In July of 2014, I was traveling in Oregon’s Cascade Mountain Range with a friend, looking for someplace to camp for a few days where we could enjoy good berry-picking. Looking over our gazetteer, we spotted a place labeled, “Olallie Scenic Area.” What we saw on the map intrigued us; the area was dotted with dozens of lakes, resembling a piece of Minnesota more than anywhere in Oregon that either of us knew. Neither of us had been there, so we decided to go check it out.
The Olallie Scenic Area is located in a bowl-like “saddle” on the ridge of the Cascadess where the Mt. Hood and Willamette National Forests come together. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through it. To the west, the land rolls down in wooded (and clear-cut) foothills to the lush Willamette Valley and on the east tumbles into the arid high desert of the Great Basin. To the south is Mt. Jefferson, known as “Seekseekqua” to some Native Americans. The elevation of the area is about 5000 feet above sea level.
We didn’t know what to expect and were very pleased to find extensive snag forests.