FKT: Steven "Aria Zoner" Thompson - Mt. McLoughlin Circumnavigation (OR) - 2020-09-02

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7h 43m 57s

To stage for this solo run, I camped at the Summit Sno-Park Trailhead for the PCT, located just off Hwy 140, and started at 9am sharp. I went clockwise. *After crossing Hwy 140, avoid a first signed trial and continue 100 yards to the more defined Fish Lake Trail, then turn right. When first entering Fish Lake CG, I saw a drinking fountain but didn't go see if it was working. Fish Lake was low, barred by mud, and would not be a tasty (high quality) refill. Glad I already knew that and wasn't counting on it. That said: ALL CREEKS ALONG THIS LOOP ARE DRY!!! I did not encounter any running water. Thankfully, the Fish Lake-Willow Creek Road was lined with morning shade and downhill. While on this 9 mile stretch, I only saw about 2 dozen cars. By the time I reached Twin Ponds though, my 0.75 liter bottle was empty and I had slight heat exhaustion and dehydration. I was just able to tank up and refill here (Sawyer Squeeze). Because the entire Twin Ponds Trail was so overgrown with brush and blowdowns, by the time I reached Summit Lake, all I wanted to do was go swimming. Unfortunately, this lake is only about 12" deep and silt bottomed. 3 times I had lost Twin Ponds Trail but was able to relocate it with GPS and someone's pink flagging. A few minutes into the final PCT segment, I saw my only other pedestrian, a female thru-hiker. After getting distracted once again by wild huckleberries, I picked up the pace and completed the loop in just under 4mph average. A great adventure!  


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Thanks for the report.  I made up this loop when researching mountain circumnavigations, even though I've never been on these trails.  I'll give it a shot going CCW on Sunday September 20 if the smoke and fires are OK.  I have Liz to support me, so we can both keep our FKTs.