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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Broken Top, Oregon

Broken Top, Oregon

Last year I hiked the South Sister in Oregon with my best friend and Dante. It was and still is the toughest hike I've ever done! We were beaten up, broken down, and exhausted after that 12 miler that literally took us all day to do. But we learned from our rookie mistakes and someday we're going to conquer her again! Only better and stronger!

Summit of the South Sister. Middle & North Sister behind us.
This year we decided to make a girls weekend out of it and decided this year's challenge would be Broken Top! 

Broken Top is a stratovolcano that last erupted about 100,000 years ago, it's last eruption it caved in on itself and is now a beautiful craggy peak known as Broken Top. It's summit is 9,175 ft in elevation whereas the South Sister was 10,358 ft in elevation.

There are many ways you can choose to hike Broken Top, being a group of non-climbers we decided to do the Lost Lake hike up the North East side of Broken Top located in the Three Sisters Wilderness. We took this yellow highlighted route for our trip, only we started off of National Forest Road 380 at the Crater Trail - Trail Head (green arrow on the map). Our route ended up being 6.4 miles, which was shorter than we had anticipated (8 miles), but it was a blast!

Map via:
Being September we wanted to get an early start just to ensure we wouldn't be hiking in the dark, we weren't really sure how long it would take us to finish.

Broken Top trail No. 10 is labeled as an 8 mile moderate hike, but we weren't clear on what "moderate" actually meant. Did it mean painfully but slow incline the whole way? Or lots of loose rock like the South Sister? Just to be safe we decided to start early and rousted the whole group to be out the door by 5:30 am. To hit the trail about 7 o'clock in the morning. 

To get to the Trail Head No. 10 where we wanted to start we had to take what hikers in the forums called, the "Road From Hell" and they weren't kidding! 

The National Forest service road is about 5 miles long and the last 3 miles are full of potholes, giant rocks attempting to jump out and destroy the underside of your car, and huge ruts in the road. We crawled really slowly to the trail head, bouncing around on the rocks we could drive over, swinging wide across the road to avoid the larger more dangerous rocks, and at one point having to leave the road to pass an otherwise impossible short section of nasty rocks. My lovely friends laughing and joking, drinking our coffee the whole way to the trail head while hilariously and in a very exaggerated manner - throwing themselves against the high side of the car for fear of us tipping (no we weren't going to roll but it sure felt like it!). I'm so glad we made this a group excursion this year! What a fun group of ladies to spend a whole weekend with!

We finally made it to the trail head and discovered we weren't the only lunatics to brave the road and make it. What was shocking though was the snow! It was pretty fresh within the last 48 hours or so, but on a good note it made following the trail very easy, we just stuck to the tracks of the couple groups ahead of us. Thankfully we all wore enough layers, and had hats to keep our ears warm!

As the sun kept getting higher in the sky we kept having to strip layers, and with zero wind we also loaded up on the sunscreen.

It was a gorgeous hike and absolutely perfect weather! Dante had a blast of course, he was totally showing off his Ruffwear jacket and Groundbird Gear pack.  One problem I ran into was I had over packed for this trip, after the South Sister last year I didn't want to forget anything important. 

I think this is Mt. Bachelor looming behind us.

I had of course my keys, phone, moleskin, a small first aid kit, emergency blanket, compact flashlight, protein bars, sandwich, 3 liters of water in my hydration bladder, water filter, knife, and extra socks. On top of the sweatshirt, jacket, hat, the sunglasses I was sporting, and of course my camera!

Dante I had packed him his own water 1 bottle for each side of his pack, poo bags, trail treats, and his Ruffwear boots (just in case) with socks.

As my layers came off my pack became stuffed! I could have emptied out some of my water but again - better safe than sorry!

We stopped regularly to chat, take pictures, and just enjoy being outside. We ended up covering ground much quicker than we thought we would.

At one point we came across a very wet section where I promptly ended up soaking both of my feet, brrr!! After dancing a silly jig about how cold my toes were I took Dante the long way around, I think this area is the meadow of flowers everyone talks about when there is no snow in the spring/summer season. It's most likely a bit boggy because it was certainly holding onto the water.  We also passed some pretty little snow run-off creeks, and tiny waterfalls.

