Three Sisters Wilderness

September 11-18, 1983

This was one of those backpacking trips that will be difficult to forget. Seven days of beautiful weather (I’ll tell you about the eighth day later) in the Three Sisters Wilderness. (I didn’t realize the flowers could be so abundant so late in the year.) We camped at Lava Lake, Soap Creek, Green Lakes, Moraine Lake, Mesa Creek, and Obsidian Falls and took side trips to Chambers Lakes, Demaris Lake and South Sister. (Total mileage: about 70)

On September 16, Debra Clapp and I climbed South Sister while Herb and Lelia Lee went on to Mesa Creek. This was the first time I had led a mountain climb (and probably the last). Neither of us had climbed South Sister before. It took us three hours from Moraine Lake. Winds were approximately 50 miles per hour at the top, so needless to say, we didn’t stay very long. On the way down I got off the beaten path and it took about 3½ hours to get back to camp.

The seventh evening we camped near Obsidian Falls. That night a cold front came through. In the morning we woke up to a foggy mist that turned to rain. The wind was mild, but by the time we got to Oppie Dildock Pass it had reached 100 MPH. My backpack cover blew off and we had difficulty maintaining our footing. We were concerned about hypothermia and didn’t stop for lunch. Debra and I got to Lava Camp Lake about 1:00 p.m., changed our wet clothes, and anxiously waited for Herb and Lelia. They arrived about a half an hour later. (Thank God!) Later that afternoon the rain changed to snow. (Wouldn’t that have been something?)

Herb Lee is 76 years young, and Lelia is only a little younger. During the past year, Herb was in the hospital with a heart attack. They hiked 57 miles and were carrying food and equipment for 8 days. I hope I can do that when I’m their age. K. C. Kraft, leader.

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