My friend Mike and I headed out from Pole Creek Trailhead to explore the Three Sisters Wilderness on an overnight backpacking trip. After a 5-6 mile drive down an unpaved forestry road, we arrived at the crowded trailhead at 11:30am and hit the trail. Out of the four hikes I’ve completed so far, this is the third in the Three Sisters Wilderness. I want to hike up here as much as possible before the snow makes it nearly inaccessible. Winter is coming!
!–more–> For more of the details of the hike, check out the photo captions below.
We expected to only do about 13 miles, but we explored side trails off of Pole Creek Trail up to Camp Lake and got in over 20 miles of hiking.
The trail was crowded, which was to be expected on such a nice day and nice time of year, but we found solitude at Demaris Lake and the base of North Sister.
We witnessed a massive landslide on the southeastern flanks of North Sister. It was an impressive display of the power of Mother Nature
Just seven days after our trek, a wildfire broke out and continues to burn unconstrained as of this writing (Sept 14). These might very well be the last photos on the web of the area before it burned.
Location: Pole Creek Trailhead, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon
Duration: 2 days
Length: 20.2 miles
This map was made with the data my GPS captured on the hike.
For a more detailed trip report map, check this out.
Mike at the Pole Creek Trailhead sign. The adventure begins now!
The first mile or so of the trail is through an old burn section. I’d guess that a wildfire went through here about 10-15 years ago. (UPDATE: The same area burned again just a week after this hike!) This photo shows a more forested section of the trail. I imagine it might have burned in the recent Pole Creek Fire.
A helpful footbridge over the North Fork Whychus Creek, but at this time of year, rock hopping over the creek is possible.
The view up North Fork Whychus Creek. Clouds hug the steep sides of Middle Sister.
Mike and I named this, Gecko Rock.
On the trail towards Demaris Lake
Arriving at Demaris Lake
Setting up a timelapse shot of our campsite at Demaris Lake. (I’ll post that video soon.)
While at Demaris Lake, we witnessed a major landslide on North Sister! You can see the plume of dust rising on the south side of the mountain, reaching heights much higher than the 10,085 ft peak.
Mike and I decided to take a late afternoon hike to the base of North Sister to investigate the landslide. Mike is pointing to the general area of the slide. By the looks of the terrain, landslides must be common on the scree-covered slope.
A closer look at the area of the landslide. We didn’t see any climbers/hikers, but I did spot Moby Dick. (See it?)
Mike and I found a great spot to view the area, including South Sister (right) and Broken Top (left).
I realized I hadn’t taken any photos of myself on this trek. Done and done.
After a pleasant night on Demaris Lake, we rolled out of our tents and hit the trail around 8:30am. Demaris Lake was as still as a mirror.
After hiding our backpacks, we headed up the trail towards Camp Lake. Mike paused to check out North Sister.
CAMP/CHAMBERS AREA – NO CAMPFIRES
As we ascended, we found the population of wildflowers increase, like these Wyoming Paintbrush