Several weeks ago I posted some pictures from some hikes to volcanic peaks near Bend, Oregon. I had been told by many that the trails to the these summits were good warm-ups as preparation for my goal to climb the trail to South Sister, the third highest mountain in Oregon.
Hiking sites report this trail is to be considered a formidable challenge and is rated exceedingly steep, but not technical. I left this morning in 29 degree weather and after 1 1/2 miles of significant uphill through dense forest, I reached a high mountain plateau. However flat and relaxing this meadow may seem, as shown in the upper picture, the majestic and ominous presence of South Sister at 10,400 feet looms in the background and I had 4000 vertical feet yet to climb. I took a number of pictures of the relentlessly ascending trail covered with scree and snow as I ascended relentlessly uphill above the timber line. Like most inexperienced day hikers, I grew fatigued, exacerbated by the effect of the rarefied mountain air. Finally after several grueling hours, I reached the summit and felt incredibly elated. In the second photo, looking North, the nearby peaks are Middle Sister and North Sister. In the distance, the skyline is graced by Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Mount St. Helens and Mt Rainier, which is over 350 miles away, are visible by looking at the enlargement. I have so many feelings and thoughts tonight about this experience which are personal. However, most of all, I wish to thank publicly those bloggers who posted on my previous pictures and offered encouragement as well as to various friends, family members and especially Tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo and my son Adam, who wishes his father to stay young.