Obsidian Cliff, Three Sisters Wilderness, Oregon

August 3 to 6, 1994

"We passed six lakes, four of them being between the mts. we called the Three Sisters, though I am at a loss which of the five peaks are the Three Sisters."

Adolph Dekum showing his confusion during an 1883 trip through the Sisters with Judge Waldo (unpublished diary)

Hike Information

The American Society of Plant Physiologists were meeting in Portland, OR in August, 1994, The timing of the meeting was a great opportunity to get together with old friends and go hiking in one of Oregon's most beautiful places, the Three Sisters Wilderness. Brian, Ted, Rod (a friend of Ted's), and myself met one night during the meeting to plan out the hike. We decided to rendezvous at the campground at Scott Lake (the blue tent on the topo map). The next day, Brian and I met up with Jim at the airport in Portland and drove to the campground to meet up with Ted and Will (a friend of Brian's). Malcom, a friend of mine, also was attending. After a night of heavy drinking and partying, we started on the hike from Frog Lake, some moving a tad slower than others. At the time we went, Frog Lake had been closed to camping, and was being used for parking only.

It was a fairly short hike up to Base Camp Obsidian (Will only accompanied us for a ways after exiting the lava bed). This base camp had a primo location, located on the edge of a cliff which allowed viewing to the north of Three Finger Jack, Mt Washington, and Mt Jefferson. I thought at times I could even see Mt Hood, The day after arriving, Ted and Brian struck out to climb the Middle Sister, while Jim and I went on a trip of epic proportions to Eileen Lake and had lunch. We met up at the base camp and rested. The next day, we took a short day hike (in black) to explore the surroundings. That night, Bruce and Toshi (friends of Brian) and we made several offerings to Spud (a story in itself). We observed the miraculous "turning of the blue". The next day we hiked out (blue) and visited a hot springs located off the Mackenzie River. Man, after all those days, it was nice to get into hot water and relax, with a slight sulfurous tinge...

Scott Lake campsite is the blue tent. Purple is the day hike Jim and I took to Lake Eileen or Brian and Ted's assault on the Middle Sister. Black is a second day hike along the Obsidian Cliff. We left via a different route (blue) than coming in (red/black). Malcom hiked up Collier Cone.

Three Sisters

The Sisters were named Faith, Hope and Charity by early settlers, but are now known as North Sister, Middle Sister and South Sister, respectively.

Beginning in 1880, Judge Waldo took annual horseback trips into the Cascade Mountains. His trips included stops at many lakes (e.g. Elk, Crescent, Odell, and Davis Lakes) and summit ascents (e.g. Middle and South Sisters, Black Butte and others) before his death in 1907. In 1888, Waldo and four others traveled from Waldo Lake south to Mount Shasta along what is now the Pacific Crest Trail. This is believed to be the first recorded journey of this route.

Judge Waldo helped push for preservation in the Cascades which began with the Cascade Forest Reserve established by President Cleveland in 1893.

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Lava field Bob and lava field Lava field and Obsidian Cliff Stream in Three Sisters Wilderness Sunshine Meadows, our campsite was on the cliff Above Sunshine Meadows to North and Middle Sisters Cool moss The view down below campsite The Obsidian Monolith (Mt Washington in background) Jim by monolith Looking north to Mt Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood from Camp View north from campsite View north from campsite, Belknap crater and Mts Washington and Jefferson in distance finger Jack in distance Lava field from Obsidian Cliff, Mts Washington and Jefferson Lake Eileen, Middle and South Sisters. Jim and I had lunch under the pines Jim on the trail from Lake Eileen Brian on Renfrew Glacier Ted on summit Middle Sisters Brian on the summit Middle Sister Ted on the summit Middle Sister Jim, Brian and North Sisters in back Ted and Brian, North Sisters in background Brian, Bob, Jim sitting around the obsidian Bob, Ted, Brian View east on second dayhike towards North Sisters A look south on our second dayhike Looking south along McKenzie River drainage Bob and Brian at break Ted, Jim, Brian, Bob Hiking out through lava beds Mt Washington from McKenzie Pass