This weekend’s Ally Day killed it.
Now that grad school is back in full swing, we’re back to celebrating Ally Days on the weekends (if Eric is in town, which is becoming increasingly rare). This means we go do something really exciting for a day, with no homework allowed. It’s the best.
For this adventure, we headed east into the Cascade Mountains to hike Four-In-One Cone. After completing this hike, I’m still not completely sure what the name of the hike means, but if this gives you any pleasure, you can imagine four different scoops of ice cream in one ice cream cone. Because that’s the image I couldn’t get out of my head. (Sometimes I get hungry when I hike.) I guess there’s also the notion that you can see four major peaks when looking in one direction from the hike. Who knows?
Anywho, we’ve done a lot of cool things since moving to Oregon, but I have to say that this was one of the most impressive hikes. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say this is a hike you need to do. It was around 9 miles, round-trip, with a 1500 foot elevation gain.
The hike has a pretty limited season, as it’s off McKenzie Hwy 242, which closes in late fall and doesn’t open again until mid-summer. Take Hwy 242 (an absolutely gorgeous drive this time of year) and pull off at the sign for Scott Lake, between mile markers 71 and 72. The parking area will be on the left, if you are coming from Eugene.
The trail crosses Hwy 242 and heads into the woods. Before too long, you’ll reach a trail split. Take the trail to the left.
You’ll stroll through the woods for a while before briefly entering a clearing. We had been pretty darn chilly up until this point, as temperatures were in the upper 30’s when we started our hike, but as soon as we stepped into the sunshine, it was awesome. It was short-lived, but wonderful.
After a few miles in the woods, the trail opened up into a lava field. Just a heads up: it’s warm in there. I imagine it gets pretty toasty in the summer sunshine.
Once we rounded the corner behind Eric in the photo above, BAM! The North Sister!
We started getting pretty hungry, but wanted to eat lunch with a view, so we climbed up some lava rock to see the North and Middle Sisters.
Once we made our way down from our lunch spot (hint: climbing down is way more difficult than climbing up), we continued on the trail through the woods until it opened up to another portion of lava field. It got a bit more difficult to find the trail in this one because there was more snow covering the ground, but we figured it out with a little help from some other confused hikers.
Once again, the trail opened up to spectacular views of the North and Middle Sister. We followed the trail up a hill to the left (the steepest portion of the hike), and found ourselves in the middle of the most incredible view. We could see Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood in front of us, and the North and Middle Sister behind us. Incredible.
After we got our fill of Cascade views, we hiked back down as quickly as we could so we could head over to Bend for an early dinner. It took us about 4 1/2 hours to do the whole hike, including our lunch break in the lava field, and time for plenty of photos.
We were about an hour from Bend at this point, but we were really craving some food from Deschutes Brewery, so we figured it was worth the drive. We visited Deschutes a few months ago with Eric’s parents, and we’ve been talking about the peanut butter pie ever since. Now, I don’t care what you order for your main course, but make sure you get a side of sweet potato fries with their fry sauce, some sort of red pepper aioli. It is straight up heavenly. And then you need to suck up the fact that you are already completely stuffed, and order the peanut butter pie. It’s all you need to eat before entering winter hibernation.
We hit the road in hopes of beating the sunset back to Eugene, making a little pit stop in Sisters to grab some coffee to combat our sugar comas. We drove through an adorable neighborhood in Sisters with the most incredible mountain views. And when we got home, we spent a while perusing home prices in Sisters. Turns out you have to pay a lot for mountain views.
Whenever we drive through the Three Sisters Wilderness (which is not often enough, considering the awesomeness of the area), I always think of Donald Miller, my favorite author. For any other Donald Miller fans out there, the camp where he worked in “Through Painted Deserts” is near Sisters, and we like to imagine him camping out in the woods with his van, eating the leftover ice cream from the wealthy ranch visitors.
It was a perfect Autumn day. Go forth and hike, my friends!