Tag Archives: The Husband

Belknap Crater

We had originally planned on backpacking around Mt. Hood on the Timberline Trail on our recent vacation but the weather had a different idea. The forecast called for rain and snow showers for most of the week so we started searching for a Plan B. Between active fires and less than encouraging weather forecasts we decided that a backpacking trip wasn’t in the cards. My parents provided a solution though and we were able to pay them a visit in Central Oregon and do some day hikes from there. We stopped on our way over to Bend to take our first hike visiting Little Belknap and Belknap Crater in the Mt. Washington Wilderness.

The hike started off at the Pacific Crest Trail crossing of the McKenzie Pass Highway.
001//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We followed the PCT through a forest on a small hill surrounded by a lava flow produced by Little Belknap.
003//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

006//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

010//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Black Crater rose above the lava flow to the NE.
012//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The trail left the forested hill and briefly entered the lava flow before reaching a second forested hill.
016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Belknap Crater and Little Belknap were visible ahead while the North and Middle Sister loomed on the horizon behind.
019//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

023//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The closer we got to Little Belknap the more detail we could make out of the colors and textures of this geologic feature.
022//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The lava flow offered many interesting features and it was interesting to see the few plants that had managed to find a foothold in the rocky landscape.
Lichen on the lava
037//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Turtle
041//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

043//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Little tree
045//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ewok waving
046//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Rock hill
047//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

057//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Just under 2.5 miles from the highway we reached the Little Belknap Trail with a view of Mt. Washington and distant Mt. Jefferson.
059//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

063//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Little Belknap Trail climbed to the summit of Little Belknap.
060//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Along the way the trail passes three caves.

Lower cave
071//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Middle & Upper caves
072//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Middle cave
073//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

076//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

078//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Upper cave (beware it drops about 40′ right near the opening.
084//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

085//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The final pitch to the summit is on a dark red cinder path.
093//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The 360 degree view includes several Cascade Mountains as well as some lower peaks.
Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson
113//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Belknap Crater
112//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

North and Middle Sister
115//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Broken Top
107//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Diamond Peak
067//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Black Butte & Black Crater
100//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Husband
108//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Scott Mountain
109//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After visiting Little Belknap we continued on the PCT until it left the lava flow. Shortly thereafter the trail split at an unsigned junction.
121//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The PCT continued straight but we forked left on the unofficial trail toward Belknap Crater. The trail climbed gradually through a sparse forest to the base of the crater. The views here were great. The blue sky was dotted with white clouds high above the summit.
124//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We were surprised by the various colors and different features on Belknap Crater now that we had gotten close.
129//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The trail skirted up around the north side of the crater before launching more steeply up toward the summit.
132//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

134//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

140//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The views were excellent from the long summit ridge, especially of Mt. Washington.
168//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

151//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

171//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

155//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

181//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

There was a large crater on the SE side of the summit which consisted of various colored rocks.
183//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After checking out the summit and crater we began descending down the west side of Belknap Crater toward a smaller crater on the NW flank.
190//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This crater wasn’t as colorful as it was made up of darker lava rocks. At the bottom we could see lots of tracks in the sand.
191//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

193//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

There was an interesting line going up along the east side of Belknap Crater. We couldn’t tell if it was a game trail or just some odd feature but it didn’t appear to be a trail used by people.
206//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

207//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We took a final break on a downed tree near the PCT junction with a great view of Belknap Crater.
208//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The sky was becoming increasingly cloudy as we headed back to the car. It was a sign of things to come. On this day though the weather had been nearly perfect, and we were looking forward to the rest of the weeks hikes.
251//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

267//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157658844385675

South Sister Loop – Day 1

After kicking off our vacation with a visit to Broken Tops no name lake we took a day off and got ready for what we originally planned to be a 4 day backpacking trip around the South Sister in the Three Sisters Wilderness. We wound up finishing the loop in 3 days instead of 4 hiking two 20+ mile days, our first ever over that number. Given the mileage and the amount of places we visited we are going to break this report up into three entries instead of trying to fit it all into one.

The route we were going to take would start and end at the Green Lakes/Soda Creek Trailhead. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/deschutes/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=38870&actid=50
We decided to take a less direct route around the mountain in order to visit some of the places we had yet to see in the wilderness. Below is our GPS track from the trip (The hike to the no name lake is also on the map to the right).

