Boulder Creek—Pine Bench area

July 9-10, 1977

This was a first hike by an Obsidian group into the Pine Bench area on the North Umpqua River. Ten hikers left at 9:00 a.m. Saturday for the drive through Cottage Grove, around Dorena Reservoir and up Sharps Creek past several historic sites in the Bohemia Mines area. We took a leisurely pace, stopping at several of these points of interest along the way. Clouds broke up by mid-morning and by noon we were basking in the sun as we ate lunch along the bank at Canton Creek Campground.

By 2:30 we were on the trail which climbs upward from the Umpqua through a mixed forest of fir, hemlock and huge sugar pine, then onto the bench. The bench is a large grassy meadow with an abundance of flowers and wild strawberries beneath a stand of old growth Ponderosa Pine. The trail continues on for a total of nine miles, but our destination was the shelter 2½ miles in at the far end of the bench where we were content to enjoy the cool spring water and spectacular view of Boulder Creek Gorge.

The highlight of the trip was the sighting of a bear just seven minutes down trail from camp. He took off and was not seen again but he did generate some lively discussion around the evening campfire! Boulder Creek is getting much attention because of its inclusion in Hatfield’s Wilderness Bill and judging by the response of this group, has much potential as a recreation area.

The bear provided the excitement, but it was the pancakes, shish kebabs, good weather, good scenery, and above all good company that made this a fine trip. Hikers were Carol and Lonnie Bourgerie, Alan Curtis, Donnia Ferchland, Barbara and Joe Wanores, Kevin Merker, Ron Leland and co-leaders Dot Leland & Leona Mattson.

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