Circles in the Cascades – Day 1: 18.5 miles

I’ve been home a month now, and have been perfectly content to spend most of my days inside, doing inside things.

The arm is still bothersome, but I’ve been to a physical therapist a few times, and a couple sessions of acupuncture has definitely helped me feel almost healed. I have high hope of being able to return to my regular activities, like yoga. (Oh how I miss it!)

So Cindy, my AT 2002 partner, had a permit for the Three Sisters Wilderness (my backyard), and invited me out.

The idea: Circumnavigate North and Middle Sister, a 30-oddish mile route. The weather was looking like the typical clear, warm, fall day that October can reward us with.

The start: We woke up at 5am. Cindy had arrived a few hours earlier from Portland, and I made us egg and cheese bagels while we packed our few last things. Wheels up by 6am, walking by 7:30.

We were eager to talk trail, afterall, it was Cindy’s 20-anniversery for the AT too!

The morning trail necessitated a brisk pace till we warmed up along with the sun. We were walking through a vast burn area that would take the whole morning to get through. We were heading south from Scott Pass Trailhead.

We lunched at the junction with Demeris Lake, and couldn’t resist the pull of treeline and the pass between South and Middle Sister. The lake at the top, camp lake, is apparently at risk of breaching the glacial rock, which forms its swell in the earth, and flooding Sisters. When I worked for Outward Bound we avoided this drainage for liability reasons, so when Cindy and I reached the water, it seemed i might have miss-remembered the whole situation or this was one has-been of a risk.

It was lovely though. It was all so beautiful.

We spent the afternoon sauntering, as much as you can saunter in lose scree fields, stopping for photos and expressions of delight.

The best news of all: we were headed for the PCT to walk the western portion of the loop back up to our cars. My old friend.

I can’t tell you what a psychic boost it is to have the Pacific Crest Trail in my backyard. I know it has had a profound effect on me these almost 15-years I have lived here. All trail all the time.

We worry about finding water for the night after passing several dry creeks, but our rationing fate was sweetly wiped from our brow when we saw the pretty little pond, our hopeful destination for the evening.

There would be no tents tonight…we tucked ourselves into a small clearing above the pond, and lay out our tyvek. Soon we had inflated all the things and surrounded ourselves in down cocoons. The early October air cooled around us as we looked at a small pocket meadow, all golden and shiny in front of us. Contentment. We ate snacks until it was time to lay down.

The best day.

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