Waldo Lake and the forests and trails all around it is one of my “happy places.” Every summer, I love to paddle and swim in the clear, deep blue water and pick huckleberries for camp breakfast. I’ve hiked through the young forest on the north side of the lake, recovering slowly from the Charlton Fire that severely burned the high-elevation area. And I included the Black Creek trail, leading from the west side of the Waldo Lake Wilderness through diverse forests to the edge of the lake, in my ancient forest hiking guide.
ExplOregon: Hiking and Adventure
From the slopes of Mount Hood to the headwaters of the Willamette, old-growth forest trails in the Oregon Cascades offer some of the best hiking you can imagine. On this webcast, join John Cissel, an old-growth lover and forest researcher who hiked thousands of miles of these trails in the 1990s and published guide-maps and a book describing his favorite hikes in the Mount Hood and Willamette National Forests. Now, he's published a “3rd edition” of his guide online, with updates and reflections from 25 years of change in the forest and on the trails.
Visitors to old-growth forests may know that these forests are ecologically important, but for most people, myself included, it is the more emotive aspects of an old forest that inspire and motivate us. A brief summary of a few hikes in the Willamette National Forest illustrating some of this diversity is provided below.
The Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests in the northern Oregon Coast Range are an unappreciated wonder. Surrounded by clearcut logging plantations, the Tillamook and Clatsop provide a possible refuge for the wild plants, fish, and animals that were once abundant throughout the Oregon Coast Range but whose presence has been diminished by corporate tree farms. It is also an incredible place for hiking and exploring, offering opportunities for solitude where so many other places in Oregon feel like they're bursting at the seams.
It may not feel like it given the snowfall we experienced this Spring, but the calendar has turned to May and the promise of longer, sunnier days in Oregon lay ahead. For many of us, that means it’s time for the annual tradition of dusting off the camping equipment, rigging up the fly line, or breaking in a new pair of hiking boots.
Oregon Wild's webcast on how and where to snowshoe in Central Oregon. Wilderness Program Manager Erik Fernandez presents suggestions regarding everything from safety to gear to picking the most scenic trails. This webcast also covers some "Snowshoeing 101" for those new to the activity as well as some tips on locations that would be applicable to all ability levels.
Not long after moving to Eugene for graduate school, I took a field trip to the Warner Creek fire area outside of Oakridge. At that time it was 10 years since the 1991 fire. I remember the tall black snags rising tall above, and sapling trees crowded all around me -- head high and coated in dew that soaked through my sub-par rain gear.
*This article originally appeared in the Eugene Weekly on April 21, 2022*