Oregon Lakes Trip Report June 26, 2021
This trip was part of the Marmot Madness proposal described at http://hs.umt.edu/umzm/marmots.php.
Here is the trip proposal that I posted on the Rocky Mountaineers calendar:
We will look for marmots in the vicinity of the Oregon Lakes. We will hike about a mile of the state line trail, and then climb down a steep slope to upper Oregon lake while looking for hoary marmots. We should be able to visit all 3 of the Oregon Lakes which are reported as fair fishing for brook trout.
Class 1/2. Estimated distance: 6-7 miles, elevation 1500′.
binoculars if you have them
fishing equipment if you want to fish
lunch and water
Leader: Alden Wright email@example.com
No one signed up for this trip, so I went by myself.
I drove up to the Missoula Lake campground on Friday night. On the way, I saw a marmot running across the road which I am almost sure was a hoary marmot. I only saw it running away from me for a few seconds, but it seemed to be gray in the front and brown or darker in the rear.
The place I camped was bare, but there was snow a few feet away.
On Saturday morning I drove up to the Cascade Pass. The road was partly covered with snow, and it looked like it had not been drivable for more than a couple of days. I started hiking out the state line trail at about 7 am. After about a mile, I stopped to see where I was by using the GPS app on my phone, and my phone was not in my pocket. I had it when I stopped a little ways from the car, so I thought it must be where I sat down, so I went back to the car looking for it. At the car I changed from my boots to my running shoes and shed some layers, and hiking back out the trail was much easier, but I did not find my phone and I am assuming it is lost. I got to where I could look down to Upper Oregon Lake, and I spent quite a bit of time looking with and without binoculars on the steep slopes for marmots, but did not see or hear any. I did not think that the slopes were all that good as marmot habitat. I considered hiking down the steep slope, but was not at all confident this would enable me to see marmots that I hadn’t seen, so I decided against it.
The marmot that I had seen the evening before was on the road to the Oregon Lakes trailhead, so I drove to this trailhead, and hiked up the trail. The lower lake was only half a mile of very steep trail. There were a couple locations that I thought looked like good marmot habitat, and I looked closely at these for marmots. No luck. I continued on to the middle lake. Here the trail deteriorated and no longer seemed to be a Forest Service trail. About 2/3 of the way around the lake, I came to a spot that required an easy rock climb to proceed. Being very tired and by myself, I decided to turn around without seeing any more good marmot habitat.
When I got back to the car, I went back to where I had seen the marmot the evening before, and found some of the area had large rocks making it more plausible as a location for hoary marmots. I did a little climbing through the very thick brush, and on the way out, I found what looked like marmot droppings, and I collected one and took a picture.
Location 47.07072 -115.0929 elevation 5464’ 18:42:15 26-JUN-21
I had a great hike in beautiful country.