The older satellite images show that there was, at least at one point in time, some type of access road or trail connecting Government Camp and the little neighborhood around Summit Prairie Rd.

100 1973The access road or trail looks to be completely demolished now and does not provide a way to get through. So we did a little poking around to see if we can find some way to get through from Government Camp without having to walk 2 miles on the shoulder of Highway 26.

100 1976

First we tried an unnamed road and ended up on the back side of Ski Bowl East.

100 1994Then we did find what looks to be a brand new trail that does in fact connect to Still Creek Campground just north of Summit Prairie Rd. Did not get any pics of the new trail, and perhaps best not to let everyone know too much about it?

100 1983Here is a pic from the top of the ridge along Kinzel Lake Rd about halfway to the Veda Lake Trail-head.

And here are a couple of pics from Government Camp while waiting for the shuttle home.
100 1998100 1997

20141213 095719This time we set our sights on hiking over the ridge and into the crater to explore around Veda Lake and see if we can access the water source. This is an unusual lake, it’s very round and completely surrounded by ridges, so where does the water go? And how does water get into the crater in the first place?

20141213 122642It seems apparent that this crater was once an extremely small active volcano! Today the same magma chamber that likely created the crater when it was much hotter, thousands or millions of years ago, is providing enough convection to pump water from the water table all the way up through the rock to 4,500 feet where it spills out of a hole in the rock up on the inside wall of the crater, and constantly fills the crater with water.

20141213 122652Why doesn’t the crater fill up with water and overflow? Because the water is also draining through the bottom of the lake, through the rock, where it emerges once again farther down the outside wall of the crater as two springs that feed into Still Creek.

20141213 122936The water from the upper spring may or may not be safe to drink. We need to test it to make sure it is not made toxic by the volcanic activity below.

20141213 124749Here is a surprise view of the very top of Mt Hood through a clearing in the clouds from the top of the ridge.