Teardrop Lake -- Oregon's highest lake, at least in years where it thaws out -- viewed from the summit of South Sister, 5 pm, September 18. Taken with a cheap Coolpix, this is a splendid shot in the sense that the crater area is actually quite a gentle slope and the slushy body of water is only 200 ft down or so. The hike up the mountain is murderous, however. Because of the moderate elevation of "only" 10,400 ft, I had ideas of climbing the mountain as a very long day trip from Portland -- forget about it.
The other two Sisters, technical climbs, viewed from the same vantage point (not from an aircraft, I swear). I wasn't really up for the traverse, though those blue lakes in the potholes look inviting.
Camp, between Lewis and Clark glaciers at about 9,000 ft. The forecast was for the days of backlogged clouds to the west to finally break on through and bring snow to elevations above 6,000 ft, but it never materialized. Inversion kept temperatures at no less than 28 F. In the morning the air reversed and there was a stiff breeze and clouds "falling down" from the summit. So -- no Mt. Adams like weirdness, just a typical night on the mountain.
The overnighter allowed me to see a little more of Central Oregon and Bend, the fastest growing part of the state and probably the whole US. It's now pushing 80,000 souls while 10 or 20 years ago there was very little here. It's like a Colorado front range town. There is the same infinity of brush and buttes to the east, while the mountains rise abruptly to the west. It's at 3,500 ft. and has similar weather to Colorado. A lot of clouds right now, but I'm confident it's not going to rain much or at most maybe there will be some dry flakes of snow. The architecture of this well-heeled boomtown is also Intermountain West, with lots of low-slung, smart-looking new buildings with little idea of a city centre. So is the atmosphere and politics. It's young and outdoorsy with the typical acupunturists and spas and natural food stores and many ski and mountain shops in tasteful malls and "restored" riverside annexes, but it's not as crunchy as Boulder or as left-leaning and frayed as Portland. I'm roughing it -- strict diet of work, hike, and camp food -- so no breweries or restaurants for me. But I reckon there are some fine entries.
Bend: a smallish eastern Pacific city not afraid of jarring visual juxtapositions.