French Pete

January 29, 1977

A frosty, foggy morning in mid-winter brought out twenty-five eager hikers for the trip up French Pete. We left Eugene at 8:15 a.m. (changed from 7:00 because of the icy conditions), picked up participants along the way, and after negotiating many slippery turns on the South Fork road, arrived at French Pete Trail head nearing 10:00. It was cold and all hikers were anxious to “get going.” The sun shone all day, but always shining on the opposite shore, or above us when we were on the right side of the creek. The trail has been rerouted in recent years and new log crossings have been constructed. The trail is higher on the hillsides in many places rather than following close to the creekbed. We now cross log bridges spanning some side creeks several yards upstream from the main creek. There is a lot more up and down on this trail than before, but it is a good trail, and perhaps more interesting because the scenery is more varied.

At noon we found a sunny hillside, so grasped the opportunity to utilize the logs and somewhat open terrain for our lunch stop. It was good timing. We did not dally over refreshments very long because of the cool air, but the sun did make lunch quite pleasant. We hiked up the trail for another half-hour before reversing our direction to return to the cars, arriving there before three-thirty.

Being winter the valley was more open. The vine maple and other plants not leaved out gave a different perspective to the landscape. The cold weather brought frost and ice to much of what we saw. Beautiful ice shields covered many of the rocks in the stream, and icicles formed on overhanging rocks and branches to give the illusion of translucent silvery draperies.

Driving along the Cougar Reservoir was an unusual experience. The water was smooth as glass making a perfect mirror for the high, steep banks and wooded hillsides. It was ominous though as the reservoir was very low. Near the upper end there is a small hill that always appears as an island, but it was not an island as the water no longer inundated it—the reservoir stopped at its base which is many yards down stream from its usual terminus. The boat landings are left high and dry. Walker Creek is only a small trickle into the lake.

The six men and nineteen women seeing the sights are Carol Bourgerie, Joan and Ray Cofer, Joe Eagan, Don and Nancy Garvin, Gladys Grancorvitz, Lorene Harris, Dorothy Hayes, Helen Hughes, Liz Igl, Anne Kaeo, Joe Lowry, Elizabeth McMullin, Rachel Major, Vern Nelson, Anne Raftree, Linda Richards, Sherrie Rush, Lois Schreiner (leader), Helen Smith, Ruth TenEyck, Merle Traudt, Eleanor Wilkerson, and Dina Wills.

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