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Bend/Redmond Central Oregon High Cascades Hiking Oregon Three Sisters Area Trip report

Tumalo Mountain Sunrise Hike – 09/26/2021

After missing a week of hiking due to heavy rains arriving for the one weekend we’d obtained a Central Cascade Wilderness Overnight Permit we were heading to Bend to celebrate Heather’s parents 50th wedding anniversary (congratulations again). That was possibly the first time we were excited to have to cancel our hiking plans as the rain (and snow on the mountains) continues to be greatly needed. Saturday was set aside for the anniversary party but we planned on getting a quick hike in Sunday morning before driving home.

In 2014 we attempted a to catch the sunrise from Tumalo Mountain (post) but were thwarted by low clouds which provided almost zero viability. Nearly seven years later (9/26/21 vs 9/27/14) we returned for another attempt and this time were rewarded with a colorful show. We arrived at the Dutchman Sno-park/Trailhead just after 5am and got ready to head out using our headlamps. Things already looked more promising than on our previous trip as the Moon was visible over Mt. Bachelor.
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The Tumalo Mountain Trail gains 1425′ in two miles to the site of a former lookout tower. I hustled up to the lookout site as fast as my legs would allow and arrived a little after 6am to catch the first strip of color to the east beyond Bend.
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After Heather joined me we continued further along the broad summit to the northern end where the view included Mt. Bachelor to the south and the Three Sisters and Broken Top immediately to the NW.
20210926_062629Mt. Bachelor

20210926_062918The Three Sisters and Broken Top

We spent the next half an hour watching the changing light and colors as we waited for the Sun to rise. We had brought an extra camera which I had been using the day before to photograph the anniversary. This proved interesting as each of the cameras we were using captured the sights in their own ways. As I’ve mentioned before I basically have no idea what I’m doing as far as photography and mostly I just rely on getting lucky once in awhile if I take enough photos. My usual camera is a Canon SX740HS, a small point and shoot with 40x optical zoom. Heather was using her phone, an LGE LM-G820, and the other camera, a Nikon Coolpix P900, belongs to my parents.
DSCN1128Mt. Bachelor via the Nikon.

IMG_5444Heather watching the show taken with the Canon.

IMG_5446The Three Sisters with the Canon.

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IMG_5455Mt. Bachelor (post) with the Canon.

IMG_5461Canon shortly before the Sun became visible.

IMG_5462Canon shortly before the Sun became visible.

DSCN1140The Three Sister just before sunrise with the Nikon.

20210926_064832The Three Sister just before sunrise with Heather’s phone.

IMG_5467Canon moments before sunrise. A line of wildfire smoke on the horizon gave it a red tint.

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IMG_5471Canon catching the Sun.

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DSCN1155The Three Sisters and Broken Top (Nikon)

DSCN1157South Sister (post) (Nikon)

DSCN1156Middle and North Sister (Nikon)

DSCN1158Broken Top (post) (Nikon)

IMG_5481Aline glow hitting the mountains. (Canon)

IMG_5478South Sister (Canon)

IMG_5479Middle and North Sister (Canon)

IMG_5480Broken Top (Canon)

IMG_5484Mt. Bachelor (Canon)

We started back down as soon as the sun was up.
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There were lots of views of Mt. Bachelor on the way down and we could also make out Mt. Thielsen (post) and Mt. Scott (post) further south.

IMG_5503Mt. Scott to the left and Mt. Thielsen to the right.

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IMG_5519Grouse

IMG_5523Chipmunk

IMG_5528Mt. Bachelor as we arrived back at the snow-park.

We finished our hike just after 7:45am and headed back to Salem. The hike had been everything we could have hoped for. There were just enough clouds in the sky to create some beautiful colors (the lingering smoke even added a bit although we would rather it wasn’t in the air) and the mountains were all clearly visible. My GPS showed a total of 4.7 miles which made sense given it was too cold to simply sit while we waited for the sunrise, spending over half an hour wandering around at the summit.

There were two other groups of hikers watching the sunrise with us and we passed many more as we descended. Tumalo Mountain is a great choice for a short hike with spectacular views. It is also just outside the Three Sisters Wilderness meaning that a Cascade Wilderness Permit is not needed. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Tumalo Mountain

Categories
High Cascades Hiking Oregon Three Sisters Area Trip report

Mount Bachelor – 08/15/2021

For our August vacation this year we finally returned to the Steens Mountain area for five days of hiking but along the way we made a stop in the Cascade Mountains to hike up to the summit of Mt. Bachelor. As the 6th largest ski resort in the US, Mt. Bachelor is known more for that winter sport than hiking. Hiking also takes a back seat to mountain biking and even a zip line tour but as part of an agreement between the resort and the Forest Service a trail is maintained to the summit for hiking to the 9068′ summit. Growing up in the Bend area I spent a lot of time skiing the mountain but other than riding the Summit lift to the top one Summer (when that lift still operated in the Summer months) neither of us had spent time on the mountain without snow. It was going to be another warm, hazy day as that seems to be the new norm here in the West but the air quality wasn’t in the danger zone so we left early on Sunday morning and arrived at the West Village Parking lot a little before 8am to find a somewhat blue sky overhead.
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There are currently three routes shown on the resorts web page with the easiest being from the top of the Pine Marten Lift which operates from 10am thru 5 or 7pm depending on the date. The other two routes start at the West Village Lodge near the Pine Marten Lift which allows for a reverse lollipop hike which is what we did. We took the more scenic trail up which was marked by blue signboards for the West Village to Summit Connect Trail.
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IMG_1761A hazy look at the South Sister and Broken Top.

After a short distance on cat roads we came to an actual trail which led into the trees.
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The trail traversed along the mountain crossing several ski runs before turning uphill near the “Marshmallow” run and the Sunrise lift.
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IMG_1771Passing under the Skyliner Express

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IMG_1777The ski runs gave us a good look at the top of the mountain.

