As the morning drew on, slowly a slew of hikers began to arrive to the resort including Caveman, Upgrade and Engineer along with ActionJackson. By the time Breakaway arrived in, there was much banter and a good atmosphere, with the bar and restaurant open for lunch. I had a sneaky beef burger and a beer whilst we planned out our routing for climbing South Sister. This would include a hike along the PCT for a few miles, then to a base camp at Moraine Lake, a summit attempt tomorrow morning, followed by rejoining the PCT later tomorrow, and attempting to recapture some miles. I was excited at that plan, it sounded like a challenging ascent and a very different day in the woods!
It was 3PM by the time we finally departed Elk Lake. I had made contact with FlyBy, who had continued ahead last night and summited South Sister today. He mentioned that we may catch him on the way to Moraine Lake tonight. So, with all hikers accounted for, the climbing party included myself, Breakaway and Outro. The hike out of Elk Lake was beautiful and afforded many opportunities to see the surrounding mountains of Broken Top, Mt.Bachelor and South Sister. The latter was the largest peak in the area, so dominating that it obscured the Middle and North Sister Peaks for the entire approach.
After breaking off from the PCT to the Moraine Lake Trail, we passed a number of bone dry meadows, with golden grasses and sandy soil. The trail seemed to walk straight at the peak, before ascending to its southern edges.
FlyBy decided to come and camp with us by the incredibly pretty Moraine Lake. This was a restricted area, with camping only allowed in specific spots, but we lucked out and found an amazing spot on a height above the lake. Our perfect camping spot gave us a view overlooking the lake and surrounding peaks, accompanied with a sunset to rival none.
It was cold, very cold as we zipped up in our tents. Myself, Outro and Breakaway in tents, and FlyBy cowboy camping close by.At 9PM we were all in bed, ready for a pre-dawn departure, with our resupply food hanging outside from a tree, and our slack-packs pre-filled and ready for us to make a quick departure in the morning.