Day 130 8-2-07 Tarp Tent 6550′
Dumbbell Lake – Minnie Scott Spring
29.7 miles; 1982.1 (69.86) total miles; 3845.2 trip miles
90’s, sunny; Day ? of rain
Days camped alone 16
Critter Tour General Category
Deer count is 110
Marmot count is 53
Elk count is 23
Pika count is 7
Bear count is 7
Rattlesnake count is 6
Badger count is 1
!!!The Pikas are on the move. Yesterday they scored two points to move into a tie with the Rattlesnakes and today they took another point to move into a tie with the Bears. 6th to 4th in two days.!!!
I once again overslept and got a late start. I don’t even remember turning my alarm off most mornings. Today I do recall turning it off though. The mosquitoes were bad once again from the start.
I made good time from the get go. I felt pretty good today despite the 33 miles I did yesterday. When I got to the junction of the Island Meadow Trail, which goes to Elk Lake Resort, I stopped to decide whether or not I wanted to hike the extra 2 miles. I decided against it but sat and made a few calls. I was in another burned section but this one was much smaller.
As I left the junction, I had a 5+ mile climb, my longest of the day. I met a guy named Bob on the climb. He was finishing up a section hike and leaving via Elk Lake. Just before I saw Bob, I got rained on twice for a minute or so each time.
I crested my climb and descended to Camelot Lake and the bugs were terrible, so I moved on to Sisters Mirror Lake. There was a breeze so the bugs weren’t bad. I nearly fell in the water trying to fill my bottle. I got mud all up my arm since I had to put it in the water. It sunk a ways into the muddy bottom. As I got water, two fighting dragon flies got stuck in the water. When I was done, I saved one with my trekking pole. The other made it to a log before I got to him.
Not too far after Sisters Mirror Lake, I finally got some views. Yesterday was a green tunnel with no views. As I reached the Wickiup Plain, I got an incredible view of South Sister. I also got to see Rock Mesa. Rock Mesa is a mesa of rhyodacite lava that vented out 2000 years ago. It looked like a bunch of bulldozers just piled up this massive wall of rock. This thing was huge!
I descended down to a creek and found some shade to have lunch. A couple with a dog passed me while I ate. After lunch on the way down the next hill, I found one of the dogs booties. I gave it to the owners and said I had been looking for some booty but not that kind. They laughed and thanked me. Next to them was another couple with two more dogs.
I had to climb out of the North Fork of Mesa Creek. Along the way I got view after view of South and Middle Sister. South Sister is a rough mountain with different colors and sharp edges and gorges on it. Middle Sister looks like a large screen pile and has clean lines to it. They are complete opposites.
Back on the trail I passed James Creek Trail, Hinton and Separation Creeks, and then a small lakelet where I filled up on water again. Next I passed Foley Ridge and Linton Meadow Trails. It was about here I passed a group of boy scouts on a knoll and a group of 4 going southbound.
I entered the Obsidian Wilderness and went by Obsidian Falls. I believe I found an arrowhead there. There was obsidian everywhere. The trail and country side was covered with it. (Just another reminder of the vast volcanic activity in the area.) Just after the falls, I passed a father and son. Just down the hill from there, I stopped at Glacier Way Trail to cook. I sat with two young ladies and their dog, Tank. I had dinner and said goodbye. I passed yet another guy as I left the ladies.
From Glacier Way Trail I had a 3.1 mile climb to Minnie Scott Spring where I thought I might stay. The climb started in the woods and soon I saw the start or end for the matter of a huge lava flow. I followed along it for a while then the trail entered right into it. The trail went right up the same valley the lava flowed down. I saw Pika #7 in the early part. He hid under a boulder, but then stuck his little head out so I could get his picture. The trail then switchbacked right up the flow. Looking back you could see how the lava flowed down where you had walked and just spread out as it went. The lava field was massive. At this point I was past North Sister, who like South was a much rougher looking mountain than Middle. It had lots of reds to its color. Once to the top of the flow, I cut back around a arm of lava below Collier Cone, a 7500′ screen pile.
Camp was just down the way. When I got there I met a couple who hiked the AT in 2001 like me. The father and son showed up and there is at least 3 others here as well. On the way into camp, I got a look at Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. It appeared that there was a fire on the east side of Jefferson but I’m thinking its just clouds. The couple told me I go to the west and that made me feel much better.
Today I got to see the sheer power of Mother Nature and how a volcano can drastically change its surroundings. Some of todays lava flows are only 400 years old while tomorrow I’ll go through a 30,000 year old one. The scenery and views are truly amazing here.
Scatman 2011- This was an amazing day of hiking. I definitely want to go back to the Sister’s Wilderness some day. I saw one view after another. Just now while trying to pick the pictures for this post I thought the dates on the pictures were wrong since there there so many of them. The reality is I cover almost 30 miles today and the views were endless.
I was blown away by the landscape and how the volcanos in the area had changed the landscape. As I hiked I wondered what it looked like before the eruptions. Some of the lava fields were miles across! When I was almost to camp I saw what appeared to be smoke to the north. It was on the east side of Mount Jefferson. Last year there was a fire on the west side and hikers had to do a huge road walk. I feared I was in for one as well. I went to sleep praying I’d get to stay on the trail and not have to walk the road.
Get out there!