After everyone’s arrival at the Seattle Airport, the Northwest trip quickly went underway as the whole crew drove southward to the Washington-Oregon border. That first evening the group began to get to know each other and bond over common interests in rock climbing, arts and crafts, and the outdoors. Although not eating meat himself, Dean happily stepped up to cut and cook the chicken for our first pesto pasta dinner. Because of their experience on WV trips before, Ana and Lizzy were natural leaders for helping to teach WV traditions like evening circle and also skills like setting up tents. The next day we continued our approach toward the Three Sisters Wilderness in the Deschutes National Forest in Central Oregon. Although the southern most portion of our trip, the high altitudes made the alpine regions beautifully snow capped. After preparing our gear and food for backpacking, of which Artem and Cole volunteered to carry a hefty load, we played games and relaxed for the afternoon. JJ entertained the group with his charades skills and Leave No Trace skit. Jordan attentively helped the leaders with anything they needed while cooking chili for dinner that evening.
The next day, Ana helped lead the group for the first day of hiking, bearing the maps as we ascended 1000 ft toward the Moraine Lake area. We ate lunch next to a great view of where we had just hiked, where Ariya took many photos and Stephanie began drawing sketches of her peers. Artem showed expertise in descending snowy hills toward camp and inspired the rest of the group to have fun in the snow. After arriving at the frozen lake, we quickly set up camp and cozied up in our tents as Ariya mastered setting up the whisper lite stove for our burrito dinner. That evening we celebrated Cole’s birthday with apple and berry pies as a surprise dessert.
After camping by Moraine lake, we descended in altitude toward Sister’s Mirror lake, which lent itself to an afternoon of swimming and relaxing in the sun. Zoe helped keep spirits high throughout hiking as she told stories and laughed with her peers on trail. JJ helped maintain the group’s cohesion on trail as his boundless energy spread to everyone throughout the day.
Everyone took a break day at Sister’s Mirror lake to relax before ending the first backpacking section. Stephanie continued sketching the group having fun, and her drawings impressed us all. We ate a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in the backcountry as we went around and expressed things we were thankful for. Among them, everyone was excited to be on the trip making great new friends and enjoying the outdoors. Relaxing turned into a silly evening of game playing, singing, laughing, and Dean’s harmonica playing.
After four nights in the backcountry, everyone is looking forward to climbing at smith rock and rafting the Deschutes in our next adventure sections!