|Fall Creek lined in gold|
The forecast didn't look very promising, calling for a cloudy, drizzly day. We lingered around my brother's house until way past mid-morning, hoping things would clear. Finally, getting a bit stir crazy, I suggested we pack our raingear and just go for it. So we'd get a little bit wet....no big deal.
|One of the lovely waterfalls on Fall Creek|
I'd always wanted to hike the Green Lakes trail all the way to the Green Lakes. Having only traversed a little over halfway to the famed lakes, this goal was high on my list. My brother also was interested in exploring more of this trail, so he didn't take much convincing.
|More autumn finery|
We drove the Cascade Lakes highway to our trailhead in a pouring rainstorm. A dry hike wasn't looking too promising. But passing by Mt Bachelor a funny thing happened. The sky began to clear. By the time we reached the Green Lakes Trailhead, not only had the rain completely stopped, a tiny bit of blue sky was visible through the clouds.
|Walking beside an old lava flow|
Completely unexpected, but certainly appreciated, my brother and I hastily grabbed backpacks and started out on the trail before the weather changed it's mind.
|Stormy weather to the south|
The first part of the Green Lakes Trail (that I'd hiked twice before) follows Fall Creek. Although gorgeous year-round, autumn colors put on a spectacular show, with golden bushes lining the creek's banks. A few small waterfalls also added to the beauty.
Two miles in we passed a junction with the Moraine Lake Trail. After this, the forest thinned out a tiny bit and views opened up. We got our first glimpse of South Sister through a clearing, and then began a short climb.
|This path along the creek was the most beautiful of all|
Emerging from the forest into another clearing, my brother and I came upon the most scenic portion of the hike. Fall Creek wound through a wide plain lined with golden grasses and yellow bushes. A huge lava flow rose up on one side of the creek, glittering with black obsidian. Sunshine streamed down from the sky, illuminating everything in perfect light.
|More golden bushes|
As I looked back toward the direction we'd come, I noticed dark clouds hovering above the adjacent hills. It looked as though rain might come at any minute. But where we were standing it was nothing but sunshine!
Normally an insanely popular trail, we'd seen maybe a dozen people thus far. And most of those were heading back to the parking area. It appeared that the inclement weather (or threat of) had scared most folks away.
|Admiring South Sister from Green Lake|
Climbing up to another wide-open plain, we were hit by strong wind gusts. South Sister rose grandly from one direction, while Broken Top Mountain's craggy tip could be seen from the other. Before us was the blue-gray waters of the largest Green Lake. We'd made it!
|Beautiful place for a break|
There are three Green Lakes in the area, all popular backpacking destinations. But today we didn't see any tents, or for that matter, any people. My brother and I followed a side trail to the shoreline of the largest Green Lake and ducked behind a stand of trees to escape the wind. We had a killer view of South Sister - perfect place for a snack break.
|Broken Top Mountain|
After inhaling a couple of Cliff bars and some really good trail mix from my brother's backpack, I decided we'd better head back before our good weather window ran out. So retracing our steps, we trekked back past the amazing lava flow and beautiful creek (with more photo ops).
|The water sparkled in the sun|
Although I was worried about rain returning, the skies remained sunny and dry the entire trip back. As a matter of fact, sunshine and blue skies greeted us at the trailhead, illuminating the colorful autumn hues.
|Fall colors back at the trailhead|
And Broken Top Mountain looked especially stunning with a dusting of snow.
|Broken Top with a dusting of snow|
My weekend ended with a trip to my daughter's home and another visit with her cute puppy, who was growing by leaps and bounds.
|Cute grand-puppy pic!|
Although the day started out wet, a surprise change in the weather made for a memorable trip along the Green Lakes Trail. Gotta love Central Oregon!
Stats: 9 miles round-trip, 1150 feet elevation gain.