Site Report
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South Sister volcano (Aug 13, 2007 - Aug 15, 2007)
South Sister volcano (ORCNBNSS) Bend, OR (USA) 9 species 1 trip (0 non-trip sightings)
The trail up South Sister begins at the Devil's Lake campground, crosses the road and a couple small very cold streams then climbs about 1500' through old mountain hemlock forest. It's an unusual forest. The hemlocks grow singly or several in a cluster and although the canopy is closed the trees are widely spaced with almost no understory cover between them. The trunks curve out of the slope and are festooned with moss along the lower half mile or so of the trail. At about a mile and a half from the road the trail reaches the broad open ridge, really more like a pumice plain, above Moraine Lake. The ridge drops steeply a few hundred feet down to the Moraine Lake valley to the east and extends west a mile or so, losing some elevation, to a lumpy and blocky flow of dark gray lava which looks, from a distance anyway, to be very fresh. The surface of the pumice plain consists of low rounded hummocks mostly about 10 feet high and maybe 100 feet across composed mostly of pale sand and pumice gravel with scattered cobbles of vitreous lava. I don't know if the terrain is erosional or depositional. The cone of South Sister rises 3500' above the pumice plain and on the south side consists of fairly smooth flows of gray lava mostly covered with pumice. The top 1500 feet of the cone are blanketed with rust-colored cinders over the more consolidated gray lava. The nearly-senescent Lewis Glacier has cut into the southeast side of the cone but hasn't breached the rim. On top is a crater about a quarter mile across filled with snow and ice. Vegetation is sparse. Groves and lines of mountain hemlock follow the lava flows up to about 8000 then yield to shrubby pine. The pumice soil doesn't yet support meadows but grasses and low flowers - lupine, red and yellow paintbrush, yellow and pink buckwheats, yellow composites and others - add color to the pumice slopes. The yellow composite grows among the cinders on the summit rim as well.
Species Sightings Trips First Date Last Date Avg/Sighting Avg/Trip Max Ct
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 1.0 1.0 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 1.0 1.0 1
Prairie Falcon 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 1.0 1.0 1
Clark's Nutcracker 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 3.0 3.0 3
Common Raven 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 6.0 6.0 6
Orange-crowned Warbler 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 1.0 1.0 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 10.0 10.0 10
Song Sparrow 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 1.0 1.0 1
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch 1   1 08/14/2007 08/14/2007 2.0 2.0 2