May 22, 1977
We planned to approach Macduff Peak from the Horsepasture Saddle, but because of snow we were unable to drive to the Saddle. So we changed our route and approached the mountain from the west beginning at the Castle Rock/O'Leary trailhead near the east end of Cougar Dam.
Nine hikers left Eugene at 7:00 a.m. and were on the trail by 8:45 a.m. It was a long steady climb through forest, around huge rocky outcroppings, over meadows, and across beautiful Cougar Creek. The creek tumbles down a very steep moss-covered bed for many feet—a beautiful site to behold. We trudged on up the switchbacks for another half hour or so until we encountered snow. As we progressed and were about to cross Cougar Creek again and backtrack up the opposite slope, it began to get cold and the snow was getting considerably deeper. At that point it was nearly noon, and we still had a good distance to go before reaching the summit. We took a vote whether to proceed any further or not, and the minority of two were overruled by a majority of seven to turn back at this point. I’m sure the two gung-hoers were glad that we turned back as time went by. Because of the cold, snowy canyon at the turn around point we decided to go back down the trail a ways before having lunch. We found a nice grassy open slope with many rocks to sit on for lunch.
The day was not especially sunny or warm, but it was pleasant until about fifteen minutes before we reached the cars, when it started to sprinkle. Fortunately we were bundled into the cars before any appreciable rain fell. Because we aborted the trip early we were back to the cars by 2:30 p.m. and into Eugene by 4:00. If we had continued on up the mountain we would have been one very tired, cold bunch of people returning very late from the outing. We have decided to try it again later in the summer when we can approach Macduff from the east and return to the west, making and exciting shuttle out of it.
Sunday’s hikers were Dorothy Hayes, Richard Heinzkill, Ted Stern, Connie and Millard Thomas, Merle Traudt, Paula Vehrs and leaders Helen Smith and Lois Schreiner.