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IMG_1792Turning uphill

IMG_1793Spotted a grouse hen and her chicks in this little meadow.

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IMG_1807Two of the chicks.

IMG_1812Passing under the Sunrise lift.

The first 1.4 miles had gained under 350′ but after turning uphill the trail steepened gaining almost 2400′ over the next 2.5 miles.
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IMG_1817Nearing the top of the Sunrise lift.

IMG_1818Another hazy look at the nearby mountains.

IMG_1819South and Middle Sister through the haze.

IMG_1823The top of Sunrise and the bottom of the Summit lifts.

IMG_1824Looking up from the top of Sunrise.

Above the Sunrise lift the trees thinned out leaving a few scattered trees including white bark pines.
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IMG_1832A few saxifrage blossoms still left.

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IMG_1841Alpine buckwheat and paintbrush

IMG_1846The first patch of snow we passed.

IMG_1848Golden mantled ground squirrel

IMG_1850Tumalo Mountain (post) in the haze.

Signs gave way to white arrows painted on rocks at the higher elevations.
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IMG_1861Looking down from beneath the Summit Express.

IMG_1863We could really feel the elevation affecting our breathing and by this point we were both sucking wind.

IMG_1864Dwarf alpinegold

I arrived at the summit first and followed the path the the mountain’s high point.
IMG_1869Looking back at the Summit Express.

IMG_1871Heading for the high point.

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IMG_1882A mountain bluebird near the summit.

IMG_1887South Sister and Broken Top with Sparks Lake (post) the brown patch below.

I took my pack off and had a seat and was soon joined by a curious golden mantle.
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IMG_1896It’s our rule not to feed the wildlife but it was obvious that many don’t adhere to that LNT principle. I had to put my pack back on to avoid having a hole chewed through my pocket.

IMG_1901View of the summit.

The surrounding smoke made it impossible to see anything to the east, very little to the south or west and just the closest features to the north, but a cool breeze made it a comfortable spot for a rest while I waited for Heather to join me.
IMG_1899Broken Top, the Pine Marten Lodge halfway up the mountain, the West Village Lodge and parking area below and Tumalo Mountain across the Cascade Lakes Highway.

After Heather had a chance to relax at the summit as well we headed back down taking a short detour to a viewpoint above the Cirque.
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We then hiked back down just above the Sunrise Lift where we turned left on the West Village Getback road which I could picture skiing on all those years ago.
IMG_1931A little better view of Broken Top and Tumalo Mountain on the way down.

IMG_1935Clark’s nutcracker

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IMG_1942Left leads up to the Pine Marten Lodge atop the Pine Marten Express, right to the West Village Lodge.

The road walk is not only not as scenic as the trail route we took up it also passes through the mountain bike trails so we had to keep our eyes open at the crossings.
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IMG_1945A decent look at Tumalo Mountain

IMG_1948Warning sign for a bike crossing.

IMG_1949A look at some of the mountain bike trails and some haze moving in overhead.

IMG_1959A tortoiseshell butterfly on the road.

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The trail map showed this route passing under the Pine Marten Express and turning 90 degrees downhill alongside the lift.
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There was a disc golf hole here but no sign of any trail except for a faint line continuing straight ahead through some grass. We followed it briefly before realizing it wasn’t going to get us to the parking lot.
IMG_1965At least we could see the mountains a little better from here.

We turned back to the lift and headed cross country downhill alongside it. We eventually did find some tread which took us to the base of the lift and back to the parking lot. We were glad we’d gotten there as early as we had because it was now quite a bit hazier overhead and a lot warmer.
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We left the mountain and drove to Heather’s parents house where we spent the night before once again heading out early for another adventure. Happy Trails!

Our track for Mt. Bachelor. The GPS said 8.8 miles and 2800′ of elevation but the resort lists the hike as 6.5 miles and 2742′ of elevation gain.

Flickr: Mt. Bachelor

Categories
Bend/Redmond Central Oregon Hiking Oregon Trip report

Wildcat Canyon (Maston Trail System) – 10/11/2020

A wet weather system arrived with the weekend dropping some much need rain over the wildfires in Oregon and depositing a decent amount of new snow on the Cascades. This was great news and one of the few times that we were more than happy that our original plan was forced to change due to weather. We were going to be in Bend to celebrate the 75th birthday of Heather’s Dad which provided us an opportunity to hike in the rain shadow of the Cascades before heading home Sunday morning. It was a nice celebration and a rare event for all our calendars to align and be together.

Having finished all 100 featured hikes (post) in William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Central Oregon Cascades” (4th edition) we turned to his 5th edition of the book and decided to check out Wildcat Canyon (Hike #36). Wildcat Canyon is part of the Bureau of Land Management’s Maston Trail System, a 4,000 acre mixed use network of trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. It also happens to be located in my old stomping grounds near Tumalo, OR. The Maston Trailhead (see previous link) is less than 10 driving miles from the my parent’s old house between Bend and Redmond and just over 5 miles from my former elementary school. Way back then the Maston Trail System didn’t exist but I had spent time exploring the Deschutes River Canyon near that area, closer to Eagle Crest Resort, so I was excited to check the trail system out.

We were the second car at the Maston Trailhead that morning.
Sunrise at the Maston Trailhead

Maston TrailheadCline Buttes from the Maston Trailhead.

It was a crisp morning with a bit of frost on the ground, the kind of morning that reminded me of a high school job I had moving irrigation pipes at a nearby farm. We set off through the equestrian parking area and passed through an open fence by a trail map.
Equestrain trail at the Maston Trailhead

Maston Trailhead map

This was the Settlement Trail (an equestrian/hiker only trail), named for the settlers who had cleared the land and began constructing farms in the early 1900’s in preparation of the arrival of irrigation water. The water never came and by the 1930’s the farms had been abandoned.
Interpretive sign at the Maston TrailheadInterpretive sign at the Maston Trailhead telling the story of the settlers.

