Lookout Mountain, a Spectacular Setting in the Old Oregon Cascades


At the Fifteenmile Forest Camp on the northern edge of the 44-square mile Badger Creek Wilderness, I was greeted with nothing but blue skies. I was about to begin my most enjoyable outing in many months – – – alpine wildflowers, butterflies too numerous to count, varying hares, golden-mantled squirrels and spectacular views.

The Trail steeply followed Fret Creek into an upper basin, reaching Oval Lake in two miles. This is very pretty, small lake sitting underneath the cliffs forming the headwall between the Fifteenmile Creek Basin to the north and the Badger Creek Basin to the south.

Soon I met the Divide Trail and began heading west. After a steep ascent to the the top of the Divide, the views quickly began to open up. At 6,000 feet I was clearly in an alpine environment with meadows, wildflowers and short alpine trees (mainly hemlock, but also whitebark pine, alpine fir and a few alpine spruce.)

Another pleasant mile and I was on top of 6,525-foot Lookout Mountain, the highest peak remaining of the old cascade mountains, all much older than Mt. Hood.

The 360-degree views were simply stunning, beginning with the east side of Mt. Hood only nine crow-flying miles to the west. To the north was Mt. Adams, to the east were the large wheat farms of Central Oregon, to the south was Mt. Jefferson, and the entire Badger Creek Wilderness was at my feet.

Breaking out a snack, I was soon joined by several hungry golden-mantled squirels which were clearly used to getting handouts. And, I was mesmerized by the number and variety of beautiful butterflies flying around me.

These are the days I remember when it seems the rain will never stop during the winter months.

P.S. Let me take this opportunity to give my appreciation to Caitlin LaBar of the Xerces Society. Insects are notoriously difficult to identify correctly. Caitlin is always there to answer my questions about butterflies. Thanks Caitlin.

Mt. Hood from the summit of Lookout Mountain

Mt. Hood from the summit of Lookout Mountain

Butterfly

Edith’s Checkerspot Butterfly

Alpine wildflower garden

Alpine wildflower garden (mainly Penstemon and Buckwheat)

Golden Mantle

Golden-mantled Squirrel

Oval Lake

Oval Lake

Swallowtail Butterfly

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly from the back

Swallowtail Butterfly

Pale Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (from the front)

Scarlet Gilia

Scarlet Gilia

Varying Hare (Snowshoe Rabbit)

Varying Hare (Snowshoe Rabbit)

Butterfly

Western White Butterfly

View of Central Oregon farm lands from Lookout Mountain

Hazy view of Central Oregon farm lands from Lookout Mountain

Bead Lily

Bead Lily

Butterfly

Zerene Fritillary Butterfly

Mt. Hood creates its own weather due to its height

Mt. Hood creates its own weather due to its height

Approach trail to summit of Lookout Mountain

Approach trail to summit of Lookout Mountain

Copper Spur and Eliot Glacier on Mt. Hood

Copper Spur and Eliot Glacier on Mt. Hood

Butterfly

Lorquin’s Admiral Butterfly

Butterfly

Pacuvius Duskywing Butterfly

 

 

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , , , , ,

4 comments

  1. The Golden-mantled Squirrel looks like the product of a squirrel that engaged in a little cross-species love with a chipmunk.

    Like

    • They’re a little bigger than a chipmunk and typically live at higher elevations. The coloration is about the same though.

      They are always friendly little critters, especially when I have any food around.

      Like

  2. Wow! What a fantastic place. I’m learning a lot about the flora and fauna also. Thanks, John! Sandy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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