South Sister Loop

We were excited for this hike for a number of reasons. We had tried to visit the Green Lakes on four previous occasions including our first attempted hike together over 20 years earlier. Snow had turned us back that day and again in 2011, in 2012 it was a forest fire, and in 2013 thunderstorms stymied our plans. The forecast was good this time around and there were no fires in the immediate area as we set off from the trailhead. The sky was blue except for above each of the mountains which were each covered in white clouds.
DSC05072
DSC05073
DSC05074

In 1994 we managed to hike up Fall Creek a little over a mile before being turned back. We both remembered being impressed with the creek and the scenery but couldn’t remember exactly what we had seen. We were quickly reminded of why Fall Creek left such an impression on us. In the first two miles Fall Creek lived up to its name with over a half dozen cascades of varying sizes.
DSC05083
DSC05088
DSC05091
DSC05097
DSC05099
DSC05101
DSC05110
DSC05116

At the two mile mark we took the Moraine Lake Trail to the left and veered away from the creek. After crossing a lava flow and climbing over a ridge we arrived at Moraine Lake. We had been at the lake the year before after climbing the South Sister. It was just as pretty this time around nestled beneath a moraine with a front row view of the South Sister.
Moraine Lake
DSC05142

After leaving Moraine Lake we headed toward the Wickiup Plains on our way to the Pacific Crest Trail. The clouds were starting to burn off of the mountains as we passed through the plains. Broken Top was behind us with the South Sister on our right and the Wife ahead.
DSC05152
DSC05160
DSC05163

The plains offered an interesting landscape with open views all around.
DSC05166
DSC05175 Stitch

As we headed North toward the PCT on the Le Conte Trail we were able to see a couple of peaks that are often overlooked due to their proximity to the larger Three Sisters, The Wife at 7054′ and The Husband at 7524′.
DSC05182

We met the PCT and turned right passing the Rock Mesa lava flow and views of the South Sister.
DSC05190

The PCT eventually left the plains and entered more forested terrain crossing several branches of Mesa Creek amid meadows and wildflowers.
DSC05201
DSC05203
DSC05217
DSC05232

We left the PCT when we reached the James Creek Trail. We had planned on camping at Linton Meadows the first night and this trail would eventually lead us there and take us past some other interesting sights. The first of these was the James Creek Shelter which sat at the edge of a meadow made green by James Creek.
DSC05247
DSC05249

Next we passed a small pond where Heather spotted a tadpole.
DSC05255
DSC05260

Flower lined Hinton Creek was next.
DSC05264

Followed by Separation Creek. We may have found some of the tadpoles relatives there.
DSC05267
DSC05270
DSC05271

At a five way trail junction we stayed straight continuing on toward Linton Meadows. The clouds had finally lifted from the mountain tops and here we got our first good look at the Middle Sister.
DSC05279
DSC05280

Another junction awaited just .3 miles later. We had originally planned on staying straight and going directly to Linton Meadows but we were enjoying the scenery so much we decided to take a longer route to the meadows and go past Husband and Eileen Lakes first. The 2.4 mile trail would lead us beneath The Husband, past the two lakes, and back to the far end of Linton Meadows. It was interesting to see The Husband up close. The shape reminded us a lot of Broken Top.
DSC05295

The first lake we reached was Husband Lake. It was a nice lake with views of both the Middle and South Sister.
DSC05297
DSC05299
DSC05311

After a nice break at Husband Lake we continued on toward Eileen Lake. The trail passed a rock slide at the base of The Husband where we were surprised to see some Columbine in bloom.
DSC05328
DSC05331

There was also the cutest little tree attempting to grow out of the side of a boulder.
DSC05336

The North Sister made its first appearance of the day as we continued North.
DSC05337

Eileen Lake was a gem with green shores and great views. There had been several people camped near Husband Lake but for some reason no one was at Eileen Lake. As we made our way around the lake we encountered a large number of tiny frogs. We had to walk very carefully so we didn’t step on any since they were all over on the trail.
DSC05345

We eventually made our way around to the best views from the lake.
Eileen Lake
DSC05358

We left the lake and the frogs behind and in another .8 miles reached the junction with the James Creek Trail at the edge of Linton Meadows.
DSC05376
DSC05377

