|South Sister, Oregon|
I guess I didn’t read the instructions to the trailhead close enough, because I assumed the trailhead would be on my right, closest to the mountain. The trailhead (called the Devil’s Lake trailhead) is actually on the left side, where the lake is. You then have to hike up and cross over the highway. The trailhead parking lot was already packed almost full - I think I got the 2nd to last parking spot, and it was not yet 6:45am! Surely all these folks weren’t on the trail, were they? Soon, we would find out. We dropped our $5 for the permit in the box and headed up.
The trail starts out in deep forest. The grade was fairly steep, but the crisp Oregon morning helped mask any additional heat caused by the workload. Walking at a fairly leisurely pace, we reached the junction to Moraine Lake in about an hour. There were just a few other groups on the trail at this point. By the time we reached the upper junction (that goes back down towards the lake) we were soon joined on the trail by more, and then more, and the more (!) hikers mostly coming up from the lake. Hiking South Sister is definitely not a “out in the wilderness alone” type experience.
|Moraine Lake - Mt Bachelor to the right|
|The trail evens out after the junction to Moraine Lake (looking back)|
|First big snowy slopes, most of it could be ascended by rock, but the very top was following bootsteps in the snow.|
|Back on dirt again above the snow slope|
|Looking back at a beautiful Central Oregon day|
|Climbing up before the final push to the bottom of the glacier|
|The scree-filled ascent up to Teardrop Pool|
|Lake at the base of Lewis glacier - I thought mistakenly this was Teardrop Pool, it is not|
|Looking ahead from the lake (which is NOT Teardrop Pool)|
|The very nice aesthetic of the ridge west of the glacier|
|A closer look at the upper slopes|
|Looking back after ascending the last tough section|
|Some folks crossing the large snow filled crater|
|The actual summit (small and crowded on a Saturday)|
|View from the top. Middle and North Sisters, behind is Jefferson, faintly we could see Hood, and even fainter yet we could see Adams on this day.|
Just before we made it back to the parking lot our water ran out. 2 liters was just not quite enough for this day, and it was quite hot in the lower elevations. Luckily the last stretch is back through the forest, and soon we were back to our car. South Sister was a really fun hike, lots of pretty scenery, and a just great day out in the mountains.