Sisters, Oregon vacation, 2014

We love the central Oregon area around Sisters and Bend. Although we were here in August with the kids and their families (stayed in Eagle Crest), I wanted to return. We have a favorite rental unit in Sisters, but this year it wasn’t available on the dates that were most convenient for us. Luckily, in looking for another place, I found a house in a marvelous location that had fantastic off-season rates (less than the unit we usually rent). It backed onto pasture land with unobstructed views of the Three Sisters. We drove up on Thursday, Oct. 2 and arrived in Bend in time for dinner at Pastini Pastoria in the Old Mill District where I could get a gluten-free pasta dinner. The weather was still warm enough that we could dine on the patio on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Friday Oct 3
The morning was chilly (near freezing), so after breakfast we waited for it to warm up a bit before we headed off on a bike ride along Camp Polk Road and Indian Ford Road. We’ve done this approximately 20 mile ride several times and always enjoy it. After our ride we walked around Sisters and did some grocery shopping.

Dawn on the Three Sisters

Saturday Oct 4
In the morning we drove out to Three Creeks Lake and hiked up to the top of Tam McArthur Rim. I’ve always enjoyed this hike because the views of the nearby peaks are just magnificent. From the rim we continued on southwest until we reached a point where we could see across the broad drainage to the big peaks of the Sisters. Our round-trip was about 8 miles (a little farther than the 5 miles I told Karen we would do).

Broken Top and South, Middle, and North Sister from Tam McArthur Rim

Sunday Oct 5
This was a recovery day. We went to church, came home and had lunch, and then decided to hike along the Metolius River starting at the Wizard Falls fish hatchery. In August the trail down river from the hatchery was closed because of the Bridge 99 fire so I wasn’t sure what the trail condition would be. Interestingly, the fish hatchery was closed because of some construction work, but we parked out on the main road and walked in. The river trail was open in both directions so we did about 5 miles with an out and back in both directions.

Along the Metolius River with a view of the burn on Green Ridge

Monday Oct 6
We did an enjoyable 22 mile bike ride, looping around the western part of Bend. Late in the afternoon I took the mountain bike for an 8 mile spin on easy trails in the Peterson Ridge trail network right out of Sisters.

West view from the west side of Bend

Tuesday Oct 7
I like the Pine Mountain area off of Highway 20 to the east of Bend. It is a 6500 ft peak that stands alone. It has desert conditions at the base, Juniper forest at the lower elevations, and Pine Forest higher up. The University of Oregon has a research observatory at the summit and the manager of the observatory is a geocacher that hosts an annual star party event. Therefore, the area is rich in geocaches. I had intended to hike along the summit ridge and pick up a number of caches, but deer hunting season was in force and most of the roads were closed. We found a few caches,including one I had found previously but apparently never logged, and hiked maybe a couple of miles.

Wednesday Oct 8
We drove over McKenzie Pass and down quite a ways to a trailhead for Linton Lake. The official forest service description indicates that the trailhead is at the same parking area as for Proxy Falls. I noticed that there was a connector trail that cut off a couple of miles, but only if we could find a place to park. Luckily, there was a wide shoulder with space for a couple of cars. This was a very pretty hike because the fall colors, mainly from the Vine Maple, were so intense. The lake level was way down, but we could hear the main creek still running. Had we gone farther to the inlet and then bushwhacked up the creek a ways we would have come to Linton Falls.

The vine maple was a blaze of color in the forest

Thursday Oct 9
Mirror Lake 8.3 mi
We hiked out to Mirror Lakes (a cluster of small lakes) from the trailhead on the Cascade Lakes highway. The Pacific Crest Trail runs by Mirror Lake. Since it was late in the season the lakes were low. In a humorous aside, a hiker passed us on the way in and when he came up to us again he made some comment like, “I was expecting a lake but there is nothing there now but a meadow.” I think he must have mistook the sign that said something about entering the Mirror Lakes area as the location of the lake.

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