Thursday, August 28, 2008

McKenzie Pass and The Three Sisters

This past week I took a three day weekend from work and Matt, my friend Robin and my friends Anya and Stephan who were visiting from Berkeley went on a camping trip to the Three Sisters area of Oregon. I had never been there before and was very excited to explore a new part of Oregon. The Three Sisters area is about an hour east of Eugene Oregon and a 3 hour drive from Portland.

We set out on Thursday and after finding a great camping spot headed off to Proxy falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon. It was a short hike to the falls and we soon discovered that this area shows many signs of Oregons volcanic nature. Here's our intrepid group of travelers heading out through the lava.

We were pleasantly surprised to find huckleberries on the trail and Robin and Anya started picking away (the rest of us joined in too). Originally we were going to go camping in the Indian Heaven area near Mt. Adams specifically so Robin could pick huckleberries for canning or winemaking, however with the late snowpack in Oregon this year the huckleberries had not come in yet!

The glory of Proxy Falls:

After Proxy Falls we headed up to the Dee Wright Observatory at McKenzie Pass. There we checked out a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. The Forest Service has a great display which identifies all the surrounding mountains and the heights and distances. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast so we couldn't see the Three Sisters very clearly (3 10,000 foot plus mountains grouped tightly together) but we did have a nice view of the lava flows and Belknap Crater.

The next day we headed out to a few of the mountain lakes and were fortunate to get a clear day so we could get some nice photos of the 3 sisters. The 3 sisters from Hand Lake:

And the 3 Sisters from Scott Lake:

Here's Matt and I eating lunch at Scott Lake. Matt's expression says "hurry up and take this picture so I can stop being eaten alive by mosquitos". This was the only place that the mosquitos were bad. Quite a pretty lake though. By this point Anya and Stephan had taken off for California and Robin was heading back to the trailhead to do some painting.

That afternoon we headed over to Linton Lake so that Matt could seek out one of his "holy grails" of waterfalls or Linton falls a series of 2-3 falls that fall over 600 feet (that's really really tall). I submitted to going on this adventure with a few reservations and Robin stayed at the trailhead and painted and read.

I'm very happy I went along because the lake was gorgeous. The prettiest lake of the day even if it had no mountain views. It was a beautiful green color and the forest surrounding it felt very wild and natural.

The hike to the lake was about a mile and a half and half way around the lake the maintined trail ends. At that point we encountered huge amounts of downed logs that we had to navigate over and under.

We finally reached the point where the falls runs into Linnton Lake and headed up to find the lower tier which was about a 90 foot falls. It was a bit too much adventure for me, but I hung in there and climbed up and up over logs. After almost making Matt quit looking we finally found the lower falls. It was quite pretty.

The reward for me was finding this beautiful Cascade Lily at the top of the falls. I stopped to photograph it while Matt kept climbing up to see if he could find the bottom of the upper falls.

Even though I was exhausted the trip down made me feel like I would really like to return to Linton Lake for a backpacking trip because it was so beautiful.

Looking over my photos I'm realizing we really packed a lot of events into one short trip. One the way back to Portland we hit up too more waterfalls that were literally right off the side of the road. Koosah and Sahalie falls. They were powerfull and beautiful:

We ended are trip with a rainbow.

This trip really made me want to spend more time in the Three Sisters area. It will be hard to get back there but I'm already looking forward to the next time.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Wow! What beautiful scenery! Your pictures look like postcards!