Mile 1956 to 1977
Camped on grass, with fog pouring off Sisters Mirror Lake, we wake completely soaking wet from dew. If you dipped our tents in the lake, the lake would probably get wetter. This will be another stop to dry gear day.
Kevin puts on his beanie cap and gloves, and we walk toward South Sister. She is the first of three volcanic mountains with patches of snow or glacier ice still showing on her rounded top. Peaking over her shoulder we can just see Middle Sister, whose top appears more to the point.
At a lunch time break we spread out our yard sale of gear to dry. It is frustrating to pack and unpack multiple times in a day, but we will definitely appreciate waterless gear tonight.
We hike on and enter the permit controlled obsidian area with sharp shiny rocks all around us. We imagine Native Americans chipping off pieces for their arrowheads, which they undoubtably used to puncture and drain their painful blisters from this high friction foot destroying God forsaken place. Obsidian Falls is a beautiful and unexpected treat, followed by an even better cold water spring.
Heading by North Sister we get into some really nasty lava beds. The rocks are loose, rough and varied in shape. The trail is hot, dry and steep. It feels impossible for our feet to get purchase. It is however absolutely perfect if your goal is a sprained ankle or a strained calf.
We finally reach tiny South Matthieu Lake, which oddly has very strict camping rules. All the good sites are posted “Restoration – No Camping” or “Day Use Only.” Camping is only allowed within 15 feet of three wooden posts. The posts, perhaps as a joke, are placed in the three least desirable locations. We select the most of the least and pitch our tents. It is very windy, which is great for blowing away mosquitoes and dew, but cold and noisy for sleeping.