeper, This doesn't pose any sort of danger. Kids will be able to make the climb as well as the less hardcore among your friends and family. The summit is big enough that a group of ten can stretch out and enjoy snacks and maybe a short mountain nap. Don't get too carried away with the snoozing or they may have to rename it Grizzzzzzzzly Peak. If asked about a nice place to visit, I will recommend Grizzly Peak.
Now, fellow travelers, we must turn our attention farther North. A place that my ancestors called, Washington. A very big bundle of trees and dirt and snow and fun and more hair gel awaits. Mount Adams is the next stop in our Trio expeditions. I have a strong feeling in the back of my mind that this one will rate a little higher than three on the difficulty scale.
Here are the video's of our time at Grizzly Peak.