52 miles of hiking • 7500' elevation gain • 1 night
Went with Chris (arundodonax) on our version of a loony hike—a loony backpack around the Three Sisters in a single night.
Saturday, we opted to start on the west side of the mountains due to the good weather, and it was stunningly beautiful. All three mountains stayed visible throughout the day, each collecting lenticular clouds midday. We blazed through the lava flows, over Opie Dildock pass, and made it to the Obsidian limited access area in time for lunch. After a quick break, we continued down the PCT through the easiest part of the trail—a meandering, smooth dirt path through huge meadows.
We arrived at the Wickiup Plains around dusk. If I never see these "plains" again, I'll die happy. They're huge and scenic, but they're not plains! The area is comprised of small rolling hills everywhere, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that surprise hills after 20 miles make me angry.
We hiked through the plains and made it to Moraine Lake just as the black of night arrived in the area. Chris and I wanted to give ourselves a head start in the morning, so we continued two more miles past Moraine Lake to Fall Creek for a total of 27 miles for the day. We set up our tarps, made dinner, and went to bed.
We woke up in a cloud. It was misty and damp everywhere. We broke camp by 7:30 and were back on the move. The Fall Creek area is beautiful—tall grasses and boulders line the rushing creek, punctuated by small waterfalls as we climbed the hill toward Green Lakes. When we arrived at Green Lakes, it was still cold, misting, and the wind picked up. The view of South Sister was obscured by the fog, but it was beautiful and barren. We climbed the final hill to a 7000' alpine area before descending to the east side of the mountains.
And that's basically it. The rain abated for a couple hours, but the majority of the day was a viewless hike through varying intensity of rain. The trail was punctuated with some interesting ponds and meadows of lava sands, but for the most part it was the arid (yet moist) forest familiar to anyone who's been east of the cascades.
We made it back to the car at 5:15 after 25 miles and celebrated with overpriced Mexican food in Sisters.