3 days, 2 nights, 28.8 miles, max elev 8744'
The basic plan is to be on the road by 9:30am for the 3.5 hour drive towards Oakridge and the Willamette Pass area (about 350 miles RT). Once we get to the Blue Lake Trailhead in the early afternoon…
Day 1: 8.2 mi, +800 ft:
Starting from the Blue Lake TH, we’ll hike in the 2 or so miles to #3699, which we’ll follow south along the western flank of Diamond Peak for 4.8 miles, then turn eastward on #3622 for 1.4 miles and find a campsite for the night at Marie Lake (with Rockpile Lake as a backup option).
Day 2: 11.1 mi, +2400 ft:
We’ll get up at a reasonable hour (on the trail by 9:30 or so) and continue eastward 0.7 miles to the PCT, where we’ll head north for 1.2 miles to the “corner”, where we’ll turn off for the 2.8 mile +1800 ft RT climb of Diamond Peak. Once we’re back to the PCT, its northward for another 5.6 miles towards Yeon Mountain and #3683, where we’ll turn and go the 0.8 miles downhill to Divide Lake.
Day 3: 9.5 Mi, -1000 ft:
Once again up at a reasonable hour, we’ll continue westward on #3683 for 3.2 miles to Notch Lake, where we’ll hop back onto #3699 for 4.5 miles to Blue Lake, then the 2 or so miles back to our cars and home.
Full disclosure here- this is all new territory to me, but I was able to piece the above itinerary together from Sullivan’s Central Cascades book (#s 98 and 99), Lorain’s Backpacking Oregon (#12), and my ever expanding map collection (specifically AdventureMaps Oakridge). As of 7/2/13 snow levels are at 5500 feet, so hopefully things will be melted out by the time we get there. Other than your normal backpacking gear, I’d suggest bringing along a summit pack and traction devices (micro spikes or ice trekkers), and be prepared for mosquitos.
Since this is new territory I’m going to limit this to 6. Drivers will need a NW Forest Pass, and we’ll pick up a self-issued wilderness permit at the TH. Speaking of the drive, I live in Sellwood and have good parking, so let’s meet at my place at 8:45am, where we can also figure out any gear sharing that we’ll need to do.
As far as my style of backpacking goes, I move at about 2 mph and I am neither an ultra-light guy nor a “head down” hiker.