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