columbia river gorge oregon
Columbia River Gorge… quite spectacular indeed. The small building on top of the cliff is called the Vista House, which is just a lookout/museum/gift shop.

vista house
Here we have a closer view of the Vista House. If you have seen the movie “Bandits”, they filmed a scene here.

fall foliage columbia river gorge oregonA nice scenic drive. We were lucky to have a sunny day in an area that is generally cloudy and rainy.

oregon waterfallI forget what this waterfall is called, but it was really neat.

stream rapids oregonA nice mountain stream.

oregon waterfallAnother waterfall (there were lots along this road) and I also can’t remember what it was called, but it was very cool.

lodge oregon fallsA cool lodge that smelled like camp fire near the waterfall.

columbia river gorgeA view looking back towards Portland. The mountains on the right are Washington, and the left is Oregon.

log bridge oregon national forestA cool bridge over a river somewhere near Mt. Hood. Note the size of the logs. Huge trees are abundant in Oregon.

trillium lake mt. hoodWe stopped by this place called Trillium Lake because it was supposed to have the best view of Mt. Hood. That might have been true if it wasn’t cloudy… all we could see was the snowy base. It was still cool though.

trillium lakeSome more scenery around Trillium Lake… which was really pretty.

trees oregonIt seemed like everywhere we went there were crazy tall evergreen trees. Probably well over 100 feet tall.

oregonWhen we came down the east side of the mountains headed towards Bend, there was a sudden and dramatic change in scenery.

ian cahillIan hanging out the window of our rental car. Surprisingly it was not a Cobalt!

Ian CahillHere is Ian enjoying some kind of sandwich + fries at a little cafe in the town of Maupin, OR.

maupin oregonHere is the town of Maupin, Oregon. A quaint little town nestled in the valley along the Deschutes River. There wasn’t much there, except for the cafe and an outpost office of the Bureau of Land Management.

long road aheadA long road ahead to Bend.

many dogs have died here signThey love them some dogs in Oregon, and many people take their dogs with them everywhere. I found this sign somewhat humorous… mainly the way they chose to graphically illustrate the situation. Looks like wonder dog or something.

crooked riverHere is the cliff the sign was referencing. It was in the middle of a large, flat plain, so it really took us by surprise.

mt bachelorWe headed to the trailhead before sunrise and ran into this stunning sight. At first we thought this was our mountain, but it turned out that we would be climbing the larger mountain around the corner.

south sisterAnd here we have the first view of South Sister (left) … a lofty goal indeed. When we saw this sight we weren’t really sure if we would make it to the top or not.

oregon forest south sister hikeIt was around 7:30 before we got on the trail. Temp was in the upper 20s and we started our journey by going through this dense moss filled forest.

ryan mccoyHere I am as we first started encountering the snow.

broken topA view of a nearby mountain called Broken Top. We were maybe 1/3 of the way up at this point.

ian cahillIan enjoying some gatoraid at a rest point.

south sister hike climbHere is another group of climbers coming up behind us.

ryan mccoyThis is me being exhausted. I thought I was nearing the summit, but I was wrong.

south sisterThere was one section where there wasn’t much snow, but it was actually harder than climbing in snow because it was a very loose sand/gravel/pumice/rock mix that was impossible to get any footing in.

south sisterEntering the home stretch…we’re about 9,600 feet here and beginning the most brutal stretch of the climb. The trail (which was really just footprints in the snow) went up the spine of the ridge on the left side of this photo.

south sister summitAt last I reached the summit. What a view!

ryan mccoyLooking down at the long way I had come to make it up there.

ryan mccoyHere I am in the freezing cold and wind. I laid out a small sheet of plastic to sit on and enjoy an apple.

south sister summitThis was the last edge I had to climb over to reach the top. After maybe 10 minutes, I decided I was so cold I needed to start heading back down.

south sister trailOne last view as I begin to head down. Note Mt. Bachelor in the top left of the photo… what looked so ominous from the highway that morning was now dwarfed and insignificant.