Old foundations along the Settlement TrailStone foundation of one of the abandoned buildings along the Settlement Trail.

We followed the Settlement Trail by staying right at junctions for the first 1.5 miles.
Settlement Trail

Settlement TrailTypical sign at a junction. Not all of the junctions had signs and not all of the signs identified which trail/junction it was so having a copy of the trail system map is a really good idea.

There were a lot of different birds about but most wouldn’t stay still long enough for a picture and those that did perched at the top of junipers distant enough to make identifying them even with a 30x zoom a bit difficult.
Songbird atop a juniperThis one may be a sparrow of some sort, it was signing quite a bit.

Bird atop a juniperPossibly another sparrow or a finch or something else.

Bluebird atop a treeMaybe a bluebird?

We took a wrong turn at a junction just over a half mile from the trailhead. We had been expecting to see the Wildcat Canyon Trailhead to our right which our guidebook indicated we should go down to, so when we spotted a signboard along a road less then a tenth of a mile to our right we headed for it. When we got to the little pullout at the road we double checked the map and realized that we had turned right too early so we turned around and returned to the junction. We turned right again and continued on the Settlement Trail another quarter of a mile to the actual Wildcat Canyon Trailhead.
Wildcat Canyon Parking from the Settlement TrailWildcat Canyon Trailhead off to the right.

We spotted the only non-bird wildlife of the day near this trailhead when a rabbit raced out of the sagebrush and paused briefly on the other side of a juniper.
Out of focus rabbit behind the juniperI managed to snap one photo and of course the camera focused on said juniper instead of the rabbit beyond.

We stayed straight at the trailhead on the Settlement Trail which was now almost directly next to the Rockbar Trail (a mountain bike trail). The Settlement Trail quickly arrived on the basalt cliffs above the Deschutes River Canyon.
Deschutes River and Wildcat CanyonWildcat Canyon on the right joining the Deschutes River Canyon

Deschutes RiverThe Deschutes River near where the canyons meet.

Deschutes RiverGrizzly Mountain in the distance beyond the Deschutes River.

The trail turned north along the canyon rim which we followed for half a mile, switching to the Rockbar Trail when the equestrian trail crossed over it.
Deschutes RiverAnother of several viewpoints along the rim.

Deschutes RiverSome Fall color along the Deschutes River.

Rock doveRock dove

Deschutes River CanyonA viewpoint along the Rockbar Trail.

Deschutes River

Deschutes RiverLooking south up the river canyon.

Deschutes RiverA calm pool along the Deschutes.

Stellar's jayI could see this one, a Stellar’s jay.

Shortly after the Rockbar Trail turned away from the canyon it crossed a private road.
Rockbar TrailComing up to the road.

We followed Sullivan’s instructions and jogged left 100′ picking up the equestrian trail again.
An equestrian continuing on the far side of Necomb Road

We turned uphill on the equestrian trail to a junction with the Headgate Trail, another mountain bike trail, in just 100 yards.
Headgate Trail

We turned left following this single track through the juniper and sagebrush for approximately 2 miles ignoring side trails along the way.
Headgate Trail

Headgate TrailThis was Junction 2 (one of the junctions with an identifying sign). We stayed right on the Headgate Trail here.

At a slightly higher elevation than the Settlement Trail the Headgate Trail would have provided a fairly nice view of the Cascades but on this day they were mostly shrouded in clouds although we could see fresh snow on Tam McArthur Rim (post) and on the lowest portion of the South and North Sisters.
View from the Headgate TrailTam McArthur Rim is left center with South Sister in the center and North Sister to the right center.

We turned down what we believe on the map to be the Maston Tie Trail (it was unmarked) and followed it for a quarter of mile back to the beginning of the Settlement Trail at the Maston Trailhead.
Maston Tie TrailHeather and Dominique on the Maston Trail.

Maston Tie Trail comging back to the Maston TrailheadComing up on the Settlement Trail.

This wound up being a nice loop, just under 5 miles, with minimal elevation gain (200′ or so). The network of trails provides options for both shorter and longer loops too with multiple starting points available. We hope to come back again in the Spring some year to check out more of the area and see what it looks like during a different season. Until then this was a great introduction to the area. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Wildcat Canyon

Categories
Bend/Redmond Central Oregon Hiking Oregon Trip report

Boyd, Arnold, Hidden Forest, and Pictograph Caves (sort of)

Our hike along French Creek Ridge (post) officially kicked off our July vacation it was the following day that we left home and headed for Central Oregon. We were ultimately heading to the Strawberry Mountains but we stopped in Bend to visit Heather’s parents and also to check out a few of the caves off China Hat Road. (Whenever visiting caves please be aware of White-Nose Syndrome and help protect bats.)

