We started out early at 8 am from the Two Pan Trailhead on the West Fork Lostine River Trail #1670
. The west fork of the Lostine River runs next to the trail. Quickly the trail splits to the right. To the left is the East Fork Lostine River Trail. As we continued on, we saw the very faint trail for the Catched Two Lake Trail. It is not a marked trail and goes straight up 2000 feet in a couple of miles.
The West Fork Lostine River Trail is very well used with lots of deep ruts and tons of evidence of horses. We continued in with a destination of Blue Lake. We arrived at Minam Lake to find it very noticeably low. We continued on to Blue Lake which turned out to be a good choice. The trail can be a little difficult to find because there is an offset four way intersection of trails with poor signage but we did get in the right trail. Bear right to find the correct trail. You head up and at about 1.5 miles, you get to this little gem of a lake. Campsites are on the east and south side. We found a great site adjacent to the outlet river.
This little lake is in a basin 7,500 feet at the base of a 8,500-9,000 foot ridge. Clarks nutcrackers abound, and there are nice and willing brook trout in the lake.
The ridgeline that is on the west side of the lake separates the Lostine River and Minam River drainage. I believe that Blue Lake drains to the Minam River and Minam Lake drains to both the Lostine and Minam river drainages.
We took a day trip scrambling up the ridge to over look the Minam River drainage and to get a great view of the Eagle Cap and the surrounding mountains. The scramble was not too difficult but you must use great care traversing this ridge.
We woke up early in the morning to elk bugling close by. It continued to bugle. The following morning, we saw the fresh elk tracks and they were about 50 feet from our tents.
We headed back to the junction at Minam Lake then headed up towards the pass to Mirror Lake. The hike went straight up and over and down to the junction of Mirror Lake. This part of the wilderness is in the Lakes Basin Management Area. Even in the middle of September there were plenty of people in this area.
We headed down the East Fork Lostine River Trail #1662
through a beautiful multiple mile valley with the Eagle Cap in the background. The last half of the hike is on some downhill switchbacks until you reach the Two Pan Trailhead.
Grouse, elk, deer, brook trout, bull trout, Clarks nutcrackers.