Several branches of Linton Creek flow through the meadows creating a large swath of green with the Middle & South Sister providing the backdrop. There were not many flowers left but a couple of patches remained and the sound of the streams roaring down hillside on the far side of the meadows completed the experience.
DSC05379
DSC05381
DSC05382
DSC05388

We headed back South here and found a campsite at the edge of the meadows. We seemed to be the only ones camped in the area which suited us just fine.
DSC05435
DSC05436

After getting camp set up we had one more thing to visit – Linton Springs. There is no official trail to the springs but I had a feeling there might be a way up to them so we set off looking for any signs of a trail that might lead us to them. We managed to find some faint trails and picked our way up the main stream being careful to avoid damaging the plants. As we neared the springs we found a more established path and followed it up to an amazing view.
DSC05411

The springs were truly impressive cascading down from all around the rim of a small bowl.
DSC05417

It was a perfect way to cap off our first day. We had already visited so many diverse and beautiful places we couldn’t wait to see what day 2 had in store when we would return to the PCT and head to the Chambers Lakes between the Middle and South Sister and finally past Camp Lake to Demaris Lake for our second night.

Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157646955382382/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204860263453559.1073741903.1448521051&type=1

South Sister & Moraine Lake

After a great hike along Tam McArthur Rim it was finally time to tackle the South Sister. At 10,358′ the South Sister is the third highest peak in Oregon behind only Mt. Hood (11,235′) & Mt. Jefferson (10,497′) and the only one of the three that doesn’t require technical climbing skills. We had tried to do this hike a couple of times in 2012, but the Pole Creek fire in the Three Sisters Wilderness kept us from being able to do it. We had been looking forward to this hike all year and most of our earlier hikes were chosen in part to help us prepare for the demands of the climb.

We knew this was a popular weekend for a popular hike so we expected a large crowd would be joining us so we got to the trial head at Devils Lake early and were ready to go just as the Sun began to rise.

South Sister's summit from the trail head parking lot.
South Sister’s summit from the trail head parking lot.

There was just enough light for us to not need to use our headlamps as we set off across Tyee Creek and the Cascade Lakes highway and entered the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Entering the wilderness.
Entering the wilderness.

The first mile and a half of the trail climbs through the forest in a narrow valley before cresting on a large plateau. Brief views behind us revealed Diamond Peak, Mt. Bachelor and distant Mt. Thielsen but it wasn’t until we reached the plateau that we could see our target, the South Sister.
029

Travelling along the plateau was an easy walk with gentle rolling hills and mountains on three sides. The South Sister loomed ahead while Mt. Bachelor sat behind and Broken Top welcomed the rising Sun to our right.
039
After nearly 3/4 of a mile we spotted Moraine Lake in a sandy bowl below us to the right. A trail joined here and we decided that we would head down there on the way back if we felt up to it. To our left a large lava flow covered a portion of the plateau.

The first 1.8 miles along the plateau had only gained 500′ of elevation putting us at 7200′ when the trail began to climb with a purpose. We were 2.2 miles from the summit and still over 3000′ below it. Not only did that mean a steep trail but the trail consisted of sand and loose rocks making footing challenging. To add to the challenge was the clear view to the top reminding us of just how much further we had to go :).

Looking up the South Sister
Looking up the South Sister

The first section of steep climbing was amid larger gray rocks. There seemed to be an endless number of possible routes braided among these rocks, but sticks and rock cairns marked the correct path. A ridge blocked the view to the east, but to the south the Cascade range was unfolding and lakes dotted the forest. To the west the Willamette Forest stretched beyond the lava mesa.
087

The first section ended atop a sandy saddle at the base of the Lewis Glacier. Below the saddle was Lewis Tarn, a pretty glacier melt lake. I had arrived at the saddle before Heather so I headed down to the lake to get a couple of pictures and feel the water (yes it was cold).
124
Broken Top was now visible to the east as we sat at the saddle to take a break and get some food before the final ascent.

