My 50-mile Three Sisters Loop Solo
Fifty miles of some of the best back-country scenery Oregon has to offer - and the crappiest weather :)
Three Sisters Loop Quick Facts
Self-issued permit at the trailhead
Allow 4-6 days
Elevation gain/loss 5,800′
Highest elevation 7,000′
Day 1I put in about 12 miles the first day, but it was hot, and the entire 12 miles was decimated by fire. It was a little bit disappointing. I finally got to my camp in the late afternoon, and just as I put my tent up, it started hailing. I couldn’t see the lightning strikes, but the thunder was impressive. Fortunately, it passed in about 90 minutes. Had a good dinner and slept well, despite the worries that a dead tree might fall and kill me in the middle of the night.
Day 2I got up the next day hoping for better scenery, but it was at least five miles before I found any. Once I got to Green Lake, the scenery was exceptional. I finally felt the boost in my mood seeing some of the beauty that I had come for. Walking through 20 miles of decimated forest had been a little soul-sucking. The weather was okay, but a little on the warm side. I decided to put in as many miles as I could that day since the forecast called for crappy weather the next day.
By 5pm I had put in over 20 miles and found myself in a hailstorm again. This time the lightning bolts were clearly visible on the mountain. Predictably, all this passed in a few hours and I enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep. I had planned to take six days on this trail, but the bad weather encouraged me to do it in three days.
Day 3The weather on day three was forecasted to be rain and thunderstorms all day after 9am, so I got up before first light to get in as many miles as I could before things turned miserable. Like clockwork, by 8:30am it rained and hailed, with lots of thunder and lightning the entire 16 miles. It felt good to get off the trail, get a shower and a nice meal and a dry place to sleep before my flight the next day.
Overall, I’m glad I did it. There’s never a bad day when you’re outdoors, as long as you come home alive and uninjured. It wasn’t my favorite trip, and I don’t think I’ll go back to the Three Sisters area. The scenery was beautiful, but it paled in comparison to the High Sierras. I’ve got a big hike coming up in Sequoia at the end of the summer and I am looking forward to better things.