Going away from home for a long time makes the homecoming sweet if the home is worth coming home to.
I relish the return. I was away from home for three months, I was missing my kitchen and the gadgets there and the meals I like to make, I was thinking of my favorite places to eat in Portland that I had not visited for some months, I was looking forward to conversations with family and friends in words heard and spoken and not written. The return is always sweet.
I must relearn how to live in the apartment. I must stop myself from speaking French to a server or a bus driver. I need to go shopping for food and resupply the pantry and that is always fun. The yoga classes must start and I must begin again the routine at the gym.
And, too, I want to wander the streets of Portland and remember. I was out and about the other day in the late November afternoon, capturing random moments that happened to draw my attention.
Portland, a foodie town, boasts hundreds of food carts. SW 9th and Alder might be considered the hub, the granddaddy of locations. Around one city block and extending along another it is the largest of the food cart pods. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.) But wait, there’s more!
The other day I rode the Portland Aerial Tram. Even though it has been a feature of the city skyline since January 29, 2008, it was the first time I had taken the ride to the Oregon Health & Science University in the hills above Portland.
According to the publicity for the Tram, the cabins “travel 3,300 linear feet from South Waterfront to Marquam Hill. Traveling at 22 miles per hour, the Tram cabins rise 500 feet during the four-minute trip. Each of the two cabins have a capacity of 79 people, including the operator. The Tram operates load-n-go. If you miss one, expect another in just a few minutes.”
I started at the bottom at the Willamette River where all the machinery was built to take me up and up away. For hikers it is a part of the 4T trail, which I was doing that day. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!
Lately, I have posted a number of pictures of the mountains that dominate north central Oregon. I have often mentioned the Three Sisters in the Three Sisters Wilderness area.
Several times I have hiked around them, or I have hiked into the lakes that rest at their bases, such as the Green Lakes and Sisters Mirror Lake.
What has not been mentioned is the hike (climb) to the top of South Sister. To climb North Sister is difficult and requires mountain climbing experience. Middle Sister is less difficult but requires careful planning. South Sister is a hike rather than a climb; one hikes a trail to the top.
I have hiked to the summit of South Sisters on two different occasions. The second time, I spent the night, enduring winds and freezing temperatures.
South Sister is the third highest peak in Oregon at 10358 ft (3157 m), but it requires little climbing experience. It is rated at worst a class 3. No gear is needed except for good shoes and lots of determination.
Here we have the view from the summit of South Sister looking toward Mount Bachelor. On the ridge to the right of the small lake is the trail to the top. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!
In Central Oregon are several mountains that dominate the horizon to the southwest as one drives southeast from Portland on Highway 97. Mount Hood, Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, Three-Fingered Jack, and then the sisters Three Sisters and then Broken Top and Mount Bachelor further along.
One of the more exciting trails to hike in Oregon is the Timberline Trail which circles Mount Hood. It is approximately 40 miles. Another trail, not as well known but about the same distance, is the one that goes around the Three Sisters. Like the Timberline Trail it includes a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Even less known than these two routes is the trail through the saddle between Middle Sister and South Sister.
It can be very difficult to find if one approaches from the south. No signs exists and relying on rock cairns is not wise. A map, compass, and a GPS device is recommended. After leaving the Pacific Crest Trail toward the divide between the Middle and South Sisters, one can often find the trail or simply continue cross country through the divide between the two peaks.
The alternative route would be to hike to the Chambers Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness area. Afterward one continues into the saddle between Middle and South Sisters.
The preceding pictures show the terrain in the saddle between South and Middle Sisters. One looks forward to the saddle and the other looks back. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.) But wait, there’s more!