adventure basecamp: Sisters, Oregon

adventure basecamp: Sisters, Oregon

Nestled between the snow covered peaks of the Three Sisters and the high desert of Central Oregon lies the adventure basecamp of Sisters, a small town with a big personality. With high mountain lakes, crystal clear rivers and loads of trails to explore, the options from this basecamp are nearly endless. Read on for adventure ideas.

Nearby Adventures

Top Picks In Town

Sno Cap Drive In – Homemade ice cream and big burgers. A favorite post adventure treat.


If beer is your thing after adventure, give Three Creeks Brewing a try.

lessons from a multi-day ski adventure

lessons from a multi-day ski adventure

Adventure can take many forms. In the past year, one of my favorite adventures has been learning how to cross country ski in the classic style. It started with renting gear and learning just how to get from point A to point B without falling down. (If I had to do it again, I would start with a lesson.) Then it was attending a ski camp to actually string together some technique (nothing more humbling than realizing you are doing it ALL wrong!), picking out my own skis, and finally practicing up on a variety of terrain. Every outing was a new kind of adventure – skiing something new, working on form, figuring out which gear works best for longer days…you get the picture. It has been a great way to get that feeling of discomfort that underlies the best feelings of adventure – that little push beyond the comfort zone that keeps us growing. 

Creating the Challenge

Eventually though, it was time to build something epic to put together all of the pieces we had been working on. After my buddy’s research uncovered the phenomenal nordic ski system that is Methow Trails, we decided that 3 days of skiing at least 25 miles for a total 75 mile block would be just the adventure we needed to boost our winter. For me, a multi-day adventure was another new type of challenge that I would need to figure out. While I had done multi-day backpacks, none of them involved the type of sustained effort that this skiing would. I worked on a rough mapping of routes that would explore the three main areas of the Methow, and before we knew it, we had an adventure planned.


Our GPS Tracks

After day one, I was bone tired. I was really worried that this one was going to be the one that I failed at, that I would have to cut my miles short on days two and three, that my body wouldn’t hold up, that I just couldn’t do it. Day two dawned and my foot was cranky. The first mile felt miserable. And then something happened. It was like my body and my brain just decided that there was no use in protesting. Maybe it was the beautiful mountains and bluebird skies. Maybe it was finally figuring out how to herringbone without falling on my face. I don’t know. But about two hours in on the second day, I knew I could do it. I kept feeling better and better. And it was just the lesson I needed.

So what did I learn about multi-day adventures that I will be taking forward with me?


1. The body is amazing.

Up to this point, most of my adventures were two days at most. Exhaustion after day one has always been my experience. I have typically planned day two to be less intense, worried that the effort of the day before necessitates backing off. Day two has typically felt pretty bad as I get started and eventually feels better, usually not long before I’m done. I had always assumed that this was most likely the edge of my ability, but after this ski adventure, I see that it’s entirely possible for the body to settle in to the effort and to be able to go for much longer than I had previously thought. My experienced adventure buddies confirm this as being how this stuff tends to work. So now I wonder, just how far and for how long can I go?


2. Recovery is just as important as the movement.

I have no doubt now that what we do for recovery greatly impacts our ability to keep going. As soon as we finished skiing each day, we were eating our 4:1 carbohydrate protein snack (tunafish with crackers for me) and starting in with electrolytes. The rest of the evening consisted of recovery – a large dinner, plenty of rehydration, foam rolling, compression, relaxation and sleep. There was no time for anything else while we were in the thick of it. While my buddy is an old pro at this type of thing, this was new for me, and it gives me a blueprint for future endeavors.


3. How you fuel today impacts tomorrow.

This was a lightbulb moment for me. As we skied back on the first day, I mentioned to my friend that I was starving. She looked at me with alarm. “You’re eating for tomorrow today!” “What?” I thought, “I thought I was eating for today, like a response to my low energy level or my crankiness.” Turns out, that’s not how it works. You’re replenishing for the future, not to make up for the past. Which makes my performance on the first day make more sense. The day prior we had been driving, and I didn’t eat much all day. Nervous and excited for the skiing to start, I didn’t eat much dinner either. I had low energy all day that first day of skiing, and I see now that this was likely a factor. Going forward, I’ll be paying attention to what I eat the day before I start as well.

Okay, so I was mostly energetic after the first day. Except for this uphill moment when I most definitely could have taken a nap after falling down while trying to eat my scone.

I will be using these lessons to make better plans for future outings. I would love to hear what you’ve learned along the way. Hit me up on Twitter at @runnerteri with your favorite insights.

that ‘effin voice

that ‘effin voice

You know the one. It’s the friend of fatigue, disappointment, pain and failure. It whispers to you of the comforts of sitting down, stopping, sleeping in. It loves to show up when I’m tired.

Relax, this voice says, don’t do so much. You’ve got time. This might be really hard. This might hurt too much. You might not make it. You probably aren’t strong enough. That’s really dangerous and you might die. Are you sure you’re ready? And just who do you think you are?

The bigger your goal grows, the more it sabotages, doesn’t it? And it knows just what to say to convince you to back off, since the call is coming from inside the building.

The voice means well, I suppose. It wants to keep us safe and warm and comfortable and in our routine.

Which is fantastic if we’re trying to survive in a dangerous world full of predators but not so helpful if we’re trying to fit more adventure into our lives. How do I know if my fears about avalanches are legitimate or just me trying to avoid something that is a little scary? How can I tell if my concern about a solo hike is rooted in actual danger or the fear of doing something new and just beyond my comfort zone? We have to learn to work with this voice and learn to interpret it in order to get to where we want to go.

My jerk voice is particularly loud and really, really good at convincing me to back off the big dreams. It loves to dress up as instinct – the feeling that my thought that I shouldn’t take on the hard challenge is rooted in a gut feeling that something isn’t safe. The struggle is real. But I’m learning that it is possible to tell when it’s the jerk voice just acting up again versus when my actual instincts are kicking in.

Chase Jarvis has a great short podcast that has helped me start to see the differences between what he calls the “gremlins” and instinct. You might find it helpful too. (Content begins around 4:00.)

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About The Author

About The Author

Teri Smith is starting her third act as a photographer, writer and adventure seeker in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more here.