9/28/15 Roughly 11 miles around the southern end of the South Sister, past Broken Top, Green Lakes, and Moraine Lake. Unfortunately, Dr. Rock got badly dehydrated and had to cut his trip short.
1 Morning on the unnamed lake. I will never get tired of waking-up to these views.
2 Not a bad spot. Much better than the roadside motel in Chemult!
3 Packed-up and on our way, it's great to be out of the burn area and back into the green.
4 With more water crossings for Dr. Rock.
5 Water and green everywhere...
6 ...and more water crossings for Dr. Rock.
7 Our first views of Broken Top to the South.
8 Heading through Park Meadow. I would love to see this area in early Summer when it's still green.
9 More great views of Broken Top across the meadow.
10 Almost fully around the South Sister now to the North.
11 Our closest view of the South Sister, the tallest of the Three Sisters at 10,358'. There's a route to the top, but we'll have to save that for another day.
12 Our last view of Broken Top as we past to the West. It's clear how much heavier the glaciers are on the north face.
13 Our first view of the Green Lakes. I love the layers of hazy mountains in the background behind the lake.
14 The smaller Green Lake to the East. I took a higher route here for some pictures, while you can see Dr. Rock on the lower route below. Unfortunately, Dr. Rock was starting to not feel well at this point. He was losing energy, pace was slowing, and just didn't look too good. Something was definitely wrong.
15 These lakes are definitely green. As green as Crater Lake is blue. I'm assuming it's also because of the mineral content.
16 Snack break at the lake. Dr. Rock didn't seem too eager to get started again. I was definitely starting to get a little worried.
17 You can see in the shallower end just how clear the water is.
18 Walking past the larger of the two Green Lakes. Dr. Rock's pace has slowed way below the pace he set yesterday morning. I'm officially starting to get worried now.
19 South Sister behind Green Lake.
20 One last view of the lake as we start our climb over the pass and on to the West side of the range.
21 Fall Creek meandering along a lava pile.
22 Dr. Rock is really not looking or feeling well at this point. We hadn't see anyone all morning, but we're frequently passing day hikers now as we near the junction with the Green Lakes trailhead. It's the entry point to the South side of the loop and the last chance to leave the loop until we circle all the way back around to Lava Camp. Dr. Rock first mentions the idea of him leaving at the Green Lakes trailhead. I'm hopeful it won't come to that.
23 More great views along Fall Creek. Unfortunately, I don't think Dr. Rock is able to enjoy them.
24 The last stream crossing for Dr. Rock. He was visible wavering as he crossed this one.
25 We made it to the trailhead junction and a tough decision. Should the ailing Dr. Rock leave at this point and try to get a ride back to town? If so, do I go with him or continue on alone? We sat and discussed options for a while. He seemed set on the decision that leaving at this point, and not risking getting stuck between here and Lava Camp, was the best thing for him to do. He was also adamant that it was OK for me to continue on. So that's what we decided to do. He would catch a ride back to Bend, and then to the hotel we stayed at in Redmond. I would continue on to our car at Lava Camp and then meet-up with him on Wednesday. We transferred items from his pack that I would need and then parted ways at around 3:00pm.
26 Continuing on some beautiful single track, but now alone. I was seriously bummed Dr. Rock would not get to experience the rest of the loop, and was upset at myself for not having been able to help prevent his situation. But I find solo backpacking exhilrating, so things weren't all bad.
27 Moraine Lake with South Sister in the background. My original plan was to camp here for the night as it was the last water for a while. But there were already a couple groups here, so I decided to filter a few liters, and then press on.
28 A quick, steep climb away from Moraine Lake with almost 4 liters of water in hand and 1 in my pack.
29 The volcanic plains above the lake as I continue to head West, now almost fully around the Southern end of the loop.
30 I hit my 5:15pm cutoff, and also the edge of the forest, so I decide to call it a night. There are no established campsites here, and it's amazing how hard it is to find flat tent pads. But I make due and find a great spot on spongy forest floor.
31 Evening light on South Sister as seen from near my tent. I hope Dr. Rock made it back to civilization OK!