Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mom's B-day Weekend Adventure (Part 1)

Mom wanted to have an adventure and do something challenging for her birthday. So a few months back mom asked if I would want to take her and Jodie (my little sister) up the South Sister. Of course I said "Sure, it'll be fun!"

View Larger Map

Mom didn't want to try to the 12 mile, 4850ft elevation gain trip in one day. I don't blame her, I've done it. Not much fun. After looking over the maps, I proposed the idea of going up the Green Lakes Trail and over to Moraine Lake (about 3 miles). Setting up a quick camp and a quick bit to eat before continuing up the mountain (about 9 miles for the day). This still makes for a long brutal day, but the hike in even though a mile and a half longer is much easier with a mild elevation gain. By setting up a camp prior to making the assault on the summit allows you to drop off any unnecessary gear and weight. This plan left us with an easy 3 mile hike out the next morning. This plan left us with an extra day. The extra time got mom thinking it would be fun to hike in to Sisters Mirror Lake (just down the road). This was a hike mom and dad had done with some of their friends, 32+ years earlier (before I was a twinkle in their eyes). This was another 3.5 miles in, making a 6.5 mile day (not to bad).

The trip began Thursday, mom came up to my place and we got her set up with some of my extra gear. Jodie came over as soon as she got off from work. We loaded up and headed over the pass. With leaving so late in the day we got ourselves a hotel room in Bend for the night. We planed to get an early start the next morning.

Fall Creek

Arriving at the trail head slightly latter than we planed, due to an almost non existent continental breakfast and no ice maker at the hotel we had to make a stop at the store prior to the trail head. Setting foot on the trail around 8:30am, we followed the Green Lake trail along Fall Creek about 2 miles before pulling off the Green Lakes trail and making our way over to Moraine Lake. This is where we set up our camp.

Camping just above Moraine Lake

We finished setting up our tents and prepared for our push up the mountain. Being an hour behind my original schedule, I felt we were still doing alright. We made out way around Moraine Lake and up on the ridge above. Moving right along, I thought we would reach the summit around 3:30pm (4 hours). The remaining climb to the summit was about 3 more miles with an elevation gain of around 3800ft.

A little trail side color.

Here we go, The fun is about to begin.

I think Mom is wondering what she got herself into. I'm thinking we are running short on time.

Around the 9000ft mark things started to really began to slow down. The oxygen begins to get a little thinner and fatigue starts to set in. It was nearing 4pm and we still had a ways to go. I didn't want to push Mom passed what she was physically capable of and yet I wanted her to accomplish what she had set out to do as well. in the back of my mind I still needed to get them back down the mountain hopefully be for dark. My absolute turn around time was 5:30pm this would give us three hours to get back to camp just as it begins to get dark.

Mom made it! Congratulations! Happy Birthday!

We reached the summit at around 5pm (just in time). We enjoyed a quick snack and took in the wonderful views for a few minuets before starting our decent. The decent was much faster and easier, as it usually is.

Enjoying the last good view of things from about 9000ft.

Jodie and Mom enjoying a break, happy to be on their way down the mountain.

As we neared camp (the last mile), the sun began slipping behind the hills.

Broken Top in the evening sun.

Some old gnarly trees along the way.

We arrived back at camp just be for dark. After a quick dinner we all promptly made our way to bed. It had been a very long 11.5 hour day on the trail, and we were all exhausted and soon fast asleep.

To be continued.... (click here for Part 2)

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