Our first stop was Boyd Cave.
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A short dirt path from the day use area led to the railed entrance of the lava tube.
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There was a rockfall warning at the entrance dated 5/26/18.
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We proceeded with caution down into the cave.
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The cave was spacious with varying terrain on the cave floor.
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The cave extends for about half a mile to the left from the entrance and a very short distance to the right.
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We explored as quickly as the terrain allowed given the warning at the entrance and then headed for our next stop at Arnold Ice Cave. To reach the parking area from Boyd Cave we continued east on China Hat Rd. an additional 3.1 miles and turned right onto FR 300 for half a mile to a parking area at a signboard.
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The entrance to Arnold Ice Cave is located just beyond and to the left of the parking area.
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A path led down to the entrance where a semi-steep scramble past the remains of a staircase led down to the cave floor.
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In the early half of the 1900’s ice from the cave was harvested for use by locals but that ended with the advent of refrigeration and since then at least a half-mile of the cave has become inaccessible as the ice has reclaimed that portion. It was too warm for any ice in the accessible part of the cave during our visit but there were some interestingly colored rocks along the ceiling.
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The cave extended just far enough to lose the light of the entrance before forcing us to turn around and climb back out.
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A more interesting cave (at least nowadays) was our next goal. Hidden Forest Cave is approximately a quarter mile from Arnold Ice Cave. To reach the cave we followed a dirt track south from Arnold Ice Cave.
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This path quickly passed to the left of a pit where we kept straight on what became a narrower footpath after crossing another old roadbed. Soon we passed a second pit on our right.
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We kept close to the rim of this pit on the left then shortly after passing the second pit we crossed a second sandy roadbed and arrived alonside a third pit.
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The entrance to Hidden Forest Cave lay at the NE end of the pit but the way down into the pit lay at the opposite end. We walked along the rim past a really colorful tree trunk and met a few of the locals.
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We followed a path down into the pit where we found a few wildflowers blooming.
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At the far end of the pit was the entrance to the cave.
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The cave was a fairly short scramble to a small opening.
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Climbing out of this opening brought us to the floor of the second pit we had passed.
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After exploring this “hidden forest” we returned through the passage and headed back to our car.
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Our final stop for the day was along the closed Wind Cave entrance road. The small parking area is located along FR 200 which was just over a half-mile back along China Hat Road from FR 300 (2.5 miles east of the Boyd Cave entrance road). A stop sign on the north side of China Hat Road marks the correct road.
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Wind Cave is closed year round to the public for bats but we hoped to visit Pictograph Cave which according to our guidebook and everything we could find online was only closed from October 15th – May 1st. In order to reach Pictograph Cave we followed the closed road for half a mile to the Wind Cave Parking area. Along the road we spotted some really bright Indian Paintbrush amid the sagebrush.
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We also found the Bat Cave but there was no sign of Batman.
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There was also a nice view of the snowy Cascades across the sagebrush of the high desert.
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We arrived at the gated Wind Cave where our guidebook directed us to “..continue NE on the sandy double track road..”.
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This is where our day began to get really interesting. The correct sandy double track was blocked by the log where the Wind Cave closure sign was attached as well as several boulders. A second sandy double track led directly north from Wind Cave past the covered entrance to its skylight.
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We hadn’t seen the correct track and hadn’t paid enough attention to the N versus NE direction this track was heading in and we just kept walking. We were supposed to follow the double track for approximately .7 miles to a gate with a railroad tie. After passing through the gate we were supposed to veer left and quickly pass through another barbwired fence before passing between two signed caves. The guidebook also said that if we crested a rise and could see the Cascade Mountains we’d gone too far. That last part had us really confused because we had been able to see the mountains the whole time as we followed the track we’d chosen. There was another set of footprints in the sand though so we followed them as the track became fainter. The scenery was nice and we spotted several birds including a few hawks and Heather noticed a pygmy short horned lizard.
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After about fifteen minutes we’d completely lost the track and footprints and realized we’d done something wrong. I should have set up a waypoint on our GPS marking the cave location but hadn’t so using it was no real help. Luckily Heather had signal just long enough to pull it up on Google Maps on her phone. We used her phone to navigate towards the caves location but it wasn’t ideal. First off it was a lot harder to see exactly where we were in relation to the cave location using the phone vs the Garmin and secondly locations on Google Maps are not always correct (sometimes they are way off). We had already gone a little over half a mile and we wandered for another .9 miles in a wide arc in the direction shown on the phone before seeing what looked like it might be a cave near a barb wired fence.
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It didn’t seem to match the description in the book but it was near the point shown on Google so we headed over to check it out.
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It turned out to be a very shallow overhang.
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At some point Heather’s phone ran out of power so we were once again left with only the Garmin which was still no help in this case. The immediate area we were in had several promising looking features and we wandered to the NE a bit checking possibilities. I finally spotted what appeared to be two sets of short sign posts amid the sagebrush way off in the distance. We headed over to check them out since the book had mentioned such signs. As we approached the nearest pair we spotted a large pit.
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That was the SW opening with no way down. Just across from it was the NE pit which is the explore-able one only the restrictive sign indicated that the cave was now closed year round to protect bat habitat.
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We stopped at the pits edge honoring the closure sign and were not able to pick out the pictographs near the right hand tunnel. At the time we weren’t entirely certain that these were indeed Pictograph Cave due to year round closure and not having followed the directions to get there.
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We were hot and dusty and had hiked two and a half miles on what was supposed to be a 2.4 mile hike. At least from the cave we were able follow the guidebook directions backwards. We followed a dirt track SSE for .4 miles where we arrived at a railroad tie gate. Before passing through the fence we followed another track east now not being able to remember if after passing through the gate the guidebook had said veer left or right (we had left the book in the car opting to rely on pictures taken with the now dead cell phone). After a short distance we decided that we were on a wild goose chase and the pits we had seen must have been Pictograph Cave. We hiked back to the gate and passed through continuing on the sandy track. We soon ran into a family who asked us if this was the way to Pictograph Cave. We said we thought so explaining that we’d taken a wrong turn and come in form another direction, but there were two signed pits along the track. We continued on eventually arriving back at the Wind Cave turnaround where we discovered how we’d missed the correct sandy track.

We walked back along the road to our car and began to head back toward Bend. We had been hoping to go to the High Desert Museum after the hikes. Despite having spent a lot more time hiking to Pictograph Cave we still would have had 4 plus hours to spend there but two things happened on the drive back, a fire broke out near Bessie Butte along China Hat Road and our battery warning light came on. The fire was far enough off the road that it wasn’t closed yet as we passed by the first firetrucks on scene. Luckily the fire was controlled quickly and didn’t become a major incident.

