Three Sisters Traverse Backpack Trip: Sep 2013
After four years of trying to backpack through a stretch of the Three Sisters Wilderness, west of Bend, OR, we were finally going to succeed in September 2013. To accommodate Maria’s schedule, we shortened the trip to 5 days and 30 miles.
Alan P., Maria G. & Tysen M. started from Obsidian Trailhead (TH) after spending the night before at nearby Scott Lake Campground. Our trails passed through forest, lava flows and meadows. After we left the forest, we got our first view of North & Middle Sisters. It was sunny but became overcast toward the end of the day.
Since, we did not have a reservation, we could not camp above Obsidian Falls in Sunrise Meadow. Instead, we camped near Obsidian creek having climbed 1700 ft and covered 7.8 miles on the first day in the Wilderness.
The next morning it was foggy as we continued heading south on the Pacific Crest Trail, passing through beautiful alpine meadows. The sun eventually burned off most of the fog but left the Sisters peaks hidden from us.
We had lunch past Reese Lake and then continued on south with a goal of spending the night at Mesa Creek meadows. Around 1:30, we heard a distant thunder clap as we were passing a small sheltered pond. We took advantage of the level area at the north end of the pond to hurriedly set up our tents. Just as we finished , the thunder storm passed over us. While the thunder storm lasted only an hour. the rain would last for 17 hours with heavy rain throughout the night. We had covered 6 miles while maintaining nearly the same elevation today.
The next morning we had a cold breakfast, folded up our wet tents and continued on south in a light rain. Shortly thereafter we reached Mesa Creek meadows and took a break, enjoying a cup of hot coffee & tea. Then we continued on south passing through Wikkiup Plain.
Around noon, we reached a trail fork. One fork led to Moraine Lake, our planned destination that night, while the other led to Devils Lake TH. The latter trail would allow us to abort the rest of our trip. It would also place us within 2 miles of where Alan’s car was parked at the Green Lakes TH near Sparks Lake.
While it had stopped raining and a hazy sun had come out, it was still windy and we still could not see any of the Sister peaks. Hence, we aborted the trip and headed out to the Devils Lake TH. We had hiked 7 miles that day and lost 1000 ft in elevation.
Alan managed to get a ride to his car with a couple of ladies heading back to Bend. After he returned and picked up Maria and Tysen, we drove on to the nearby Elk Lake Resort for a warm snack and warm running water in the bathroom.