The hike to Blow and Doris Lakes is one of Zoe’s favorite walks in the Cascade Lakes area. On this warm and smoky morning (smoke courtesy of the Whitewater wildfire near Mt. Jefferson) we headed southwest on the Cascades Lakes Highway, hopeful to find better air. We arrived at the trailhead at 11 a.m. or thereabouts and were happy to discover we were the only ones at the trailhead and that the air was fresh and cool. After letting Zoe track something or other in the parking lot for a few minutes (horses??) we hit the trail and began the easy 1 mile climb to Blow Lake. This part of the trail passes through a forest of scraggly lodgepole pines which did little to block the summer sun. While it was a cool morning we were a bit cooked by the time we reached Blow Lake. Zoe dashed along the shoreline of the lake and then plunged into the water for the first of several long swims. Blow Lake is a good swimming lake for people as well, but since our destination for the day was Doris Lake we pressed on once we were able to coax Zoe out of the water.
The section of trail in between Blow and Doris Lake is a stunning contrast to the first section of trail to Blow Lake. Literally steps after leaving Blow Lake the forest becomes darker and more lush, the lodgepole pines replaced with Douglas-Fir, mountain hemlock, and other moss covered trees. The well-graded trail continues to climb to Doris Lake, sticking close to a dry creek bed for much of the walk. Upon reaching a hillside above Doris Lake we skipped the first path down to the lake which is littered with deadfall and hiked another minute or so to the 2nd obvious path down the lake. The second path leads to a small peninsula of land that juts out into Doris Lake, our destination for the day. This small peninsula is a nice spot for a quick rest, with easy access to the water for those interested in swimming/wading and several large sunny rocks to sit on. The sky was a brilliant blue at Doris Lake, a nice change from the hazy sunshine we left in Bend. After 20 minutes spent wading (Zoe) and exploring (Adrian and Angelique) the shoreline we began the trip back to our car. Enroute to the car we tracked down two geocaches and enjoyed Zoe’s attempts to catch the small lizards that kept scurrying across the path.