The battery light was more of an issue. It was Sunday so many places weren’t open and all our user manual said was to stop driving immediately and call a dealer. That wasn’t an option on a forest service road with a fire nearby so we drove into Bend and stopped at the Toyota dealer but they didn’t have any mechanics on duty and couldn’t help. Next we tried a Valvoline Instant Oil but their battery tester was dead. From there we stopped at Baxter Auto where the store clerk was able to test the battery which was low, but that wasn’t necessarily the problem. It could be any number of things related to the electrical system but without a mechanic to check we couldn’t be sure. We then drove to a second Valvoline where, even though it was a long shot, we replaced the battery in hopes that it might work. It didn’t which meant it was likely the alternator. Our vacation plans were suddenly in flux.

We decided to rent a car Monday morning and go ahead with our planned backpacking trip and then we would try and get the car fixed at the end of the week when we returned. Thankfully Heather’s parents offered to take the car in Monday morning for us though and have any necessary repairs done while we were away.

With the plan set we reserved a rental to be picked up at 7:30 from Enterprise and then we realized that we hadn’t remembered our water filter. It was getting close to closing time for the few stores that were still open on a Sunday evening and Heather ran out to Big 5 in hopes of picking up a spare filter. They didn’t have any in stock so she wound up with Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets. We hadn’t used the tablets before so this was going to be interesting. It was starting out to be quite the memorable vacation. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Boyd, Arnold, Hidden Forest, and Pictograph Caves

Categories
Bend/Redmond Bull of the Woods/Opal Creek Central Oregon Hiking Mt. St. Helens Newberry Crater Old Cascades Oregon Throwback Thursday Trip report Washington Washington Cascades

Throwback Thursday – Odds and Ends

With this Throwback Thursday post we will have covered all the trails that we hiked prior to starting this blog and have not been part of a subsequent hike that was featured here. We are combining several hikes in one for a couple of reasons. The remaining hikes were all relatively short, some we have few if any pictures, and one was done on the same day that we did another hike that we did again after we started the blog.

Many of our earliest hikes were centered around Bend, OR and were part of vacations prior to 2010 when we first started to be serious about hiking. These were hikes of opportunity more than conscious efforts to go on a hike.

One such was the 3 mile loop around Suttle Lake. We were staying at one of the cabins at the Suttle Lake Resort and decided to take the trail around the lake. The level hike offered views of the lake and of bald eagles and osprey as they soared over the lake watching for fish. On that hike we didn’t even carry a camera.

Another camera-less but worthwhile hike was the Lava River Cave. This mile long lava tube south of Bend is a great stop for kids and adults and can easily be combined with a visit to nearby Lava Lands or the High Desert Museum.

In 2007, while in Bend on vacation in July, we hiked up Pilot Butte. A mile long trail in the middle of town leads up to the top of the 4148′ summit which offers view on a clear day north to Mt. Adams in Washington.
Mountain locator on Pilot Butte

It was a bit hazy during this visit but the snowy peaks of the Cascades from Mt. Bachelor to the Three Sisters were still visible.
Mt. Bachelor, Tumalo Mt., Ball Butte, Broken Top, and the Three Sisters

On that same trip we took a stroll along the Deschutes River Trail from the Mt. Bachelor Village upriver to a footbridge and returned on a loop via Reed Market Road.
Deschutes River

Geese on the Deschutes River

Scarlet gilia

Deer along the Deschutes River Trail in Bend, OR

Deschutes River

Grand Collomia

The hikes weren’t all in Central Oregon. On 7/27/2009 we completed the 1.8 mile round trip to Henline Falls from the Henline Falls Trailhead. The trail is approximately 45 minutes east of Salem and features an old mine shaft near the waterfall.
Henline Falls

Abandoned mine shaft

Abandonded mine shaft

We also started up the nearby Henline Mountain Trail (trailhead) that day but were not in decent enough shape to make it very far.

The final short hike along Lava Canyon near Mt. St. Helens was done after our first hike to Ape Canyon on 9/17/2012. We went back to Ape Canyon in 2015 (post) but that time we did Ape Cave for the other hike.

After finishing our Ape Canyon hike in 2012 we walked from the Ape Canyon Trailhead .25 miles to the Lava Canyon Trailhead.
Trail map near Lava Canyon

A .4 mile trail leads down to the start of a short half mile loop.
Lava Canyon Trail sign

We stayed left at the start of the loop staying on the west side of the Muddy River. A footbridge led across the river above Lava Canyon Falls which was below the trail but mostly obscured.
Lava Canyon Trail sign at the start of the loop

Lava Canyon Falls

Just .2 miles from the first bridge the loop crosses the river on a suspension bridge.
Suspension Bridge over Lava Canyon

Suspension Bridge over Lava Canyon

Upstream from the suspension bridge the Muddy River careens down Triple Falls.
Triple Falls

A .3 mile trail returns to the footbridge along the river along the eastern bank.
Muddy River

Muddy River

Upper Lava Canyon Falls

Henline Falls, Henline Mountain, and Lava Canyon are all in our future plans and reliving these and all our other Throwback Thursday hikes has been a lot of fun. Even though the information is dated hopefully they have provided some additional ideas for places to visit here in the Pacific Northwest. As always check with the managing agencies for current trail conditions before heading out. Happy Trails!

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Bend/Redmond Central Oregon Hiking Oregon Throwback Thursday Trip report

Throwback Thursday – Shevlin Park

On 8/5/2011, during a vacation in Central Oregon, we headed to Shevlin Park on the outskirts of Bend for an easy day hike. The 4.8 mile loop was a perfect break in the midst of a week of longer hikes.

