Saturday, June 1, 2013

South Sister Saddle Loop via Lower Bristlecone Trail CCW - 6/1/13

South Sister from Ridge

Horses Seen Near End of Hike

Today's Saturday exploration was a loop hike that started at the Lower Bristlecone trailhead parking. It led up the road then cut over at the top of the Old Mill Picnic Area which is being worked on. From there the hike continued up through the first phase of the South Sister hike then, at the saddle, it turned left to follow the ridge making its way to the Bonanza Trail. Soon after this, the hiker has a choice of whether to descend around via the No Name Trail or use the Lower Bristlecone Trail with a detour descent to the cars. Lettie G. offers these photos and words about today's hike. The route du jour was the Bristlecone descent which, heretofore, will be known as Loop A!

Seven adventurous hikers explored the ridge to the west of the South Sister saddle. We took  the same route that Mike OC used last week. We were glad to get off Lower Bristlecone because it was already crowded. We made quick time up to the saddle although the last 15 minutes were sweaty ones.

Ridge Above South Sister Saddle
We were pleasantly surprised to meet Becky and Steve A. there. They headed off to South Sister and we went west. The ridge we followed was uphill but no one minded because most of us were exploring. Don C. has done this hike before. All along the hike we passed many piles of horse poop and were on the lookout for them.  We had views of all the other peaks as we headed for the Bonanza Trail. There were several steep sections but no scrambling or exposure and we finally made it to the Bonanza Trail. Total distance to the trail was 2.84 miles and from there we turned south and took our break at the saddle of No Name and Bonanza. After a nourishing rest, we headed back to the cars. Don C. showed us another short cut down the steep slope that cut off a little more than a mile. Hike was 6.23 miles instead of 7.44. As we stumbled down the road, Stephen spotted a herd of horses on the slope and we stopped to enjoy the sight. We all oohed and aah-ed when we saw the colt. He was busy scratching himself on the branch of a log. Perfect ending to a perfect day.  ~ Lettie G.

Hiking the Ridge
Beautiful Colt

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