It took longer than expected to get out of Tacoma and back to Bend. By the time we arrived, it was too late to hitch back to the trail so we holed up in a hotel. We had a fairly easy hitch out of town this morning and were back hiking north from Elk Lake by 11am.
The trail tread was pretty flat and we cruised right through. In several places the woods opened up to large meadows with views of each of the 3 sister mountains in turn. Between North & Middle Sister, the ground was covered in shiny black obsidian. As the sun was dropping low, the obsidian reflected its light making the ground sparkle.
Shortly after the obsidian, the trail entered a lava flow. The small loose rock is hard to walk on. As we hiked about a mile across the lava bed, the last light of day was fading. Just as it became too dark to hike without a light, we reached a small spring and our campsite for the night. There were a couple of other tents in the area, but there was still plenty of room for us. We fixed dinner and then went straight to bed.