We parked in a large lot at the park entrance and walked across the park’s road to a trail that passed through a meadow for 100 yards before crossing over Tumalo Creek on a footbridge.
Shevlin Park sign

Bridge over Tumalo Creek

The trail climbed just a bit to a rim on the canyon above the creek. A fire in 1990 was stopped at the rim which still showed a few signs of the blaze. Birds and chipmunks were plentiful along this stretch.
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Loop Trail in Shevlin Park

Lewis's Woodpecker

Chipmunk

Chipping sparrow

Tumalo Creek flowed through the forest in the green canyon below.
Tumalo Creek

At approximately the 1.75 mile mark we forked to the right and followed a trail back down into the canyon and crossed a side creek on another footbridge. We began encountering mosquitoes at that point and having had given enough blood already that week we picked up the pace quickly covering the next .6 miles where yet another bridge led us back over Tumalo Creek.
Tumalo Creek

The trail once again climbed away from the creek which provided relief from the mosquitoes. From the bridge it was 2.2 miles back to the parking lot. At the 1.5 mile mark a side trail led down to the Hixon Crossing covered bridge which we had a nice view of from above.
Hixson Crossing Covered Bridge

The trail passed Ponderosa Pine trees and some interesting rock formations where golden-mantled ground squirrels and gray Douglas squirrels watched us as we passed by.
Rocks along the Loop Trail in Shevlin park

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel

With a relatively short distance and only 300′ of elevation gain the Shevlin Park loop was a great choice for a recovery day. It’s proximity to Bend also meant we had plenty of time left in the day to pursue other activities in town. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Shevlin Park

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Bend/Redmond Central Oregon Hiking Oregon Trip report

Flatiron Rock – Oregon Badlands Wilderness

We thought our hikes were done for the year after visiting Chip Ross Park and Dimple Hill earlier this month, but a rare opportunity to hike with our Son on Christmas Eve couldn’t be passed up.  We were heading to Bend to celebrate Christmas with our families and after driving over Santiam Pass  we met up with Dominique and drove to the Flatiron Rock Trailhead on Highway 20 east of town.

Flatiron Rock Trailhead

Our plan was to repeat part of a 22.6 mile hike we had done this past May. This time around we were shooting for a 7 mile hike out to Flatiron Rock and back.

We followed the same course as on our previous visit starting out on the 1.9 mile Ancient Juniper Trail. Unlike last time there was a few inches of snow on the trail and more along side it.
Trail sign in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Ancient Juniper Trail - Oregon Badlands Wilderness

It was a beautiful day with temperatures just below freezing. The sagebrush and junipers were covered in snow and robins sang as they gobbled up juniper berries.
Ancient Juniper Trail - Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Snow covered sagebrush

Robin catching snow?

When we arrived at the Ancient Juniper Trail junction with the Flatiron Rock Trail things were a litter whiter than last time.
Trail junction in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

Trail junction in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness

At the junction we turned left onto the Flatiron Rock Trail and followed it 1.6 more miles to Flatiron Rock at a junction with the Castle Trail.
Flatiron Rock from the Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock from the Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail junction with the Castle Trail

The number of hikers who had been through the snow before us had been dwindling and at Flatiron Rock it appeared that no one had ventured up into the rock itself since the last snow.
Flatiron Rock

I reached the rock first and headed inside its passageways to get a birds eye view of Heather and Dominique coming up the trail.
View from Flatiron Rock

View from Flatiron Rock

Flatiron Rock Trail

Although a few clouds limited the views from Flatiron Rock they were better than they had been on the cloudy day in May as both the Middle and North Sister appeared on the horizon.
Middle and North Sister from Flatiron Rock

Middle and North Sister from Flatiron Rock

In addition to those 10,000′ peaks Black Butte, Gray Butte, and Powell Butte rose above the high desert.
Black Butte

Gray Butte

Powell Butte

Several passages on Flatiron Rock allow for a nearly half mile loop past colorful lichen and interesting rock formations including a couple of arches.
Inside Flatiron Rock

Lichen on the rocks

Rock arch in Flatiron Rock

Rock arch in Flatiron Rock

Various animal tracks could be seen in the snow but the only ones we saw were the robins which seemed to particularly like the rock.
Robins (at least 14) at Flatiron Rock

After completing the loop we retraced our steps to the junction with the Ancient Juniper Trail where we remained on the Flatiron Trail for 1.2 miles to the trailhead. Between the passing clouds and the lowering of the Sun the light began to soften along this final stretch sometimes leaving the snow with a beautiful blueish color.
Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail

Flatiron Rock Trail

After finishing the hike we drove to my parents house and relaxed waiting for them to return with my brother and his family. It was the perfect way to kick of Christmas weekend and to cap off our 2016 hiking year all in one. Happy Trails (and Holidays)!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157674546328223

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Bend/Redmond Central Oregon Hiking Oregon Trip report

Oregon Badlands Wilderness

You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…..they often go awry. After putting together a multi-year hiking schedule, much of it will need to be rearranged after our first vacation. We had planned on spending the week in SE Oregon hiking some of the most remote trails in the State, but the weather had other thoughts. Many of the trailheads in that area become inaccessible if it rains which is what the forecast was threatening heading into our vacation week.

Our original plan was to visit family in Bend on Saturday then hike in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness on the way to Jordan Valley on Sunday. We were hopeful that the forecast would clear up and headed to Bend for the visit but by Saturday night the chance of precipitation had increased so we decided not to risk traveling all that way and not being able reach the trails. We instead turned to Plan B which was to spend the week on the Southern Oregon Coast in Gold Beach. Since we were already in Bend though we stuck with our planned hike in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness before heading home to repack for a trip to the coast.