The rock composition changed here and now we were traveling along a red cinder ridge between the Lewis & Clark Glaciers. The Lewis Glacier had some interesting crevasses.
136
The trail was just a little steep here, but the footing was better making this section a little easier than below the saddle. The views were also even more spectacular as we were now looking down across the Lewis Glacier all the way to the peaks surrounding Crater Lake to the south.
175

Upon reaching the lop of South Sister’s rim a vast snowfield filled the crater on top of the mountain.
184
Across the snowfield was the high point and actual summit of the South Sister. Even though it wasn’t a perfectly clear day, where a view of Mt. Shasta would have been possible, we could see all the way to the tip of Mt. McLoughlin in southern Oregon. In addition to the over half dozen mountain peaks to the south many lakes were clearly visible dotting the forest.
181
The trail continued around the rim to the right on it’s way to the summit. Along the way views to the east improved revealing the Green Lakes below the Prouty Glacier between Broken Top and the South Sister, Paulina Peak to the SE, and Tam McArthur Rim where we had hiked the day before. The best views still lay ahead though.
208

As we continued around the rim we toward the north side of the mountain the most dramatic views began to unfold. Lined up was a parade of Cascade peaks, the Middle & North Sister, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams were only barely visible even with binoculars due to haze but they were there like ghosts on the horizon. Below the South Sister lay the Chambers Lakes in a multitude of colors, from brown Carver Lake to blue Camp Lake like an artists palette.
222

Several of the Chambers Lakes
Several of the Chambers Lakes

We’d finally reached the summit!

Heather at the summit
Heather at the summit
My summit pic
My summit pic

We decided to try and continue around on the rim loop after noticing what appeared to be a well worn path. Mt. Washington was hiding behind the Middle Sister and I thought we might be able to find the missing mountain from the western edge of the rim. The path turned out to be much less of a trail and more of a scramble as we climbed over rock piles along the edge of the mountain. A strong wind was blowing across the snowfield making us feel like we could be blown right off the edge. We did manage to get a glimpse of Mt. Washington’s spire over the shoulder of the Middle Sister and got views of of the Lost Creek and Eugene Glaciers as well as several creeks and lakes below the Husband, but I don’t know that I would take that portion of trail again.

Mt. Washington over the left shoulder & Three Fingered Jack over the right of Middle Sister
Mt. Washington over the left shoulder & Three Fingered Jack over the right of Middle Sister
Lost Creek Glacier and the Husband
Lost Creek Glacier and the Husband

After a short stint on the snowfield below we managed to complete the rim loop and arrived back at the climber trail which had become much more crowded. A line of hikers could be seen making their way up as some of the early hikers were making their way back down.
293
Surprisingly the descent was much easier than we had anticipated. Despite the numbers heading up there was plenty of room on the braided paths and the deep loose sand helped keep the descent under control. The views were just as impressive going this direction. In fact Broken Top looked even better now that the Sun had risen over head bringing out the colors of the old volcano. On the way down we got a little separated. Heather ended up falling in with two young ladies that shared a similar pace. They quickly formed a trail bond looking out for each other. In her shyness, Heather failed to introduce herself or get their names, but she was very thankful for their company and the feeling of camaraderie. It was nice for her to enjoy the company of women on the trail for a change, even if it was only for a short time.
291

When we reached the junction for the trail down to Moraine Lake we decided to head down. I blame the lack of oxygen for that decision. Actually the lake was lovely and only added about 3/4 of a mile and 500′ of additional elevation gain. We sat at the edge of the lake across from the South Sister and had another snack. I think we both would have been happy to stay there, but we would have gotten a little cold that night.
342

We pulled ourselves away from the peaceful lake shore and returned to the climber trail via a trail that had come to the lake from Green Lakes and continued on to Wickiup Plain. The intersection was very close to where the climbers trail first crested the plateau so we were quickly back in the forest heading down the final 1.5 miles back to the trail head. Now that it was light we could see this portion of the trail much better. A nice creek ran beside the lower portion of the trail and we spotted some aster blooming in a meadow along side it. After crossing the highway we reached the bridge over Tyee Creek which was lovely.
365
Then we were back at the large parking area where we had started. It had been a beautiful day, and we really couldn’t have asked for any more out of this hike. We got one last look at the South Sister before loading up the car and heading back into Bend.

Parting shot of the South Sister
Parting shot of the South Sister

Happy Trails!

Facebook photos: https://www.facebook.com/deryl.yunck/media_set?set=a.10202027388473455.1073741854.1448521051&type=3
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157635348248051/