Ball Butte, Three Sisters Wilderness
Dante of course loved the whole trip, we haven't been hiking for a little while so his leash manners were not very nice for this trip. He got better as the day progressed and he became tired but now I know what we get to work on when we get home!

Looking back at Ball Butte, and Mt. Bachelor behind us.

Ball Butte (Left) Mt. Bachelor (Right)
Broken Top ahead!

At first we were a bit unsure of which route to take, either head into the canyon towards Lost Lake or around and up the other side towards Broken Hand (weird name right?)

We ended up choosing Lost Lake, and we were not disappointed!

Heading into the canyon.
Welcome to Lost Lake!

Lost Lake with Broken Top in the background.
Lost Lake, Three Sister Wilderness
We made it!

And our view from the top was amazing!

Here is a shot of the Middle and North Sister, apparently they are even harder than the South Sister to hike! And some crazy lunatics hike all three sisters in a day, not sure how that it possible but I bet ultra runners can do it since they run 100+ mile races.

Middle Sister (Left)  North Sister (Right)

Can you spot Dante and I?
We even met this sweet older lady up on top, Dante loved her but I think she just hung around us for the dehydrated lamb treats I was feeding them both. 

After September 15th, the trails open up to allow dogs off-leash otherwise the rest of the hiking season all dogs are required to be on a 6 foot leash. During the rest of the season these are busy trails and lots of people including horses use the trails.

I had Dante on a leash for most of this trip because he wasn't listening to me very well, and their were lots of chipmunks that he wanted to chase and the last thing I want to do is have him be a dummy and go over a cliff after some silly rodent. You should have heard his whining though!

Another shot of Broken Top, I loved all the colors in the rock. Apparently this side you don't climb up, the rock is very brittle, but you can climb up on the West side (or so i've been told, but you won't see me doing it!).

Dante in one of his better moments, we were away from any potential fall hazards so I let him off-leash for a while.

Please always follow the rules of the trail, we like to keep these trails open and it's idiot dog owners who don't follow the rules that get ALL dogs banned from certain areas.

During the off-leash allowed season, it's important that if you ARE going to allow your dog off-leash, that you maintain voice control and still keep them nearby - not every dog or human for that matter on the trail likes to be ran up on even if your dog is "friendly". 

At one point we saw a dog off-leash and no humans around, he was too far away from us to grab him or I would have leashed him up and taken him back to the trail head to find his people. He ended up vanishing we never saw him or him with any humans, I hope he found his family though, but it's a lot of area for a dog to get lost in.

Overall it was an amazing trip and definitely makes my top three favorite hikes ever! Can't wait to go back!

Thanks Ladies!

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  1. That looks like such a fun trip! Your photos are gorgeous!

  2. Wow again! Stunning pictures! You live in such a beautiful area of the country! Thank you for sharing this adventure with us. PS I so loved the picture of the older Golden, we have 3 Goldens here at my house, and senior dogs rock at least to me.

    1. Thank you!!
      We had so much fun, and the older goldie was such a sweetheart. I do love senior dogs!

  3. Wow, looks like a fantastic hike!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. Beautiful pictures, that looks like an amazing adventure hike!

  5. That looks like an awesome hike! So far ten miles has been as far as we've gone.

    1. 10 miles is great! That's a decent day hike. :-)

  6. That area is on my Hiking Bucket List! So different than anything we encounter here! Fabulous photos, too!

    1. Thank you! I love Oregon, it's such a pretty state!

  7. How awesome! We are so jealous! No mountains around here to hike on. Just beautiful!

    1. Thanks Emma! I couldn't imagine no mountains... Well if you ever want to visit just let us know! We'd be happy so show you around!

  8. Those are some amazing pictures!! I love hiking and exploring with Cocoa.

    1. Thank you! We know what you mean, a dog makes hiking so much fun! They just see the world differently than us.

  9. Wow! The view is absolutely breath-taking. What a wonderful hike to take with your best friends.

  10. Beautiful pictures. I definitely have to do this one.


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