It was a drizzly morning when we arrived at the Flatiron Rock Trailhead fifteen miles east of Bend along Highway 20.
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Our planned 13.5 mile hike was to start on the 1.9 mile Ancient Juniper Trail then take the Flatiron Rock Trail to Flatiron Rock. We’d then make a loop by taking the Castle Trail to Badlands Rock and the Badlands Rock Trail which we could follow to a junction with the Dry River and Homestead Trails. After taking a side trip on the Dry River Trail to visit the Dry River Channel we would use the Homestead Trail to get back to the Flatiron Rock Trail and return to the trailhead. Of course the best laid plans of mice and men……

There were a fair amount of wildflowers along the Ancient Juniper Trail as well as plenty of juniper trees. We’ve always enjoyed the uniqueness of junipers and that uniqueness was on display here.
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We also spotted a couple of rabbits and bluebirds along the way.
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The signage was good at the first junction pointing us in the direction of Flatiron Rock.
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After 1.5 miles on the Flatiron Rock Trail we came to the junction with the Castle Trail.
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Flatiron Rock was also at this junction. One of the highlights of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness are the explore-able volcanic rock formations that dot the landscape. We followed a path between the pressure ridges and explored.
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After wandering around Flatiron Rock we took the Castle Trail, which passed another explore-able rock formation, before arriving at Badlands Rock which towered above the surrounding area.
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We attempted to pass through Badlands Rock from the east side but a pile of large boulders made it impossible to get through without some extra effort.
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We went back around to the west end and after a fairly easy scramble managed to get inside the walls of Badlands Rock.
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At this point our plans began to go awry. Looking at the map we were using we were expecting a trail to bend slightly to the right after passing Badlands Rock but we didn’t see a trail sign and the openness of the area and profusion of old dirt roads and game trails have left paths all over. We had briefly taken a right hand turn at the rock formation along the Castle Trail and were now thinking that maybe that had been the correct path after all. We decided to head back to that spot and inspect it more thoroughly.

This time we explored the rock formation. It had some interesting features and a nice view of Badlands Rock.
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It also, apparently, had a Turkey Vulture living in it. As we were passing by, we heard a ruckus coming from the rocks and saw something moving in a crevice. A vulture popped out and stood on the rocks a short distance from us.
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We excused ourselves and headed back down to what we believed was the correct trail while the vulture circled overhead to make sure we left. Upon further review of the map and our GPS we decided that the trail we wanted was not here and was in fact back at Badlands Rock. We turned around and returned to Badlands Rock going a little further around it this time where we finally spotted a lone trail sign.
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We made our next mistake here following the pointer even though it didn’t seem to agree with what our map indicated. Instead of bending right it went left/straight but the only thing to the right appeared to be an old dirt track that made a sharp turn. We thought that the trail we decided on probably bent back around to the right just a bit further on, which it did convincing us that we were on the right track. We thought we were on a 2.7 mile stretch of the Badlands Rock Trail that led to the junction with the Dry River and Homestead Trails so we settled in and enjoyed the scenery.
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After awhile we started to feel like we should have reached that junction already. We were once again questioning our route when we did spot a sign post at a trail junction.
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The problem was we had no idea what the Tumulus Trail was. Our map did not show it (it didn’t extend out as far as we’d gone). We hummed and hawed for awhile looking at the map and GPS before finally deciding we had gone the wrong way at Badlands Rock. We didn’t know where the Tumulus Trail went and we weren’t sure about trying to navigate cross country, so we headed back the way we’d come, which turned out to be 3.3 miles in the wrong direction.

We picked up the correct path at Badlands Rock and headed south passing through a more open landscape to the correct trail junction. This area was full of birds.
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We turned up the Dry River Trail for .8 miles turning off at three boulders to find the Dry River Canyon.
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Once upon a time the canyon was home to a tributary of the Deschutes River. The rocks provided proof of the vanished river.
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We passed through the canyon for a ways then climbed out and cut cross country back to the Dry River Trail and returned to the junction with the Homestead Trail. It was another 2.2 miles on the Homestead Trail back to the Flatiron Rock Trail then an additional 1.2 miles to the car. When it was all said and done the GPS showed a total of 22.6 miles and it had taken us a little of 9 hours. We were leaving the trailhead about the time we had planned on being back home to repack for our trip to Gold Beach. Our plans had truly gone awry.

We ate dinner at Pilot Butte Drive In before leaving Bend then drove back to Salem to get ready for our next adventure in the morning. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157667960760550

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Hiking Oakridge Area Old Cascades Oregon Trip report

Tire Mountain

June wildflowers and a “possible” waterfall were are goal for our recent trip to Tire Mountain near Oakridge, OR. Our guidebook showed a 7.6 mile hike starting from the Alpine Trailhead, linking up to the Tire Mountain trail, and turning around after reaching the summit of Tire Mountain. Looking at the forest service maps of the area I noticed that the Tire Mountain trail continued west beyond the junction with the summit trail to a trailhead on road 5824. Along that portion of the trail was a creek crossing where it appeared there might be a waterfall. Thinking that a 7.6 mile hike was a little short for a 2 1/2 hour drive I thought we could investigate the possible waterfall for a little extra exercise.

The Alpine trail started off uphill on a forested ridge where the path was lined with small rocks. The usual woodland flowers were present including vanilla leaf, solomonseal, candyflower, and bunchberry. We also spotted some wild ginger.
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Just a bit over half a mile in the trail entered the first of the meadows. The flowers did not disappoint and as an added bonus several cascade peaks were visible from this meadow.
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Diamond Peak
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Mt. Bachelor
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Broken Top
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The flower show continued as we passed through more meadows on the way to the junction with the Tire Mountain trail. Along the way The Three Sisters joined the view.
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At the 1.2 mile mark we found the Tire Mountain trail and turned right. We passed through several smaller meadows which were home to a variety of different flowers, some of which were unknown to us.
Columbine
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Plectritis & Larkspur
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Plectritis & Yellow Monkeyflower
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Camas
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Paintbrush
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Coastal Manroot & ?
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Cat’s Ear Lily
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Another unknown
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Possibly Oregon Sunshine
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Giant Blue-Eyed Mary, Plectritis & unknown
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Buttercups
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Wild Iris
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We were amazed at the number of flowers and we could see that there were even more higher up on the hillsides.
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After the series of smaller meadows the trail entered the largest meadow of the day. Here balsamroot joined the flower bonanza.
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Ookow
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Wallflower
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Unknown
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Blue Gilia
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When we left the meadow I remarked that we hadn’t seen any lupine at all. As soon as we hit the next small meadow that was no longer the case.
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From this meadow we also got a good view of Tire Mountain and Diamond Peak again.
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The trail then entered the forest before splitting. To the left was the 1/2mi path to the summit while the right fork headed down toward road 5824. We headed up to the summit to check out the former lookout site. The trail was nice despite there being a few downed trees to maneuver around.
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When we reached the brushy summit we found a number of additional flower types.
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Unknown
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Fawn Lily
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Unknown
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Wild onion
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Phlox
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Buscuitroot
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Despite being a former lookout site there was no view from the summit. In fact the lookout had been placed up in a tree in order to have a view of the surrounding area. We explored a bit before heading back down to the trail split and starting our search for the waterfall.

