Three sisters wilderness was something I have not experienced yet, though I am from Oregon. I was taken back by the beauty and eager to see more as my friend and I hiked right through Three Sisters Wilderness. Another heat wave was passing through and it took its toll on us. But with some lower mile days it was nice to take long lunches in the shade and even swim in the mild temperate lakes of central Oregon.
We passed by numerous clear blue lakes and ponds and then received some up close views of the Mt. Bachelor and Three Sisters volcanos. Snow still clung to the peaks and glaciers were still impressively large despite the low winter snowpack and really hot summer. The trail meandered through the lodgepole and hemlock forests and in and out of pristine grassy meadows. One evening, smoke from a southern Oregon fire began to cover the sky and filter the sunlight into a vibrant orange and red glow.
A special place on the trail glittered and shined with countless fragments of black volcanic glass. A spring fed creek poured over a solid obsidian ledge creating a very unique waterfall. Huge amounts of obsidian covered the trail and its surroundings.
Camping high up on a lava flow spine, we had a view of the chain of volcanos that highlight the Cascades. With Middle Sister adjacent to us, South Sister stood close by, then in front of us beyond the passes stood Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson and then my home mountain, Mt. Hood. Even Mt. Adams in Washington joined the scape and what a sight to see.
This was the first good view of Mt. Hood that I have had on the trail as excitement rushed through my bones. I was truly home, for the first time in 4 months. We crossed the rugged lava flows that covered access to and from McKenzie pass. The flows spilled from the mountains and into the horizon.
After resupply and spending some time with my friend in Bend, I was back on the trail and continuing north towards home. With the air cooling off, some local elk joined me for camp around Mt. Washington. Only about 100 miles from Timberline, I scurried my way passed Three Finger Jack and Mt. Jefferson.The trail around Mt. Jefferson took me back the adventure mindset I had been forgetting as I had home in sight. The high ridge views and beautiful lakes and stream filled meadows gave a feeling of the high Sierras. But coming over the ridge from Jefferson Park to the Mt. Hood National Forest Boundary, I could see Mt. Hood, clear and bold. I was ecstatic, hooting and hollering on the trail and practically running to get there.
I camped at Timothy Lake, which put me a day away from Timberline. Eagles perched themselves in the trees over my camp as I took in the moment on the lake and still couldn’t believe I was so close to home. I had my family come up to Timberline along with another friend of mine to enjoy the infamous breakfast buffet that all the hikers rave about. Finally reaching Timberline Lodge, I was back on familiar trail. I had hiked the Timberline trail a few times to prepare for the Pacific Crest Trail and it felt like I was walking back into my living room.
It was exciting to see my family and friends as we enjoyed the wonderful food at the lodge. I caught up with my friend and before I knew it I was back on the trail to boogey on down to Cascade Locks. Oregon was nearly complete and it felt like I had just arrived. I hiked the last 40 miles of the trail in one day, eager to see the Bridge of the Gods and get a well earned beer or two. It was well worth the miles and I am glad I gave it a go. I am not addicted to the high mileage days like some but such familiar trail I knew that I could make it.
I crossed the bridge after a morning breakfast with some fellow thru-hikers and that was it for Oregon. Officially in Washington it was time to head home and prepare for the final stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. Unfortunately news of wildfires ahead have put a bit of a road block on the trail. A large fire in the Glacier Peak National Forest has closed the PCT and surrounding trails requiring a long 100 mile detour with a painfully long road walk. I will continue to prepare for Washington and hope for the best up ahead. All I can do now is hike.