Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Stock Photos from Oregon’s Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area: Forever Young

Henry David Thoreau once said, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” If Thoreau was correct, then I think Oregon’s Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area could be considered a virtual fountain of youth, because in my experience, it is almost impossible to visit this area without being overwhelmed with enthusiasm. In fact, anyone who peruses our photo galleries on Pacific Crest Stock probably can’t help but notice that Mike Putnam and I have a great deal of enthusiasm for the meadows and valleys surrounding Mount Jefferson. It really doesn’t matter if you are hiking into Jefferson Park, Coffin Mountain, or the Cathedral Rocks Canyon, there is almost no way to go wrong . . . as long as your camera works when you get there.

Pacific Crest Stock photo of Oregon's Mount Jefferson and purple lupine overlooking the Cathedral Rocks Canyon

Pacific Crest Stock photo of Oregon's Mount Jefferson and purple lupine overlooking the Cathedral Rocks Canyon

Pacific Crest Stock photo of Oregon's Mount Jefferson and the big bear grass bloom near Coffin Mountain

Pacific Crest Stock photo of Oregon's Mount Jefferson and the big bear grass bloom near Coffin Mountain

A few years ago, I was hurrying around in preparation for a day hike into Jefferson Park. It was mid-August and I knew that the meadows around Russell Lake would be overflowing with flowers. As I ran frantically from room to room in the house gathering up all of my equipment, I set my camera backpack on the kitchen counter. On one of my passes back through the kitchen, I quickly filled a Nalgene bottle, and slid it into the mesh pocket on the side of my backpack. The weight of the water bottle immediately caused my backpack to shift and tumble from the counter top down to the hard slate floor. I lunged to catch the pack, but by the time I had a grasp on its top strap, the bottom of the bag had already crashed into the ground. I said a few choice words and then gave my camera a quick inspection. Everything looked fine. Whew!

I loaded my gear into the Jeep and started making my way to the Whitewater trailhead just up the road from Detroit Lake. I ended up starting the 10-mile round trip hike later than anticipated and after a steep climb to the top of the first ridge, I realized that I needed to run if I wanted to make it to the meadows and still have time to get out of the woods before dark. NOTE: Now is probably a good time to mention that I really despise running. Many of my friends are exceptional runners; they actually claim to love it. But me, I’m just not a runner. Give me a bike or some skate skis, but please never ask me to run.

I reluctantly jogged a few hundred yards up the trail and then I temporarily slowed to a brisk hike as I contemplated whether or not I really had enough time to cover all of the ground in front of me even if I was able to run the whole way. But then, images of Jefferson Park in full bloom consumed my thoughts and convinced me that I could definitely make it . . . as long as I would be willing to run. And with that, I picked up my trekking poles and started the very miserable task of trail running up 1800 vertical feet of backcountry trails with a heavy backpack and worn out boots. Up over the ridges; around the corners; and through the creek crossings. I ran the whole way into Jefferson Park.

 Pacific Crest Stock photo of purple lupine wildflowers blooming in Jefferson Park with Mount Jefferson looming in the background.

Pacific Crest Stock photo of purple lupine wildflowers blooming in Jefferson Park with Mount Jefferson looming in the background.

As soon as I got to the meadows in Jefferson Park, I could see that my timing was perfect. The purple lupine and Indian paintbrush were in their most glorious states. I rushed through the maze of flower-filled trails that lead to Russell Lake and found the perfect spot along one its tributaries. Mount Jefferson was being gently lit by the westerly sun, and with that majestic mountain looming directly overhead, I carefully set up my tripod, composed the shot, and pressed the shutter button. But nothing happened. I checked the power button; the camera was on. I took the camera off of the tripod and checked the battery compartment; the battery was where it belonged. I took the battery in and out and turned the power switch on and off multiple times, but nothing could bring my camera back to life. Then, as I was spinning the camera around, I noticed that one of the bottom corners was badly dented and I remembered how my camera had fallen off the kitchen counter earlier in the day. Realizing that the camera had been ruined and that I jogged all of the way into Jefferson Park for nothing, I took my cell phone out of my pocket, pointed it at the mountain, hung my head in disgrace and clicked a single low-resolution digital phone picture.

Then, I started walking—not running—back to my Jeep.

The author, Troy McMullin, feeling rather youthful while hiking in Oregon's Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area.

The author, Troy McMullin, feeling rather youthful while hiking in Oregon's Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area.

NOTE: If you want to see additional images from the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area, you can browse our pictures in the Mountain gallery on Pacific Crest Stock or search the site for “Mount Jefferson.”

5 Responses Subscribe to comments


  1. Greg

    Yeah. I’m not much of a runner either. But I am smart enough that I would have taken a pic earlier in my journey to avoid such situations. ;-)

    Great pics, BTW!!!

    Jul 15, 2009 @ 7:03 am


  2. Troy McMullin

    Thanks Greg. And trust me, I know you would have taken a picture earlier in the hike. In fact, I suspect every few feet of the trail would have been well-documented. I’ve seen the 5,000 pictures you took on your trip out here last year. If you come back this year, I’ll take you and Dana into Jefferson Park. You’ll need a new memory card after that hike.

    Jul 20, 2009 @ 7:52 am


  3. Joshua Bury

    What a disapointment… I can (sort of) run on flat ground but with a heavy pack up the whitewater trail… only if I needed to get up there for some great light for photos :) That shot that you included of the North side of Jefferson with the low clouds is absolutely gorgeous. You must have a really nice cellphone :)

    Sep 07, 2009 @ 1:45 pm


  4. Troy McMullin

    That’s pretty funny, Joshua. Actually, that photo with the lupine in the foreground was taken on my next trip to Jefferson Park (and with my new camera). I tried to use the low-res picture from that day as my cellphone wallpaper for a while, but it brought up painful memories every time I looked at it, so I eventually had to delete it :-)

    Sep 08, 2009 @ 5:56 pm


  5. janitorial service

    Love the photos!

    Dec 04, 2009 @ 4:24 am

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