Deschutes National Forest, Three Sisters Wilderness, South sister Oregon 8/26-27/18
The drive started off easily. On the phone with Madison, as she cooked dinner. It’s actuall our 7th anniversary together. Can’t believe it’s been this long. Can’t believe I’m engaged. Can’t believe we are two time zones apart. Can’t believe I’m sleeping my car alone. I guess that’s adulthood.
As I drove through the Rogue Valley the sight of the evergreens made my heart happy. I can remember how great I felt last winter when my depression was really bad and I drove to New Hampshire. It’s as if they are my antidepressant. Maybe moving to Oregon wasn’t a bad idea. I crossed a bridge and saw how vast the Rogue River really was. Surrounded by mountains soaring from its rivers banks.
I continued my drive through the National forests and I could see the smoke growing in the distance. As I got closer to the trailhead the floor was covered in smoke. I thought it was fog, until I opened my window and instantly coughed. This smoke hasn’t been good. Just recently I went for a run, now being from the east coast elevation is not a thing so running at 7000 feet is a lot. I was breathing heavily and the smoke began to burn my throat. I couldn’t stop coughing and had to turn around.
At the trailhead I paid my fee, I should just get an annual pass, and found a parking spot. This Subaru is new to me. It’s huge. Enough space for me to lay in comfortably. I set up my bed and head to sleep. Thinking of my hike, thinking of how the smoke will be and the 4000 feet of elevation in the morning.
I woke up after my second alarm, around maybe 445/5 am. I got up and got changed in my car. It is incredible how big a Subaru Outback is. I got out of my car, packed my bag and made my lunch. I then started out on my walk.
I started to follow the trail and then came upon a road I was confused. I asked a man if this was the proper trail and he said yea. I then saw the wilderness permit box, filled mine out. The trail was pretty flat, the evergreens were tall and the rain would not stop. However, luckily there was no smoke. The incline began right away, probably a solid 1 mile of incline on flat very well maintained trail. I then came upon the Alpine zone, it’s much different then the Alpine zone back home in the North East. This zone had trees, alpine flowers. It was easily 2 miles long with the small rolling hills. I eventually ran into two ladies, Angie and Erin. This was Angie’s 5th time on the trail, I tagged along with them. It was actually a great idea because I had actually caught up to them, they had left an hour ahead of me. Their pace helped me with my adjustment to the altitude. Once we hit the scree field I felt like I was home. Step by step we made our way to the Red Mile. The Red Mile is the last stretch before the false summit. It’s verticals stretch of red dirt and rock. It starts at about 9k feet. Around this time I noticed that the altitude was affecting Angie. She was moving slow and even stating she was a bit confused. We would walk about ten steps and then stop, repeating that process for the whole Red Mile. Once we reached the false summit we were moving at a slow pace to the summit. Once we reached there I sat down and had my peanut butter bagel and drank a bunch of water. I looked over to Erin and Angie making sure they were drinking. Angie only had 40oz of water with her and Erin brought a plastic water bottle that’s it. We started to walk back, I had decided that I was going to just run ahead and get back.
I started to run down the Red Mile, pretty much all the last 1.5-2 miles. I then reached the rolling hills and realized I have nothing to get to for another four days so why not take my sweet time. I just started to walk and taking my time. It was a beautiful walk. It made me realize that nature and the exertion was worth it. 10318 feet was worth it. It made me want to go higher.
I got back to my car after 8.5 hours, 5 hrs up 3.5 down. 11.9 miles round trip. It was a beautiful day, filled with all types of weather. People excited and nervous for the summit. High fives as I came down and people went up. I loved it.