Hiking Around South Sister

I debated whether or not to post this hike, partly because I can’t exactly recall the route we took around South Sister.  It was July of 2013 and my wife and I just felt like a quick weekend hike.  We decided to do a long two day hike and cover as much ground as possible, starting at Devils Lake Campground, which is the same campground most people start at to climb to the summit of South Sister.  We bought a pretty basic Three Sisters Wilderness map, and the plan was to simply take trails throughout the Three Sisters Wilderness, camp for a night, do some quick day hiking the next day, and then bust it back to the car that afternoon.

Without getting too mundane with trail numbers, we hiked along the southwest side of the mountain, and eventually met up with the Pacific Crest Trail.  Our final destination ended up being next to a small shelter almost directly west of South Sister, called the James Creek Shelter.  There is so much trail to explore in the Three Sisters wilderness that I wish we’d given ourselves a week instead of two days, but unfortunately, someone has to work to pay the bills (my wife).  However, as you’ll see in the pictures below, the landscape changes drastically depending on how close you are to the mountain.  I hope to head back to Three Sisters Wilderness at some point and do a more thorough exploration of the trails around the Three Sisters.  For now, this will have to do.


After hiking about a mile and a half, we got to a flat, relatively arid plain.  It provided some great photo opportunities; South Sister is in the background.


If you’re wondering why both Trish and I look like we’re holding an imaginary beer mug, it’s because that’s the motion we use to make Bryn sit.


Although dry and desolate, the rock mesa was a beautiful section to hike through, partly because it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks.


I think it was grasshopper season, because they were EVERYWHERE. They were so abundant that we couldn’t help but step on them, at times, because of their sheer numbers. I felt like Moses had released one of his ten plagues on us, but at least Bryn enjoyed it.


After passing through the rock mesa, the terrain changed quite a bit.


There were some beautiful little creeks that ran right across the trail.


And we even walked right into a herd of butterflies… do butterflies travel in herds? Flocks? Whatever the correct lexicon is, Bryn managed to separate their little party pretty quickly. Once I figure out how to put videos on this blog, maybe I’ll include Bryn’s butterfly massacre at the end.


We almost stepped on this little guy. Maybe the middle of a hiking trail is not the best place for a toad, but then again, maybe the middle of a wilderness is not the best place for us. Either way, we avoided a potentially tragic occurrence and continued on our way.



The three stooges ready for bed.


During our day hike the next morning, the hills and meadows got otherworldly beautiful. This particular meadow remains one of the most enchanting places I’ve hiked in to date.



We eventually made it back to camp, packed up, and headed for Devil’s Lake Campground.  This trail led us out of the beautiful lush forest directly west of South Sister and back to the large, arid rock mesa southwest of the mountain.


Towards the end of the hike, Bryn was barely keeping up with us. We think she got pretty dehydrated, and at this point, she wasn’t even willing to drink. We decided after about ten minutes that it would be best just to keep moving.


Almost at the end of our journey at this point. The sign post reads Devil’s Lake Campground, and we had about a mile and a half to go; sad seeing this trip come to an end.

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