We’ve spent the past hour while eating dinner watching a little squirrel cut pine cones out of a tree, drop them on the ground, and then later take them one by one back to his lair. We’re also witnessing an epic battle between a flock of gray jays and Stellar jays. It’s like we ate a TV dinner…except the entertainment was better.
We’re camped at a free campground at the base of the South Sister. We weren’t planning on getting here until tomorrow afternoon, at best, so we have a lot of extra food. This is not a bad problem to have.
We woke up early-ish to try to beat the heat. Moving just shy of 7 is pretty good for two not overly spry-in-the-morning people. But they were predicting a high of 100 for Sister. It was time to get high.
The friendly and happy West Peterson Ridge Trail took us out of our campsite. So flowy. So bermy. So easy. It’s closed to horses and oh so relatively not sandy. We followed it out of the main network and onto the 2 mile connecter to the Metolius-Windigo. They did an amazing job repurposing a decomissioned road to build the trail.
We were expecting the M-W to be horsey-sandy and were amazed when it wasn’t. It climbed steeply, but not unreasonably to reach a high ridge with big views of the Sisters and eventually Broken Top.
We had 3,000+ feet to gain, and while I won’t say it went easily, it went smoothly with minor amounts of bike pushing.
Maybe I’m just starved for big views, but I was ecstatic to be up there, even if the trail was so-so. Scott kept saying that some people might not like it, I kept asking what there wasn’t to like about it.
The goal was to get to Three Creeks Lake before the heat of the day. We’d gotten beta after we’d already left Sisters that there was a store there, but we were skeptical. But there was! A little propane run shack that sold ice cream, sodas, beer, and snacks. When all was said and done, we’d purchase 4 ice cream bars, 2 sodas, and 2 packets of hot chocolate from the nice woman who ran the place.
We went for a swim. We lounged in the shade. We did some ‘laundry’, We waited for the heat to dissipate. We made it to just after 3 before I got bored.
We’d gotten word for a reliable source (he’d been spot on with all of the other route advice he’d given us) that the following 6 miles of M-W was super sandy, dusty, and not worth riding. It took us just shy of a mile to determine that he was right and bail onto the parallel road.
Soon we were back in the influence of Bend and mountain bikers were the primary users instead of horses, so we jumped back on beautiful trail. Descend, climb, roll, stop and gape at the views.
We finally reached the Cascade Highway that we took down to our little campsite, overjoyed to find that it was free and that we wouldn’t have to go find another spot in the woods. Plus, it has a picnic table!