A long road trip brought us all the way from Central Florida to Central Oregon. Excited to do some hiking, we stopped by the ranger station in Sisters. We got a map of the Deschutes National Forest and asked about the nearby trails. Afterwards, we randomly talked with a local at the laundromat, while waiting for some fresh clothes. The general consensus was to hike the Black Butte Trail.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in mid-June. The temperature was chilly enough for me to put on a sweater and some zip-off pants. After a long drive up some winding, rocky, dusty forest roads, we reached the trailhead parking area. The popularity of this trail was apparent by the number of vehicles crammed into such a small area at the end of the road.

This made me anxious to hike the 1,600 feet up the volcano, to the view which all these people were devoting their Saturday morning to. The trail started out shaded and cool with a total of two miles to reach the top. Before long, the trees were fewer and farther between. But as we climbed higher, the magnificent views became visible. It also became steeper and steeper. The entire trail is at an incline, so I needed quite a few breaks to stop and catch my breath.

There just aren’t any inclines like this in the flatlands. There’s also no views like this, either. Every step brought just a little bit more of the greater picture into sight. When I finally reached the top, I was completely in awe. As I spun around in circles to get the panoramic effect, I could see snow-capped volcanic peaks in every direction. There’s no greater reward for a such a strenuous hike, than getting a view like this one:

We took in the views for as long as we could before deciding to hike back down. Going down is always faster than climbing up, but at this grade, it was no less demanding. My feet, legs, and back were all aching by the time we made it to the car. A small price to pay.

Afterwards we rested and relaxed at a dispersed campsite in the Deschutes National Forest. We celebrated our successful summit with some brews from a local microbrewery in Bend. They actually named it Black Butte Porter, after the volcano. I found it wildly appropriate to drink, after climbing the beer’s namesake! A perfect end to another rewarding outdoor experience.

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