Three Sisters Wilderness
This is the most beautiful place in Oregon we’ve been. We are camped in a lovely meadow in the Three Sisters Wilderness. To the north lies a rock castle adorned in rich colors of deep red, gray, and gold known as Broken Top Mountain. Small pines cling to its lower slopes. Puffy white cloud formations appear out of nowhere and then explode in slow motion as they hit Broken Top’s jagged spires. A remarkable display that could keep one entertained for hours alone. If that weren’t enough, Mount Bachelor lies to the south. This giant appears like a ghostly apparition in the distance, a stark contrast of white snow against black rock and hazy sky. Mount Bachelor is a volcano. As a matter of fact, most of the peaks in Oregon are volcanoes. This is evident by the abundance of lava rock scattered pretty much everywhere in this region. With year round skiable terrain, Mount Bachelor is a playground for gravity sport enthusiasts who come to ski her deep glaciers. All of Bend Oregon is a playground for connoisseurs of human-powered sport. Possibly the most livable city in America, Bend boasts over 300 days of annual sunshine and more mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, paddling, windsurfing, skiing, snowshoeing, and free camping than you could imagine. Free camping. As it should be. Gone are the “NO CAMPING HERE” signs. In their place, “NO CAMPFIRES”, “PACK IT IN PACK IT OUT”, AND “LEAVE NO TRACE.” As long as we are truly leaving no trace, why shouldn’t we be able to park and sleep wherever we like? Well, just outside of Bend you pretty much can, with hundreds of miles of beautiful trail outside your door. Free of charge. Yes, I would certainly call Bend a livable city. A place where you can earn a modest income doing something you like and enjoy the finest things this beautiful country has to offer. Outdoor recreation. And when people are spending their free time exercising in the outdoors, they are happy. And that anyone can tell. Just visit one of the many breweries or coffee roasters in town. People are fit, attractive, and full of laughter and smiles. Eager to strike up conversation with a stranger. People in Bend love their city. And it shows. When people love their city, it sparkles with energy. The land responds to this love, becoming more beautiful, and the people respond to the land, becoming more beautiful themselves. And so a circular energy of appreciation and love is created.
I sit here with Valerie in our little meadow at the edge of the world. Looking out at this beauty as a gurgling stream delivers clear snowmelt to the base of our camp. Gone are the mosquito clouds of July. Here are the golden days of mid August. A perfect time to be in the mountains. Long warm days. Cool star filled nights. And that high summer feeling that the season will never end. Oh how I love summer in the mountains. Frolicking on the rooftops of the world. Lollygagging with the lilies. And loving as lovers do. Jobless. Homeless. And happy.
Up here in these high meadows, it is impossible not to be head over heels swept away by love. And lovers are everywhere. Kissing in the parks. Paddling their kayaks and paddleboards in the lakes. And rocking that camper next to us in the trailhead parking lot at 3am.
Oregon. A soft little word that rolls off the tongue and will forever remind us of the endless summer of 2014. The summer of love.