|The largest of the Green Lakes with Broken Top|
A roughly four mile hike from near Sparks Lake delivers hikers to the Green Lakes basin. Another trail gets to the basin from Todd Lake. Yet another, longer route begins near Three Creeks Lake and finds Park Meadow prior to the destination. Each of the three hikes to the basin have their own distinct characteristics.
|Aerial view, the Three Sisters volcanoes in Oregon, from the south looking north. Left to right -- South Sister, Middle Sister, and North Sister. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Green Lakes area
Another trail that gives hikers greater views is the trail from to Green Lakes from Todd Lake. This route offers ample sightings of Broken Top and Cayuse Crater. The trek actually meanders around the foot of the crater after it meets up with the Crater Ditch Trail before making its way to Green Lakes.
Broken Top via Todd Lake
While hiking this trail one early morning, I arrived at Green Lakes with a lot of energy left in my legs. Eying Broken Top, I decided to see how high I could climb up its west ridge. As I made my way up the mountain, it appeared to me that the true summit was up the southeast ridge, so I traversed the high, rocky slope of the mountain to the second ridge and once again began an ascent. To my surprise, awhile later I was standing at the highest point I could reach from that ridge. The very reason the mountain was given its name made it unclear whether I was standing at the highest point of the mountain, as from that point, the mountain appeared to have several summits. Which is the highest, it was too close for me to call, but it looked as though, from my perch, that I was at the highest point of the 9,175' mountain.
Opposing summit of Broken Top
Green Lakes and foot of S. Sister
from Broken Top summit
The third hike is the longest, approximately five miles to Park Meadow and what I think is about three miles further to Green Lakes, making it roughly a 16 mile round trip. This hike is tedious compared to the other two, in my view, but well worth it. Much of the hike is through lodge pole pine forests but opens up to grand views at the meadow.
Broken Top via Park Meadow Trail
It was near Park Meadow that my dog at the time, Cody, and I met up with another dog wandering up the trail. It became readily apparent that the dogs were nervous about the other's presence. Around and around in circles we went, with me trying to keep the pit bull away from my Chow/Lab mix. Some low toned growling was going on, so I picked up a nearby stick and readied for the battle. Suddenly, I heard the hooves of a horse barrelling down the trail, which, when it came into view, was ridden by a man with a cowboy hat on. Don't know if he was a cowboy, but at that time I could have called him any number of things - none of them very nice.
Cody incognito and in the shade
He called off his dog, apologized while I gave him a snotty look, and we headed off in opposite directions. Pet owners that have never heard of a leash - argghhh - but that is for another time and another post.
South Sister from Green Lakes