From the split, the Tire Mountain trail descended fairly quickly through a series of switchbacks. Several bridges crossed seasonal streams amid the large trees.
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It was a lot further down to the creek I was looking for than I had anticipated and we were all dreading the climb back up. We finally rounded a ridge end and spotted the bridge that crossed the creek I was looking for. There was indeed a waterfall but after seeing it we knew why the guidebook doesn’t mention continuing on to it. It was a pretty sad display lol.
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After soaking in the torrent we started our climb. We did our best to focus on the ever present bird song as we trudged along. Grey jays, varied thrushes, and at least one woodpecker flew from tree to tree. The woodpecker was the only one that stayed still long enough for me to get a picture.
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The meadows were just as impressive on the return trip. The only real bummer for the day was seeing a layer of smoke over the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor. Alas the fire season started early this year with the Two Bulls Fire burning near Bend, OR. 😦
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Hopefully it isn’t a sign of things to come. Happy (and fire free) trails!

flickr:https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/sets/72157644669235877/
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High Cascades Hiking Oregon Three Sisters Area Trip report

Tam McArthur Rim

An extra long weekend brought us to Central Oregon for a pair of Labor Day weekend hikes. We had planned the coup de gras of our hiking season for September 1st when we were set to climb the South Sister, but first we decided to take a “warm up” hike on the 31st on our way to Bend, OR. We chose Tam McArthur Rim which is located about 16 miles south of Sisters, OR at Three Creek Lake. The trail offered an up close look at Broken Top and a view of the Three Sisters to help us get excited for the next days climb. We also had the option of making this a short hike of just 5 miles by turning around at the rim viewpoint, but of course we opted to lengthen the trip. 🙂

The trail offered views from the beginning with Tam McArthur Rim and the North & Middle Sister looming over Three Creek Lake.
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The trail climbed for the first 3/4 of a mile up a ridge to the rim’s plateau. Along the way views opened up across the lake to the north revealing several Cascade peaks. When we reached the plateau the mountains were temporarily lost as we traveled south across a semi-barren landscape. After a half mile the trail bent right and began gradually climbing along the sloped plateau. Mountains once again were visible, this time to the south. Mt. Bachelor rose above the plateau with Tumalo Mountain to it’s left.
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As we gained elevation along the plateau the tops of Broken Top and the South Sister began to peek over the rims edge. The plateau itself was an interesting mix of rocks and sand dotted with clumps of trees. The plants were limited to those capable of surviving windy conditions on little water. Just prior to the final climb to the viewpoint the trail approached the cliff edge where we got our first good look at Little Three Creeks Lake.
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Upon reaching the viewpoint we found that it was a nice wide area with a 360 degree view. At an elevation of 7730′ it was high enough to see a good distance. It was a wonderful spot to take a break and have a bite to eat and would have been an acceptable place to declare victory and turn around. While we sat at the viewpoint we were joined by a Red Crossbill who apparently thought it was a good place for a break as well. Although the view here was good enough to call it a day the trail continued on so we would too.

North & Middle Sister, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack from the viewpoint.
North & Middle Sister, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack from the viewpoint.

Continuing on from the viewpoint the trail stayed fairly level as it followed the edge of the rim toward Broken Top. The open landscape of the plateau meant constant views with Mt. Bachelor to the south, a string of Cascade peaks to the NW and Central Oregon to the east. Between the trail and Central Oregon the plateau was dotted with patches of snow that were still melting feeding silver creeks that flowed down toward the Deschutes River far below. The most prominent of these was the North Fork of Tumalo Creek.

North Fork of the Tum
North Fork of Tumalo Creek

The trail skirted around one of these snow fields and climbed a cinder slope where we could see the final mile of our path before us.
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The final mile climbed a cinder ridge to the base of Broken Hand. From this ridge the views became even grander. To the south beyond Mt. Bachelor was Diamond Peak, Mt. Thielsen and eventually Mt. Scott which resides on the rim of Crater Lake.
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To the north we could see all the way to Mt. Adams in Washington although haze made it difficult to see it well.
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We ate lunch at the base of Broken Hand admiring the colors and shapes of the volcanic rocks of Broken Top and the Three Sisters. We spotted a fellow hiker sitting on the rim of the moraine containing Broken Top Lake, a destination we hope to see next year.
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We spent quite awhile surveying the landscape around us, and I was especially intrigued by what appeared to be a good sized waterfall to the SE of the Middle Sister. It may have been along the outlet creek of one of the Chambers Lakes (possibly Camp Lake).
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We also tried to spot climbers on top of the South Sister since we planned on being up there the next day but couldn’t make anyone out.

On our way back we began running into more hikers and other wildlife too. A silent group of ravens glided by apparently searching for something along the plateau.
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We also spotted an impressive spider which had bright red legs and was just a bit larger than a quarter.
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This was a great way to start a weekend of hiking and really got us excited about our hike up the South Sister. Happy Trails.

Facebook photos: https://www.facebook.com/deryl.yunck/media_set?set=a.10202026938382203.1073741853.1448521051&type=3
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