July 28, 2012.
11.2 mi | 2000′ ele. gain | 5.5 hr.
Any hike with a lake involved is sure to attract the hordes. So, I got an early start on this hike, hitting the trailhead at 7:40 am. When I arrived, the lot was surprisingly full—likely from backpackers who’d hiked in the day before.
I wasn’t here for the lake, though. I’d come to hike up Marion Mountain, with a viewpoint of the Jefferson wilderness. The trail started deep in the forest. The trail was soft duff, with occasional talus field crossings. Early summer flowers were fading. Bunchberry petals were shriveled and brown. But much to my delight, the Oregon lilies were blooming. Lilies look like they belong in a flower shop, not in the forest. It’s always a wonderful surprise to see them popping out of the understory.
The lake was still when I arrived. Not much chatter from the overnighters, either. I zipped by as quickly as I could on the way to the Marion Mountain Trail.
Above Marion Lake, green huckleberries lined the trail. Signs of fall! Eek. The trail continued through a burn area, full of fireweed, huckleberry and other fast colonizers. Mt. Jefferson stood framed by blackened tree trunks. I passed a small alpine pond dotted with lilypads. I did NOT expect to see that up here! Further up the trail, there were views of Three Fingered Jack and smaller bumps and ridges throughout the wilderness. What a beautiful place. At the summit there were great views of the lake and some remnants of buildings from the past. Maybe an old fire lookout?
I enjoyed a nice rest up there. Me, the lilies, and the views. It must have been bout an hour before I decided to head back down. What a great day of hiking. Solitude, flowers, views, sunshine, epic.