While this hike is only a day hike. I felt like the drive up to the trailhead and the scenery on the hike provided enough of a reason for it to get posted. If you disagree you can let me know in the comments below. =)
Melissa and I decided to hike up to the lake that resides on the east side of Broken Top. This lake is a moraine lake that to my knowledge does not have a name. It is located between the east flank of Broken Top and Broken Hand. We got off to a late start due to errands we had to run in town but made our way up in the afternoon. The trailhead for this hike is the Broken Top Trailhead. Just west of Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes Highway you turn in where the Todd Lake Trailhead is but continue up the road 5 more miles on unmaintained road. While many vehicles actually make this trip, I would not advise it for the faint of heart or smaller vehicles. The road is really rough and has some large ruts. It took us about a half hour to cover this 5 mile section, occasionally having to wait for oncoming traffic.
Once at the Broken Top Trailhead you are already fairly high up the mountain. The trailhead is pretty close to tree line and the views of Broken Top are outstanding. The route initially starts out on the main trail but about a quarter mile in the trail forks, the left trail is the main trail and the right heads up to no-name Lake. This fork is located at a signpost for entering the Mt. Washington Wilderness. Fairly quickly after turning there is a stream crossing which is not too difficult. Melissa was using trekking poles for the first time on this hike and really appreciated them at this moment. From here the trail is pretty straight forward and climbs up while keeping the stream within sight to the right. Along the way it climbs at different degrees of steepness but the trail is rather wide and smooth. Since it was later in the afternoon there were already a couple of groups camped in different spots just off the trail. All in all I think we saw 10 tents on the hike.
As the trail climbs up you slowly will start to traverse to the east side of the mountain. On this occasion Melissa and I had to cross a couple of lingering snowfields as we worked our way up. As you approach the lake the trail climbs up the rocky moraine next to the stream which is the most technical part of the trail. The going is not too difficult if you are patient and make sure your foot placements are stable. The most magnificent part of the hike has to be when you first come up to the lake. You initially are eyelevel with the water with the east peak of Broken Top in the background and the view is incredible. The lake is obviously cold as there are still icebergs floating along even in September. While initially this was going to be our stopping point we decided to push on along the east side of the lake and climb the ridge behind it. There is a trail the whole way up and it did not look difficult.
After traversing the side of the lake the trail makes its way up the little ridge where at the top you are greeted not only with a couple hundred foot drop off but a view of the Three Sisters and wilderness to the north. It is quite a view, so Melissa and I took a quick break for pictures and water before turning back for the car. The hike down was fairly easy, we had to pick up the pace a bit to make sure we got to the car before too late. As it was I ended up having to drive a good section of the road n the dark. Even then there was still traffic on it, crazy. The hike was 5.2 miles total and took us just over two hours. While the road is crazy, the hike is not too difficult and the views are worth it. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
- Mountainsmith Tour Lumbar Pack w/strapettes – This pack surprised me. I was worried that it would sag so I got the accessory stappettes but really did not need them. The pack has good adjusters to help it pull tight to your back.
- Komperdell Contour Titanal Power Lock Trekking Poles – much lighter than what I have used previously. Also I love the Power Lock system. No more twisting tight.
- Keen A86 Tr Shoes – I really like wearing these as a light hiker. The only drawback is the low ankle allows little rocks and sand to get in the shoes. They are really comfortable though.
- Ryders Eyewear Hex Sunglasses– Melissa used these and has become a fan of them. Gone are the days for her opting not to wear sunglasses.