Rhodes Trip: Suttle Lake

Mia and I have been to/thru Sisters, Oregon many times. We’ve been over Santiam Pass a lot too. However we had only been to Suttle Lake once, briefly, this past spring when coming back from a weekend away. It was hot and we wanted to give Codi a quick swim before the long ride home. We were only there for less than 10 minutes.

Suttle Lake weekend
Site 22 at South Shore campground

I lucked into a late August campsite just scrolling through recreation.gov one day. Someone must have cancelled because when I was playing around on the website about a week before there was nothing available.

Suttle Lake weekend
Busy time of the year for camping

I booked the site before Mia replied if she wanted to camp that weekend or not. I figured worst case scenario was I do a solo trip or Codi and I take off for the weekend. Lucky for me Mia was game (her coming does make it more exciting for me and Codi).

Suttle Lake weekend
Somebody needs to spellcheck the sign shop

We made good time to the campground and where able to get in and “setup” with plenty of daylight left. Let me tell you one of the key benefits of #vanlife. When I say “setup” that basically means we pull into the site (or back in for this site), put the van in park and turn off the engine. BANG! Done! No tent to setup, mattress/pad to inflate or anything like that. We move the fridge off 12 volt to the Jackery Battery and then plug our interior lights into a little portable powerpack. That’s about all it takes now.

On Saturday we were a bit lazy and didn’t get rolling until later in the morning. We didn’t need to go very far though. Our destination was the PCT parking lot at the top of Santiam Pass. We were planning on a short hike to Square Lake.

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About 2/10ths of a mile up the PCT you turn here

The weather was overcast and cool. Quite the change from the 90’s and blazing sun that feels like it has been nonstop this summer.

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Something fascinating about hiking through these old burns
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Our first sighting of the lake

We saw a family eating lunch and fishing in the lake and then on the way back out we saw maybe 3 other people. Also take note that the link above says the hike is 4.4 miles roundtrip. Both Mia and I were closer to 5. Not a huge difference just wanted to make a note for anyone who stumbles upon this post.

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Oregon’s Mt. Washington
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My favorite hiking companions

On Sunday Mia was kind enough to let me mountain bike 25 miles to Sisters on a route I mapped out while she took care of CB and went on a short run.

Suttle Lake weekend
I beat her to Sisters Coffee

I flatted my rear on a transition from pavement to dirt only six mile into the ride. I poked a hole in the tire and the damn sealant wasn’t doing its job, surprising since it was a tire that I had only mounted up about a month ago. I ended up putting a tube in it for the sake of sanity. I can only think that the bottle I took t he sealant from was pretty much tapped out. I probably had very little latex particles floating around in there to clog the hole. No big deal though. I still made good time to Sisters Coffee. I even beat Mia there by about 10 minutes.

Sisters is the one city in Oregon that could potentially keep us here after retirement. The access to biking, hiking, water sports, etc is fascinating but it isn’t that bigger, overcrowded feel of Bend. While Sisters is very touristy there is something about it that hits home with me. Given that New Hampshire’s economy is more or less based on tourism it just feels natural to me.

Well that’s about it for now

Thanks for reading,
-Pete

3 Comments Add yours

  1. adventurepdx says:

    How was the air quality? I was on that side of the mountains last week. Lake Billy Chinook was ok, but when we headed to Bend, it was in the “unhealthy to at risk people/unhealthy” category with a definite “campfire” smell and heavy haze.

    The Bend/Sisters dichotomy is where we definitely differ. I’m more a city person than you, so a place like Bend feels better to me, even if it’s a bit overdone. Sisters would be too small/touristy for my liking as a “retirement” (ha, like that’ll happen) destino.

    1. Onrhodes says:

      Air quality was fine. Nice afternoon breeze off the pass kept things nice.

      And yeah my retirement town will be no bigger than 10,000 people if I get my way. People were not designed to live so close to each other (in my opinion).

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