I joined Carlos and Greg Gonzalez on a backpacking trip to the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon. We spent nine days in the field far from civilization in search of "dream campsites" from which we could explore the area. Carlos and Greg are very capable wilderness map readers and were able to a find ideal sites near clean, flowing water.

The Cascade Mountains are known for the majestic Douglas fir tree. The trail on the first day was through those thick firs and we couldn't see far. Suddenly the trees thinned, revealing colorful mountain meadows. I thought we were in a Tolkien novel!

Carlos breaking out of the woods

The Three Sisters are volcanic mountains named Hope, Faith and Charity. However, they are more commonly known as North, Middle and South. Whatever you call them, each has its own look and personality.

Across from the Three Sisters is a mountain named The Husband. We climbed its ridge to get a better view of the area.

River near our campsite

The trail with Middle Sister in the background

Time to check the map!

The South Sister

The North Sister

Ted with The Husband in background

Dew drop on foliage

Recently constructed trail bridge

Husband Lake

A bracing dip at Husband Lake with South Sister looking on

Carlos climbing on ridgeline leading to The Husband

Greg admiring the view

The saw-toothed summit of The Husband

Campfires are allowed in the wilderness and we took advantage of the plentiful supply of dead wood to fuel the flames. We took great care to properly extinguish the embers so we wouldn't be responsible for burning down the forest.

Enjoying the campfire

South Sister with alpenglow

Greg hiking the saddle between Middle and South Sister

Carlos carefully crossing a stream

Plentiful and delicious huckleberries


Colorful meadow

With a backdrop of ancient lava flow, Greg and a passing wrangler exchange pleasantries

All too soon the 9-day adventure was over. Our last night was a rainy and cold one... we woke to ice covering the outside of our tents! We were fortunate to have had mostly warm weather on our trek until then and it was hard to imagine the area typically under 10 feet of snow during the winter months.

I was a passenger on the long ride to Greg's house in Medford, looking out the window at the tree-covered Cascade ranges rolling by. Carlos had a long drive home to Fresno while I took a flight back home to Florida. The early portion of my flight was entertaining as I flew over some possible future backpacking destinations!

California's Mt. Shasta out the plane window