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Long Lake 2012



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Mid-September 2012 a scouting trip was made to Long Lake in the Wallowa (Eagle Cap) Wilderness area in Oregon, not having visited that lake before.  The trail to this lake branches off the 1675 trail that loops from the Copper Creek trail by Swamp and Steamboat lakes and Minam Meadows.  Though a large and attractive lake, it is not on a through route, the trail not maintained (and showed it) and consequently no longer suitable for travel by horseback so sees relatively few visitors.  The trail to the lake is steep in places and near the lake has lots of deadfall.  The lake has some small islands close to shore accessible via a short swim.

The GPS tracked our route during the three days.  Inbound was 12.3 miles with 4,225 feet climbing elevation and 2,700 feet descending elevation.  We hiked out the same route.  Rowdy did the packing duty this time -- his first time all by himself for some one-on-one time.  Though a rather small llama at 305 lbs. he carried 75 lbs. of gear and supplies. (For reference, per PLTA standards that is Master/Extreme Pack Level weight (25%) with 12 miles and 2,500-3,000 feet cumulative elevation gain required for Extreme.)

There was nobody else at the lake during my stay and although late in the year there was no evidence of recent footprints.  The degraded camp area first reached at the south end of the lake still has the scars from horse damage in years past but that is slowly fading.  A much nicer but smaller camp area is found midway along the lake near the islands.  Rowdy stayed close to camp, roaming around exploring, sampling the local cuisine and investigating all the new sights, sounds and smells.  On this trip I discovered he really likes spending time wading in the water, and has a fondness for carrots and fruit/nut bars.

The picture above shows Rowdy overlooking about a third of the lake, the southern portion, looking southwest. Click below for full panoramas of the lake, south and north.

The weather was great during the day, sunny and warm, with cool, dark moonless nights. The exception was the last night about 2:30AM when a thunderstorm passed overhead, beginning with dramatic lightning and thunder, which reverberated between the mountains, soon followed by a downpour which turned to sleet and winds in a sudden downdraft dropping the temperature abruptly, and hail. The ground was covered in a thin layer of slush.  Rowdy, who roamed free at camp, ran from the meadow he bedded down in and took cover under the trees.  After the storm elk bugled nearby, which was another new experience for Rowdy.

The scenery along the hiking trail is rugged in places and spectacular throughout.

Copper Creek Meadow, a beautiful waypoint about halfway with a very nice campsite and ample grazing.  The remains of a cabin are found nearby, collapsed due to a fallen tree.

Swamp Lake, having hiked down from the ridge in the background. There is another real nice campsite located here.

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Last modified: 15 May 2012