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Month: November 2015

Central Oregon-Part two: Three Sisters Wilderness

Central Oregon-Part two: Three Sisters Wilderness

crooked-river-highway-27After my Crater Lake adventure, I took the Crooked River Highway and camped out by the river.  Then I found a much needed Starbucks in Prineville, a small ranch town in the Oregon desert area.  A hikers’ group on Facebook gave me great information, since I wasn’t as familiar with the Bend area.

They raved about Green Lake Trail in Three Sisters Wilderness. And it didn’t disappoint. Just a half-hour west of Bend just past the Mt. Bachelor ski area was the wilderness parking lot.

 

As outback as it seemed, it was easy to drive to.  There’s even phone service in the parking lot and parts of the wilderness. Problem was I got there late and had to book it to get to the camp by dark.

Hiking by moonlight is an experience you don’t forget, but I wouldn’t recommend it, unless it’s early morning and light is coming sooner or later. But I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? If it gets too dark, I can just pitch my tent by the trail. Not that I should, but it’s in the off-season, just so long as you have a permit and are being
safe and following Leave No Trace.

Three-sisters wilderness signHowever remember I had backpacking gear, a tent, sleeping bag, etc. Dayhiking is a different story. So unless you want to get lost or stuck in the wood on a cold night with no shelter, don’t go unprepared and racing darkness. And remember, mountains often have cold nights even in summer.

So I eventually camped and pitched my tent in the dark. It sucks, but sometimes it happens. Easy backpacking tip: bring a headlamp!  You might not think it important when packing, but it makes things easier in the dark when your hands are free.

Of course later in the night after the clouds left, I peeked out my tent and saw a glorious clear sky. Had to force myself out of the tent to get the shot. It was COLD, but I’m glad I did.

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In the morning I completed the trip to Green Lake, and took my time on the way back to get photos.

Green Lake Brokentop Mountain

Green lakes trail waterfall

 

Here’s something I love about vacations like this. All I needed was my car and a bit of gear. I also work a job where I took just three days off plus the weekend for a roadtrip through Oregon.  Backpacking, hiking and camping are great ways to get your wanderlust fix on a budget. Just because you might not go overseas, doesn’t mean you can’t adventure yourself. So don’t let lack of money or time stopped you from pursuing the story that awaits you.

The cool thing about social media is we get to experience our stories as well as share them and inspire each other. I’d love to hear your story. Let’s connect on Instagram and Twitter.

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Central Oregon-Part One-Crater Lake

Central Oregon-Part One-Crater Lake

crater-lake-foggy

So here I am sitting in my tent by Crooked River, eating my attempt at Pasta-Roni over an open fire. I’m writing on my laptop as my old Paperwhite Kindle lights up the tent.  How’s it taste? Well, like Pasta-roni over an open fire. There’s bits of sausage in there too, which makes it well…edible camp food. It’s warm, perhaps a bit of comfort food after a day of rain. At least it’s not another Cliff bar, right?

Fumbling around trying to eat and cook in the dark is a pain. Word of advice. Whether carcamping, or backpacking it, always bring a headlamp.

josh-taylor-in-tent-with-computerThis trip is full of twists and turns, but everything seems to go well. Cancelled my trip to Arizona as the Grand Canyon, Sedona and the other cool places were having thunderstorms. So hey, I thought I might as well see a natural wonder right here in Oregon-Crater Lake. The site was pretty much how I’d expected it, but like a lot of epic sites, the photographs don’t do it justice. You just have to be there.

You have to experience it, driving by the cliffs focusing on the turns for dear life. To get out of the car, feel the wind on your face.  Then wondering what it looks like up by the rail, then once walking up, seeing it in awe for the first time.  Yes, Wizard Island, just like the photos, but the crater is huge.

To get to Crater Lake, you take Highway 97 and then Route 62 to Crater Lake.  I took I-5 from the North, then took Or-58 near Eugene, which goes to 97.  There are no campgrounds open in the fall, but you can camp by Diamond Lake nearby. If you want to backpack, you’ll need a permit.

wizard-island-trees-sapia

Start Hanging with Inspiring People

On the way to camp I picked up a couple through-hikers. Two girls in late 20s or 30s had to get back to the trail from the ranger station and hitched a ride with me. They hiked the Pacific Crest Trail all the way from Stevenson, Washington. They’d just about hiked all the way through the Oregon PCT to the California border, and then they were going back home to the Midwest.  After they thanked me profusely, I thanked them in turn for inspiring me. Because it’s true, they did far more for me than I ever did by helping them a bit.

pacific-crest-crater-lake - Copy

What was it about these girls that changed me? Walk in the Woods and Wild are great stories. But meeting those who actually did it inspired me with reality. There was LIFE to them, and the fact that I got to be a small part of that story by giving them a ride made it even better.

To think, the whole world is at your fingertips. Creating your own story is what inspired the brand name of Outback Tales.

It’s not about how grand it is compared to others. You don’t have to climb Everest. Your story could be just going somewhere you haven’t gone or taking a step in your career you’re afraid of taking.

What stories can you share?  What new stories lay ahead?  Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’d love to hear yours!

Next stop: Central Oregon Desert and Three Sisters Wilderness.

 

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