Day 8 Monday 9/23/19 Miller Lake Chemult branch, Winema NF; Mt Thielson Wilderness area.
Woke to a clear, sunny, calm day.
Oats with diced apple and yogurt for breakfast, plus instant coffee with real cream and a little cocoa.
I put the canoe in early, before the wind came up. A FS ranger was at the dock picking up the last load of garbage and padlocking the trash cans for winter. He told me the water was shut off the week before.
The lake was calm. I hoped for a picture of Mt Thielson but couldn’t see it until paddling to the other side of the lake. Picture above has view of the mountain from the lake, centered on the distant horizon. Below is the view from the FS road up to the lake, using a telephoto lens. It's a different angle.
Surrounded by Mt Thielson Wilderness.
The map of Miller Lake shows how it is tucked right into the wilderness.
Hiking to PCT and Maidu Lake
There is a 5 mile trail that goes around the lake.
After some lunch, I started around the lake and found the junction with the trail that goes up to Maidu Lake. It's only 2 miles to the PCT, and then another mile to Maidu Lake after crossing the PCT. There's a junction with another trail at the lake.
I had my fly rod, but wasn’t able to do much with it. The lake is shallow and marshy around the edges. I tested the boggy grass trying to get out far enough to cast, but sunk in like it was quicksand.
Pair of otters
On the way back, I saw a pair of otters swimming close to shore in Miller Lake. When they saw me, they acted startled and dove under, but came up again a few yards farther out, looking at me curiously. When I moved to pull out my phone for a video, they were startled again and this time they dove down and didn’t come up again. I waited and waited. After about 5 minutes, I could barely see them pop up way down the lake about 300 yards. Wish I could hold my breath that long.
Beaver, heron, ducks
A little farther around the west end of the lake, I saw a beaver, but only for a second before he too made himself scarce. Then there was a heron, and a flock of ducks. Below is a watercolor of an otter family.
I’ve never seen so many mushrooms as on this hike. They were freshly pushing up all over, often in large groups.
I cooked small amounts of the bolete I had picked earlier, and added some of the yellow coral which I found outside the wilderness boundary. This was a nice addition to my freeze-dried chicken teriyaki. I also was happy to find several white pine seedlings for my reforestation project.
Coming: Last day of 9 day trip. Somewhat disastrous canoe fishing on Odell Lake; hiking near Davis Creek C.G.