Middle Sister stood above us as a huge rounded silhouette in the light of dawn. Everyone remained asleep around us as we packed and set off ready for the days beauty. We would pass Obsidian falls, cross huge lava fields, visit the lava observatory, see Mt Washington, Jefferson and Hood, and arrive at Big Lake Youth Camp where we’d resupply using a hiker box for the next stretch, but all this was yet to come as we strolled on by the meadows around the Sisters in the early morning glow.
Obsidian is a dark shiny rock that once was incredibly valued by our ancestors. As we passed into the limited access area of Obsidian Falls, the ground lit up with its glass like shards. Obsidian Falls was stunning with its small torrent of water cascading down upon boulders of the black rock, how I wish we had more time in the area.
From here, woodland gave way to great expanses of open ground as previous volcanic activity had obliterated its way across the land. As far as the eye could see was red and black lava field turning the scape into one similar to Mars – tough on the feet, sweet to the eye. It took some time to cross the first half to the lava observatory, but once there we mingled with tourists who were quite bewildered with our appearance. With the few rations of food we had left lunch turned out to be a sorry sight, this spurred us in to get to Big Lake fast.
Crossing the second and more gnarly half of the lava flows we could see the rocky Mt Washington, the snowy peak of Jefferson and the hazy shape of Hood on the horizon. We brushed around Washington’s base through a burn area and dead forest before descending down towards the Youth Camp.
Big Lake Youth Camp is raved about by hikers and we could see why. It was like a village in the middle of nowhere with a single building dedicated to PCT hikers. The Hiker box, a box where hiker discard unwanted foods and items for others to pick up for free, was loaded with goodies and we managed to gather a suitable resupply over the course of the evening. We hung out in the warmth of the building until the sun dipped down before heading to the camping areas.