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Begins: Apr 1, 2008
Date: Wed, Aug 20th, 2003
Start: Moraine Lake (South Sister)
Daily Distance: 20
Trip Distance: 223.8
Entry Visits: 519
Journal Visits: 69,251
Guestbook Views: 3,645
Guestbook Entrys: 9
South Sister (Moraine Lake to Creeklet)
We rose at dawn and hiked to the summit of South Sister by mid morning, before the sun could turn a strenuous hike into an unbearable one. South Sister, like most of the Cascade volcanoes has steep sides of sand and scree and to call its ascent a hike, is a relative term—climb in many places would be a more accurate description. South Sister is a composite volcano, as is Middle Sister and Broken Top, any of which may erupt explosively in the future. Its most recent eruptions of rhyolite from flank vents occurred some 2,000 years ago.
Like the climb up Thielsen, this hike to the top of South Sister was well worth the effort. The views from South Sister, the youngest of the three sisters once called Faith, Hope and Charity, were superlative. Looking east and south we saw Broken Top and Mount Bachelor nearby and then in the distance Mount Thielsen, Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Shasta in California. To the north almost in a line were: Middle Sister, North Sister, Mount Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and finally, Mount Adams in Washington State. We stood atop this volcano at a little more than 10,000 feet and could see across the three most western states from California to Washington!
In the volcano crater snow was permanently banked on its sides and at its center were two pools of aquamarine water—deceivingly inviting in tropical warm colors. We circumnavigated the crater before making the grueling descent in the heat of the day. This was one of the many serendipitous events of these 13 days, because the next day we awoke to the smell of smoke, which completely obliterated the views of the day before. Today, on this magical day, the devastation of the coming fire was unimaginable.
By afternoon we had returned to the PCT and we found a creek to stop and spend the night a few miles further on up the trail.
Confessions Of A Serial Hiker
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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