I never take a camera with me when I go mountain biking, so I asked Barry if I could borrow his phone to snap a quick photo of the view of the Columbia River Gorge that we had while biking this weekend. There'd been blah weather in Portland, so we headed east and to the side of the Gorge that always seems sunny. I had an awesome time on a trail I'd never been on before (a trail that was more my speed than Barry's, but with such good views that I think he didn't mind). Lunch at Everybody's Brewing, a drive home through the Gorge with non-stop stunning sights, and a perfectly relaxing evening at home capped off the mellow weekend that I needed.
On the morning of our third and final day of making our way around South Sister, I woke up feeling satisfied with the prior day's long hike and feeling high on what a great birthday I'd had. We quickly packed up camp and got out on the trail early since we had 15 miles ahead of us... and birthday presents waiting to be opened back at home. There wasn't a ton of elevation gain to deal with so the hike wasn't too strenuous. But it did go on and on, through more beautiful fields, past the Green Lakes, over idyllic streams, and finally through a dramatic burn zone. There were big high fives when we found our way back to the trailhead and there were quickly-devoured burgers in the town of Sisters. How happy we were that we didn't turn back after our wrong turn on day one.
up and at 'em
such a pretty trail along a beautiful stream
making our way to green lakes
miles through burned forest
As we thought (and really hoped) would be the case, Barry and I woke up refreshed and excited to continue on our hike around South Sister even though we'd been set back a bit the day prior. Plus, it was my birthday! Pushing on to see more of what we knew would be fantastic sights just seemed to be the right thing to do, even if we had to make up for lost ground. We hung out at Camp Lake for a bit, I opened a sweet birthday card from Barry (I like a thoughtfully written card more than any other gift), and then we started off with a couple miles of backcountry hiking followed by miles upon miles of trail with varied scenery. Brace yourself if you intend to scroll through photos below... we saw a LOT on day two of our hike. Barry's favorite part was the uncharted scrambles we did through rock fields. My favorites were the high open meadows full of fall color and peaks all around. Over the course of the day, Barry worked on his plan of wishing me a happy 42nd birthday forty-two times. We were giddy with the solitude and beauty that surrounded us, and eventually we were beat. Another long day of hiking had us limping a bit as we finally arrived at Moraine Lake. It was such a relief to reach that destination: to be back on track and to arrive at the spot at which we'd intended to camp on the second night of our trip, to be able to soak our tired, aching feet in cold water, and to toast my birthday with a beer that Barry had stashed in his pack before we left. It turned out to be the best birthday I've had in a long time.
birthday morning at camp lake
from the lake to a backcountry hike through rocky terrain
back on the trail
meadows lined with obsidian piles
finally! moraine lake comes into sight
I turned 42 this week. It is no secret that I love birthdays and like to make a big deal out of them. Barry planned a somewhat ambitious backpacking trip for us in order to celebrate. We took a day off of work to extend our weekend and the day before my birthday we started out for a hike around South Sister. Day one's hike was going beautifully until we realized many miles in that we'd taken a wrong turn and, in doing so, added a couple miles and a decent amount of elevation gain to our day. That was tough for me to deal with. I had to scrape together any physical and mental energy I had left after a long day on the trail to turn around and get back on track so we could get as close as possible to our planned stopping point for the night. We finally arrived at at Camp Lake (a couple miles short of the destination we'd wanted to get to on our first day) with sore bodies and tired minds. We set up our tent and decided that we'd get a good night's sleep before deciding if we should push on with our initial plans to make it all the way around the mountain (the lost miles on day one meant we'd have to add more mileage to the already long days we had ahead of us) or turn back the following day. Regardless, we'd had a hike full of stunning views and absolutely perfect weather, so all-in-all birthday eve was great.