Coburg Hills Map & Compass Trip

April 16, 1978

On the morning of April 16, the weatherman was saying 30% chance of rain and sure enough our map and compass group walked right through all 30% of it. Our small group walked up the jeep trail to the old quarry observing contours and taking bearings on landmarks as we went. At the quarry we observed the drainage patterns of the two small streams that converge there and proceeded up past the Minnow to a lunch stop at the Whale. This is an excellent place to study contours, especially with the Eugene East, 7½min., U.S.G.S. contour map. The radio tower gives a reliable reference point and we took bearings on it several times to locate ourselves. Intermittent showers caused an “on again, off again” situation with raincoats and ponchos. Several times we had to find shelter under the trees. We made an attempt to scale the heights to the Coburg Caves, but the rain had made the trail such a slippery slide we retreated to the meadow below and with soggy maps and a stubborn compass began to establish a “here to there” course from the meadow to the old quarry. After both the classic mistakes had been made, the compass finally told us that the bearing from the meadow to the quarry was 162° not 342°, which would have taken us back to the caves. Walking through the woods with nothing but a hand held compass to guide you can be a scary experience the first time you do it. After a 20-minute walk we suddenly found ourselves overlooking the upper edge of the old quarry. “Right on the button!” shouted an exultant Paula Vehrs. “I’ll be darned, it really works,” mumbled an astounded Emmy Dale. “I’m sure glad it worked because I never did know what was going on,” said relieved Edythe Pearson. As I said the party was small. Paula, Emmy, Edythe and leader Bob Holmquist were the only ones to brave the rainy, blustery day. The wild flowers were enjoyable and a friendly little pony gave us a few bright moments. I hope the light of understanding map & compass got a little brighter. EMMY, I TOLD YOU IT WOULD WORK!

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