Hiking Paulina Peak

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Mt Bachelor and the Three Sisters in the distance, Paulina Lake in the mid ground, and the way up on the left.

Near the peak.

Near the peak.

Bit o trail gorgeousness.

Bit o trail gorgeousness.

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Paco hits the peak, not bad for an old dog.

Paco hits the peak, not bad for an old dog.

It's a ways down.

It’s a ways down.

Lovin' me my new Deuter pack n quick as hell Jet Boil!

Lovin’ me my new Deuter pack n quick as hell Jet Boil!

A very dignified Pockington Bubbles holding down the fort.

A very dignified Pockington Bubbles holding down the fort.

Lil wave o lava flow.

Lil wave o lava flow.

Hiking down, Paulina Lake on left, East lake on right and pumice covered obsidian flow between.

Hiking down, Paulina Lake on left, East lake on right and pumice covered obsidian flow between.

Far side of the flow looking back toward Paulina Lake.

Far side of the flow looking back toward Paulina Lake.

So, first off, I’m not really sure how far we hiked except that it’s likely it was 11-12 miles, split into a shorter, steeper first day and a longer, more downhill/skeeter ridden second day. I’ll admit it kicked my hiney a bit, not having done much elevation-wise forever, plus next time, Paco can carry his own food and water!
It was still super fun, though I continually have the issue of elderly folks not reading, or not paying attention to my hat which clearly states, “Don’t hassle me, I’m local.” It’s my favorite travel hat…love to wear it when I go somewhere I’ve never been, hehe. So it makes it really funny as we head up the trail with camping gear on board to have a man of advanced age stop us to ask if we’d been there before and whether we knew that it plateaued out up ahead. Maybe he was trying to be reassuring, cause my instinct was to say, “I should bleepin’ hope so, after this wheeze-inducing death march!” Haha, just playing. We took the time to enjoy a lookout with a Descender (wishful thinking) IPA and a custom jay.
Then a younger lady heading down with the statement, “the incline never seems to end.” Wasn’t sure what to make of that as she was on the decline, but I knew my knees would thank me for taking the longer route down.
We camped a ways off trail, outside the actual Deschutes Nat’l Forest, since they only want you to camp in the designated camp sites next to one of the lakes if you’re within the forest here. Lots of mountain bikers cruised past in the early morning, but Paco had decided we were far enough away, he could remain silent, and most were unaware we were there.
That was an enjoyable part for us, being far enough away from most people and other dogs that he could cruise off leash. He stayed close and handled himself so well!
The swimmers’ itch I got into from my poorly-thought-out swim in Crane Prairie (oh,so warm!) Reservoir a week or so ago was just starting to mellow when we were headed out. I mention this because on this portion where we circle the flow between the lakes and come close to some ponds, there’s less of a breeze and the skeeters are thick and hungry. The giant welts I got despite doing the slap and run dance made my legs and forearms look deformed. Poor Paco got them on his muzzle and I had eight bites just on my right shoulder. We were running low on water by this point and had considered filtering some from one of the ponds, but thirst was a poor motivator compared to “I need to get the f* outa this mosquito hive, right f*ing now!” I was surprised at myself running near the last leg of the hike, when I was surely tired, but tired just didn’t matter.
We made a detour to group camp by the lake to obtain some water, then hiked back out through horse camp. All in all, it was a great way to see the area, and I’ve already stocked up on Skeeter Beater, a local sweetly scented spray that should make the next still water trip more bearable.

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