Which is worse, up or down? Depends on which one you’re doing.

Peak SummitedSouth Sister
TrailheadDevils Lake

I hiked South Sister in 2017 for the eclipse. I had camped at Moraine Lake the night before and left before sunrise in order to get settled in to watch the eclipse. It was a once in a lifetime experience, but I still wanted to do South Sister as a dayhike. Kind of feels like cheating to start part way up. 🙂

So I started this hike around 6:30 am from Devils Lake on Labor Day. It was fairly crowded, and I found myself leap-frogging with the same few groups all the way up the mountain. This time I took more time to pause and enjoy the views. See, last year the entire mountain was socked in with smoke. This time I started off in clear mountain air, though smoke from the Terwilliger Fire blew in as the day went on (visible in one of my photos).

On the way down I had a rather philosophical chat with another solo hiker. The question: is South Sister a bigger pain going up or coming down? We decided it was all about perspective – that perspective being ‘whatever one I'm doing is the worst'. That said, I really enjoy this hike. The varied terrain and views make it continuously interesting and there is no shame in pausing to catch your breath and enjoy your surroundings!


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