The Summit Shelter is nestled in the forest southeast of Mount McLoughlin, the most striking peak in Southern Oregon. In winter, the shelter can be accessed via a network of old roads converted to nordic trails. The last time we visited the shelter was during the BIG snow winter of 2017. Snowfall thus far this year hasn’t been nearly that epic, but the Billie Creek Divide snow telemetry site (the closest one to the shelter) currently shows 30 inches on the ground. Plenty for snowshoeing if we stayed on the trails. So when the weather gurus promised us a full-on bluebird day, we had little choice but to unlimber the shoes and head for the forest.
We parked at the Summit Sno-Park (thus starting the amortization process for our annual permit) and started up the Lower Canal Trail. The snow had a crunchy surface but had settled enough underneath to nicely float our shoes. The first quarter-mile or so of the trail was well trampled but by the time we passed the McLoughlin Trail, only a nordic ski track remained. We turned east on the Big Mac Trail but left that to continue on old Forest Road 3650-160. That was pretty much a straight shot to the other end of the McLoughlin Trail and the shelter. The shelter has a wood stove and wood but we have yet to reach it when the stove is lit, much less warm.
So, after a cold snack in the warm sun, we headed back via the Petunia and McLoughlin Trails, stopping only to check-out the Forest Service’s seed plantation. We even caught a glimpse of Mount McLoughlin! We saw no one else on the trails during our 5.5 mile loop under amazingly perfect blue skies! 😎 😀HOME