I drove to the Indian Heaven Wilderness, located southwest of Mt. Adams, early on a mid-July day. The Wilderness is situated on a high plateau, averaging about 5,000 feet in elevation, with many open meadows and over 150 lakes.
After parking at the East Crater Trailhead on the south side of the Wilderness, I began hiking northwest. Soon I began passing small ponds covered in floating grasses.
Huckleberry bushes were everywhere but not a berry in sight. In another month or so the huckleberries will be at their prime in the higher elevations.
There were signs along the Trail of a 2017 small wildfire that burned up the southern slopes of East Crater Mountain.
At 2 1/2 miles Junction Lake was reached, the first of many larger lakes along the Trail. I then took a very pleasant four-mile loop through large meadows and by multiple lakes. Lemei, Clear, Deer, Elk and many smaller lakes were passed.
Even though I had covered my exposed skin with Ben’s insect repellent wipes, the mosquitoes had just about worn me down. Clearly, other hikers/backpackers/campers had faced the same situation. As a consequence, I did not see one backpacker’s tent, nor were there many cars parked at the Trailhead.
Indian Heaven (mosquitoes or no mosquitoes) remains one of the prettiest wilderness areas near Portland.