Up, Up, and Almost Away!

Last week Tim and I went on a backpacking adventure. Our original plan was flattened when the trail we chose turned out to be a mess of overgrown, tangled, scratchy brush that towered over my head in most places. It was disappointing to say the least considering the area we were in was gorgeous and crowd-free. Oh well.

Lost in the brush – can you see me?!

We turned around and immediately scanned our hiking book for another option. Luckily we weren’t too far away from Bend, OR, one of our favorite outdoor recreation destinations! Yay! So, we settled on camping that night on the banks of Devil’s Lake and then climbing to the summit of South Sister (Oregon’s 2nd highest mountain) the following morning. Good choice!

Full moon keeping us company by our campsite

Despite the never-ending steepness of the trail, reaching the top was a mighty wicked reward. We hiked the same trail six years ago and it was fun to revisit the area. The best part about the South Sister climb is that you don’t need any special mountaineering equipment (depending on the season, of course). You just need determination, lots of water, sustaining snacks, and a good set of lungs! The trail is 12 miles round trip and takes a whole day, but it doesn’t matter because the beautiful scenery makes you forget the struggle. Take a peek!

Early part of the trail – flat for maybe a mile…

Climbing higher…

A gorgeous glacial lake about a mile or so from the summit – Tim and I actually dipped into this lake on our way back down – it was FREEZING (literally). The day was hot and sunny and all the climbing made the quick dip a worthwhile decision!

Getting closer (see the trail cutting into the red rock near the top of the photo?)…

Tim climbing…

Tim walking across the crater of South Sister – we’re almost to the summit!!!!

We made it! Top of South Sister: 10,360 feet. You can see Middle Sister and North Sister behind us. If you look closely, Mt. Jefferson is a tiny speck above the point of North Sister. The smoke on the left of the photo is from a forest fire nearby. It was WINDY!

An unobstructed view of Middle and North Sisters

That’s the trip! The way back down was much faster, but harder on the knees. Thank goodness for trekking poles!

What are some of your favorite hiking places?

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20 thoughts on “Up, Up, and Almost Away!

  1. The scenery is so beautiful!! :) I really wish I had such hiking areas near where I live (Denmark being flat like a pancake, the closest mountains are in Norway, a few hours drive or a short flight away).

  2. So beautiful! And so perfect that you were able to come up with such an awesome backup plan. The glacier lake looks crazy cold–can’t believe you got in it, but it must have felt breathtakingly good!

    • Thanks Jes! The lake was crazy cold and wonderfully refreshing too! I actually was very unsure at first, stepping delicately over rocks before I lost my balance and fell in, fully submerged! Hahaa! That’s the way to do it I guess!

  3. Wow, the sky is so incredibly blue! It’s beautiful! We have a huge hiking and climbing area around which looks so different, sand stone and many trees. your hike looks like wandering around in the alps.

    • It was beautiful! This particular hike started out in the forest and then made it’s way to the ridgeline and then to the slopes of the mountain. There was a balanced mix of trees and views. I am sure Germany has some amazing hikes!! My sister lives in Frankfurt, but I haven’t been to visit yet.

  4. These photo’s are so pretty! I love the moon pic.
    I grew up going to Bend,Oregon to visit family every year, either in the summer or winter. I still have some family there.I keep telling my husband that we have to go up there because it’s so beautiful.

    I can’t wait to see all of the places you go hiking to.

  5. What a beautiful area! Your pictures are wonderful. When I come out west, I’m definitely going to have to visit. I’m going backpacking on the Appalachian Trail this fall and can only hope for it to be as beautiful.

    • Ooooh, have fun on the Appalachian Trail!!! I grew up in PA and always figured I’d take the time to hike all or part of that trail, but have yet to do so. Take lots of pictures!!!

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