Having planned to do a hike with my son in law, we had originally planned on doing South Sister. He decided to foregoe the snow hike and wanted to do one that he could include his brother on so we settled on a hike that was close to Portland and was meaningful to me in that it would be a county highpoint. Buck Peak fit the bill and since we had done the Eagle Creek section of it the year before, it would be interesting to do it from the south via Lolo Pass.
I journeyed up to Timberline at Mt. Hood the evening before since we were to meet at Lolo Pass early on the morning of the 19th. I decided I would enjoy watching the sunset on the peak I had just climbed six weeks before and then just sleep in my car so I could get an early start to meet up with Andrew and his brother Jeff. This gave me time for a decent breakfast at a little place in ZigZag and so I had plenty of fuel in me for the upcoming day. At 8 a.m., I met the two brothers at the small parking area off the road at Lolo pass and as we were getting ready to put our packs on and head out, a Subaru with Washington plates pulled up and parked nearby. The occupant then grabbed a day pack out of the back seat and approached me with the query about if "Is this the trail to Buck Peak?" Well, only a county highpointer would have had a specific goal of Buck Peak or even known about Buck Peak so I asked her if she was a county highpointer. Indeed, she was. She turned out to be none other than Roxanne of Trapper and Roxanne fame. She asked who I was and knew immediately that I was the one who often teamed up with Bob Bolton. I marveled at the timing of our meeting as if we had left a few minutes earlier or arrived a few minutes later, the question of "Is this the trail to Buck Peak?" would not probably have happened and we wouldn't have known that each other was into county highpointing.
Roxanne and I chatted most of the way to Buck Peak, 7 1/2 miles up the Pacific Crest trail. I found out that she was a seasonal park ranger and she found out that I had always wanted to be a ranger in my early years of growing up. We had an enjoyable (except for the miserable zillions of mosquitoes and the heat) hike to Buck Peak and we shared many stories along the way.
The summit of Buck Peak is accessed from the PCT by a trail that is signed and in dire need of maintenance but is still easy to follow to the summit. The summit itself is a spectacular viewpoint for Mt. Hood with views north to Mt. Adams from a small camping spot.
There is no water to be found on this trail after you cross a small stream about a quarter mile from Lolo Pass so be sure to carry what you'll need.
Elevation gain from Lolo Pass to Buck Peak is deceptive. It appears to be 1,300+ ft from the map but with all of the ups and downs along the way, it is probably more like 2,300 feet cumulative.
15 miles round-trip. I drank 3 quarts of water.
(stay tuned as I will tweak this trip report with more information when I have a little more time)