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Three Sisters Wilderness
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Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Three Sisters Wilderness on 09/24/2009 13:39:01 MDT Print View

First off I need to thank Aaron, a fellow Oregon BPLer for fitting this trip in to his busy schedule. Without him I wouldn't have done this hike. Now with that said we hiked a 30 mile stretch of the PCT starting at Elk Lake and
ending at HWY 242. This is probably the most beautiful stretch of the Oregon portion of the PCT.

The plan was to hike at least 20 miles the first day and camp in the Obsidian Cliffs area. The next day we would
hike the remaining miles out to the highway. I wasn't sure if this was possible, I hadn't been on an overnight hike in over a year and I had never hiked 20 miles in a day before! I was also meeting Aaron, someone I didn't know, I
was definitely going outside my comfort zone on this trip.

I picked Aaron up at his house a little after 8:00 a.m. As we drove to the trail head we talked about work,
marriage, school, hiking and of course gear. We seemed to have a lot in common which help put the anxiety of
meeting someone new to rest.

We reached the trail head at about 9:00 a.m. and after some stretching we hit the trail. It was good to be out
hiking again. I felt euphoric finally being able to do what I loved. Unfortunately 10 minutes in to the hike I was
stung by a Bee which brought me back to reality.
South Sister
For Most of the morning and in to the afternoon we walked in the shadow of the South Sister.
Middle Sister
The Middle Sister didn't come in to full view until about mile 14. Along the way we ran in to a couple of groups of hunters on horseback and several groups of traditional backpackers. One group must have had 12 guys and all of
them were carrying heavy loads. We overheard one of them say if he stopped he was going to cramp up. Aaron an U.L. ambassador made it a point to try and spread the word whenever he had an opportunity. I have to admit I enjoyed
watching Aaron hand his pack to one of the Trad. Backpackers and the surprised look on his face when he felt how
light it was and he seemed very interested when Aaron told him about BPL.
obsidian cliffs area
At 5:00 p.m. we reached the Obsidian Cliffs area. Aaron shook my hand and congratulated me on my first 20+ mile day and we set about finding a camp spot. Earlier in the day we had discussed hiking the entire 30 miles and sleeping
at the trail head but decided against it. A decision I am glad we made because Aaron found an Awesome camping spot on a ridge above the trail.


We ended up going to bed a little after 7:00 p.m. I had a difficult time falling asleep. I found myself flipping
through the pictures of my 3 month old daughter on my digital camera. This was the first time night I had been away from her since she was born.
washington, jack,  and jefferson

We headed out the next morning at 8:00 a.m. My legs were a little stiff and I had a hard time getting in to rhythm. Aaron seemed fine. I knew he was a stronger walker than me but now the gap between our physical abilities was more
We took more breaks the last eight miles partial because we didn't want to get to the trail head to
early and I didn't have the same spring in my step like the day before.
We made it to HWY 242 shortly after 11:30 and there to greet us were my Wife and daughter. My wife had brought us
Water and Pepsi. This was nice because Aaron and I had finished our water a mile before the hwy.

What I took from the trip:
I met a new friend/Hiking partner who I had a great time with. This was my first non-cooking trip which made food
prep easy. I found out that the cookies&cream Powerbar is the best (Thanks Aaron!). I learned that after an entire
summer on the couch I was still able to get up and walk 22 miles in 7 hrs minus breaks (thanks Dad).

Negatives of the Trip:
I missed my daughter roll over for the first time!

Sleep system:
Therma-rest Prolite 3
MLD Soul Bivy
MLD Silnylon Tarp (not used)
Marmot Hydrogen Sleeping Bag

Icebreakers Tech T lite
Cloudveil Cool Pants
REI Cool Max Socks
Inov-8 Terroc Shoes
Montbell Thermawrap Jacket
Native Eyewear Sunglasses
Dodgers Hat

ULA Conduit

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Beautiful! on 09/24/2009 14:58:35 MDT Print View

It's been nearly 20 years since I've hiked in the Three Sisters Wilderness, but that shot of the South Sister was instantly recognizable! And Obsidian Cliffs! I've camped there too!

Thanks so much for sharing your hike with us! It brought back a lot of great memories!

Just don't make a habit of missing the significant events in your daughter's life! Even the mountains aren't worth that!

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Three Sisters Wilderness on 09/24/2009 18:29:50 MDT Print View

Michael, Your pictures are fantastic. It is so strange...I live in North Carolina, but I am sitting here in a hotel in Portland where almost one year ago to the day (Sept 27th is one year) I left from to hike the loop around the Three Sisters. I was alone and it took three and half days but was the most spetacular days of hiking I have experienced. I'm wishing I had my gear and could spare the time away from my wife and kids to get into the incredible Oregon wilderness.

BTW my profile pic is from that trip.

Thanks for sharing.

Edited by jshortt on 09/24/2009 18:31:05 MDT.

Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Re: Beautiful! on 09/25/2009 14:10:06 MDT Print View

Stephen, I'm glad you enjoyed the trip report! Don't worry I don't plan on missing anymore major events in my daughters life, her smiling face is my favorite scenery to photograph!

Michael Mathisen

Locale: Oregon
Re: re: Three Sisters Wilderness on 09/25/2009 14:33:18 MDT Print View

Jamie, thanks for the comments. I wanted to take my Rebel XSI on this trip but it put my pack weight at 18 lbs so I went with my point and shoot camera. That's crazy that almost a year ago you came to Oregon to hike the 3 Sisters loop and your are here now. I am actually planning on doing the loop with Aaron in early October.


Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
Re:Three Sisters Wilderness on 09/30/2009 11:19:34 MDT Print View

Hey Michael,

This was a nice treat to spot after a busy, but wonderful wedding and honeymoon!=) Very nice pics and TR; thanks for sharing with everyone here @ BPL! It was really rewarding for me to see you complete your first 20+ mile day; thanks for being a trooper! I will post some of the pics I took on this thread as soon as I get a free moment. I'm looking forward to the Three Sisters Loop hike and planning; Oregon BPL Represent! =)Cookies and cream power bars are da BOMB!



Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Three Sisters Wilderness on 10/03/2009 15:10:22 MDT Print View

I always enjoy seeing photos from Three Sisters. That loop is a great trip, with lots of different sections and sights. Thanks!