Day 3: Brown Mountain & Mt. McLaughlin

PCT Mile 1763 – 1785

Miles Hiked = 22 miles

Once again I was up early, packed and on the trail by 6:15am. As typical along the PCT it was a beautiful morning with blue skies above. The first couple of miles were in the forest and then the trail cut through a large field of lava rocks.

The trail continued through the lava rock field for the next six miles. It was a well groomed smooth dirt trail and was a welcome change from the forest of the past two days.

I wondered what mountain this was that had erupted so manny years ago and created such a large lava field. I looked on my paper map and discovered it was Brown Mountain. Duh! I had camped at South Brown Mountain Shelter last night.

Soon I begin to glimpse another mountain to the north – the direction I was headed. It was Mt. McLaughlin, a very prominent volcano in southern Oregon. While the trail had passed on the west side of Brown Mountain it would pass on the east side of McLaughlin.

Mt. McLaughlin

After hiking through the Brown Mountain lava fields I reached a paved road, highway 140, that leads to Fish Lake to the west and Lake of the Woods to the east. Some of the hikers I had talked to, including Rex whom I chatted with last night at the South Brown Shelter, were headed into Fish Lake to resupply and have lunch. I continued on past the highway and shortly came to the first stream since I started hiking three days ago (55 miles). I stopped and collected water and had lunch.

Water!!!

Soon I was back on the trail and slowly started to traverse around the east side of Mt. McLaughlin. The trail was uphill for the next five miles and gained about thirteen hundred feet. As I hiked through the forest, a yellow bird swooped down and dive-bombed me before swerving away two feet in front of my knees. Then it squawked at me from a nearby branch. I must have been close to it’s nest.

Today felt warmer. I checked my thermometer.

There are a lot of downed trees along the trail. Last year, because of Covid, there wasn’t much trail maintenance. I have a feeling I’m going to be dealing with a lot of trail obstacles this year.

Obstacle Course

I passed a pretty meadows and a view of a large lake.

I had a closer view of Mt. McLaughlin.

Late in the afternoon I reached Christi’s Spring where I would camp that night.

Later that evening Rex showed up. I had chatted with him last night at South Brown Shelter. He went two miles off the PCT today to Fish Lake Resort to resupply, shower and do his laundry. He was going to spend the night there also but decided to get back on the trail and hike on to Christi’s Spring. I think I had mentioned that I was planning on camping at the spring tonight. We decided to hike together the next day.

Day 3 Recap

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12 thoughts on “Day 3: Brown Mountain & Mt. McLaughlin

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