Day 15: Lionshead Fire

PCT Mile 2021 – 2028

Miles Hiked = 7 miles + 3 mile side-trail

This morning I had the best sunrise (so far) of this year’s hike. I had camped just south of Mt. Jefferson and had a great view to the east.

In August 2020 there was a large fire just north of Mt. Jefferson called the Lionshead Fire. Because of that fire, about twenty-one miles of the PCT are closed starting at mile 2028. The trail reopens at mile 2049. The problem is that mile 2049 is very remote and only accessible via dirt roads. As mentioned in my last post, many hikers are exiting at the highway at Santiam Pass (mile 2001) and skipping forward to Timberline Lodge (mile 2098) or Cascade Locks (mile 2148) at the Oregon-Washington border. That’s a lot of skipped miles! My plan was to hike up to the southern closure at mile 2028 and then get back on the trail as close as possible to the northern reopening at mile 2049.

My good friends Tom and Karen, who recently moved to the Portland area, had agreed to pick me up at the Lake Pamelia trailhead. Luckily, this trailhead is a short three mile side-trail hike from where the closure starts (mile 2028). It’s awesome to have my own personal Trail Angels. Thanks Tom and Karen!!!

Me, Karen & Tom

So this morning I was back on the trail a little after 6am and had over four hours to hike the seven PCT miles plus the three side-trail miles. EZPZ.

As has become an everyday event this year on the Oregon PCT there are trail obstacles. Today was no different. I would guess that I’ve gone over, under or around several hundred downed trees blocking the trail this year!

Downed Tree

I passed a couple pretty lakes.

And then was back into the forest

Then I passed a Search and Rescue Team of about a dozen guys. All they told me is that a Mt. Jefferson climber had been missing since Friday – today was Monday. I came to find out later that someone had seen this climber fall while attempting to climb Mt. Jefferson. When I checked the search and rescue status a week later I learned that they never found the body and had called off the search.

Search & Rescue Team

Flower of the Day:

Red Elderberry

Red Elderberry is a common sight along the trail in Oregon. It is hard to miss these bright red berries along the side of the trail. But don’t eat these berries, they are poisonous to humans and will cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea!

Occasionally I pass these old PCT signs and wonder how old they are and when they were placed along the trail. Thirty years ago? Forty? Fifty? The PCT was named a National Scenic Trail by Congress in 1968 so some of these signs are pretty old.

I reached the Pamelia Lake side-trail at approximately 9am.

An hour later I was at the trailhead. Tom and Karen (and their dog Glen) were there waiting for me. A few hours later I was at their amazingly beautiful home, had showered, had clothes in the laundry, was enjoying a beer (and later some great wine) and later enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Life is good. Thanks for following.

4 thoughts on “Day 15: Lionshead Fire

  1. Hi Todd. Once again your pictures are spectacular. Love the ones of the sunrise. I am not an early bird, so I hardly ever see a sunrise but do love sunsets. Be careful out there, looks like some difficult areas of the trail. Enjoy and thanks again for sharing!


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