It has been 4 years since Melissa and I hiked up to Golden Lake for our birthdays so we decided we should go hiking again this year. I always like hiking in September, if you can get the weather right you normally will have less people and bugs. We were initially torn on whether we wanted to go all the way up to Camp Lake or drop down to Demaris Lake. Demaris Lake was a slightly shorter hike and more protected from wind and the latter is what made us eventually end up there. Demaris Lake sits in the Three Creeks Wilderness on the eastside of the Cascade divide between the South and Middle Sisters.
To get to Demaris Lake we started at the Pole Creek Trailhead up Forest Service Road 15 outside of Sisters, OR. From the trailhead it was 1.5 miles up to the Green Lakes Trail. The trail then slowly descends to Soap Creek at mile 2.25. After crossing the log s over the creek you take the right turn to head up to Chamber Lakes. At mile 4.85 the trail reaches another stream crossing, this one is the North Fork of Whychus Creek. Just after the crossing there is a junction where the right trail goes to Camp Lake and the left to Demaris Lake. The trail from here is slightly downhill to Demaris Lake for 1 mile making it 5.8 miles in total.
Friday morning when we got up the weather was perfect. It was warm with only a slight breeze. Even though our birthdays were now a couple days behind us we went out for breakfast at Victoria’s Café in Bend before heading into the mountains. After breakfast we headed out of town and arrived at the trailhead around noon. A bit of a late start but since we had a short day ahead of us it was not too big a deal. We had figured it would be a little cooler up high but when we arrived at the trailhead it was still rather warm. The hike up to the Green Lakes Trail is up through the forest without a view and plenty of dust. Since you begin climbing right from the parking lot you are sweating right off the bat. Melissa and I made good time and were happy to reach the downhill section on the Green Lakes Trail to Soap Creek. There were some clouds blowing up high which helped cool things off from time to time. Soap Creek looked the same as when I camped there on my Attempt on the Middle Sister. We took the right turn and started climbing up to the lake. Up to this point we had not see anyone else out on the trail but we saw several groups coming down on this section. They were all day hikers who had gone up to or near Camp Lake.
This section of the trail is much like the first section, uphill with little to no views. The dust had abated a little bit which meant Melissa was not as far behind me on the way up. It seemed to take a bit longer for this section up to the stream crossing. Melissa and I both had blisters on our heels which was giving us trouble. When we arrived at the creek crossing it had turned into a hazy but warm afternoon. The clouds were high so we finally had views of the Three Sisters. The North Fork of Whychus Creek was flowing pretty good and fortunately someone had built a makeshift log bridge over it to make it an easier crossing. The water in this creek is really cloudy from all the silt coming off the glaciers above. Make a note not to count on it for drinking water unless absolutely necessary. It will definitely clog a water filter.
From the stream crossing it is about 1 mile down to the lake. Demaris Lake is a small lake that has trees around most of the lake. The west side is a short walk from a drop off into the South Fork of Whychus Creek drainage. From this drop off you can look out towards Sisters. We wandered around the lake looking for a good campsite and found some options on the southeast shore. There are some great spots all along the south side of the lake that are protected and flat. We took our time and set up camp. The wind was slowly dying and it was going to be a really nice evening. We were the only ones up at the lake and after we had camp set up we went wandering around the area. Since the lake is nestled in between a couple of drop offs there are not a lot of places to wander so we were not out and about for too long. We got back to camp and started making dinner and dessert. Last time we were out we brought a dessert that needed to be cooked so I did not make that mistake again. By the time we had eaten dinner and dessert it was getting close to dark. We eventually got into bed and read for a couple hours before going to bed.
It was an interesting night as it was warm and calm when we went to bed but around 2 am the wind came started to blow and it drop considerably colder. Since we were near the lake and in the trees the wind just howled overhead and apart from the noise it was a chill night. We ended up sleeping in until just before 8 am and got up to make breakfast and hot cocoa. Morning was partly sunny but much cooler than the day before. We hung out for a bit before packing up camp. The hike out was the same way we came in but downhill now. It was much cooler and more pleasant on the way out. Even though it was downhill and cooler, it took us almost as long to hike out as it did to hike in. We got back to the car around noon and headed back into town for some drinks at Sisters Coffee Company and treats for the Sisters Bakery, both worthy places after some time in the mountains. I was pleased to hear from Melissa that she enjoyed this trip much more than the Golden Lake Hike and she wants to make it an annual thing (the hiking part that is). Demaris Lake while not well known is an excellent location, I imagine that there can be a lot of mosquitoes in the main part of the season so be prepared. We even saw a couple. As always, your mileage may vary.
- High Sierra Hawk 45 Pack – Once again it was solid. Comfortable and the back vented well on the hot climb.
- Sierra Designs Meteor Light 2 Tent – Not super light but it has lots of well thought out components. A nice roomy two person tent.
- Primus ETA Solo Stove – Boils water well, no complaints.
- Sea to Summit Pack Tap – Very handy, saves trips to the water source. The tap works great.
- Columbia Peak to Peak Jacket – Once again a glorified wind jacket. We need some rain.
- Icebreaker Sierra Half Zip Realfleece – Good warmth for its weight. Hiked with it on a short while as well.
- Icebreaker Chase Zip – Was a good hiking shirt and baselayer. I did not overheat on the climb, smelled good, and there are no seams on top of the shoulder so it was comfortable under my pack.
- Sherpa Adventure Gear Sanye Hat – Really warm beanie.
- Julbo Trail Sunglasses – Fit okay under a hat and great without one.
- Treksta Assault GTX Boots – Got some blisters on my first time hiking in them, verdict is still out.
- Komperdell C3 Carbon Trekking Poles – So much lighter than my basic poles. Definitely a step up.
- Osprey Aura 50 Pack – Just a solid pack. Fits her well and has lots of handy pockets.
- Komperdell Titanal HF Trekking Poles – Her new favorite gear. Especially the added balance it can give on stream crossings.
- Hi-Tec Moonstruck Parka – She loves the inner down jacket and the verdict is still out on the outershell. We need some rain to test it further.