Mount Jefferson Wilderness – Cheat Creek (#12)

August 13, 2011

I came across this hike in my book awhile back ago and has been “dog earred” for quite some time. Been so busy with other activities this summer that it kept being pushed to the end of the list.  Jefferson Park, as described on William Sullivan’s hike site is as follows:

About the Hike: Oregon’s second tallest mountain rises like a wall from the lake-dotted wildflower meadows of Jefferson Park. The view of Mount Jefferson is so impressive and the meadows are so delightful to explore that the area is crowded in summer – so why not wait to go until September?
Difficulty: The hike is a difficult 10.2-mile round trip, gaining 1,800 feet of elevation. 

Now, thinking to myself — ahhhhh hell yes! I can do this one!!! So packed up the dog, dropped Makaila off at work and headed out.  I knew I had to stop by the ranger station to pick up the pass so I did.  The pass cost me $5 for a day pass or $35 (?) for the year.  I only purchased the day pass but should have purchased the yearly pass. Dude was discouraging me from going – “The mountain is still covered in SNOW…about 45% is still covered.” He tried to get me to go to Marion Lake — easy trail / heavy usage – Yeah right! Thinking to myself, I can still do it and if I hit snow, I’ll turn around. he he. 

Directions: From exit 253 of Interstate 5 in Salem, drive 61 miles east on North Santiam Highway 22. Between mileposts 60 and 61 (10 miles beyond Detroit), turn left on Whitewater Road 2243. Follow this gravel route 7.4 miles to its end at a large parking area. Especially if you’re leaving your car here overnight, leave no valuables inside and leave doors unlocked to discourage car clouters, an occasional problem here.

Well, the first trail head I encountered was Cheat Creek.  I couldn’t find it on the map provided by good ol’ Ranger Bob so I still got out of the car to do it.  Filled out the self issued Wilderness Pass and headed on up.

The trail was a steady climb up.  Stopped several times to catch my breath – HEY haven’t exercised for a week and my neck/shoulder was still in pain! Gimme a break.  Plus my knee was starting to ache – DANG, getting old! Beautiful hike up.

Saw the BIGGEST wasp or is it bees nest EVER! Safe distance – just zoomed in as much as my camera phone will allow.

Gotta have one picture of me! LOL
After a steady climb – I would say about 2 miles, it finally started leveling off and you hit one of the meadows. Now there is a trail to the Pacific Crest Trail some where but the meadow was so overgrown that I wasn’t gonna risk it.  Plus, the hike back??? ahhh geez. There were plenty of bugs, bees, and ants that I decided NOT to enter it too far in.  It reminds me of that episode on Twilight when Bella and Edward were in the meadows and he showed his “shiney” body…hahahahaha!

 I turned around and headed back down.  Met 2 hikers and 2 backpackin’ girls.  Thinking to myself, Jodi and I can do this!!!! LOL.  Guess, I’ll be takin’ my nephews!  Didn’t think I got enough pictures of the Cheat Creek trail…so here are a few more

There really is a creek down there.  You are walking right beside it most of the way up/down


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