July 1, 1979
I promised a panoramic view of the Cascades, an exquisite view of two jewel-like lakes at the base of Lowder, a peer into French Pete, and a stroll along Quaking Aspen Swamp. I couldn’t deliver on most counts because the weather did not cooperate. It was raining when we left Eugene, and it did a good share of misting, raining, even hailing nearly all day. There was a brisk wind at times and lots of fog so that we did not get the promised views.
We started up the trail at 10:30 in the drizzle, but we enjoyed the beautiful flowers along the way in spite of the adverse weather conditions. Most people were dressed to withstand the dampness, although there were some tennis shoes in the crowd—wet feet, you know, but then some boots leaked too. The rock garden, about an hour’s hike from the trailhead, was a mass of phlox, paintbrush, larkspur, penstenon and other wild flowers well washed and brightly beautiful. We remarked at the vividness of the many columbine along the trail.
After trudging up the quarter mile steep ascent to the top of Lowder, we spoke of the Indian history of the area and showed the newcomers the depressions in some of the rocks where the natives ground their berries and other foods. The weather was still inclement, but we went over to the opposite side of the mountain to feast our eyes on the little lakes several hundred feet below us, but all we saw was a sea of fog. We ate our lunch at the overlook anyway, and the rain and wind abated long enough for us to enjoy a somewhat leisurely respite. We returned to the main trail amid more hail, but then the sky began to clear and we were able to get some glimpses into French Pete valley amidst a bit of intermittent sunshine.
We returned to the cars shortly after 2:30 p.m., bypassing the planned trip into Quaking Aspen Swamp from the Lowder Trail because the foliage through the steep meadows was thick, knee high and very wet. At the cars we were given a choice to go into the Swamp via the established trail or to go home. Three of the four carloads opted for hone; the leader plus Ethel, Betty M. and Irene crawled over logs and fought through vine maple over the trail to get a better view of the swamp. There we saw marsh marigolds, bird bills, lots of hellebore and many of the common wild flowers in the designated botanical area. The small grove of aspen was seen across the green meadow, and we spotted a deer browsing on the delicacies of the swamp. Having our fill of the beauties of the area we returned to Eugene amid sunshine and warmth about an hour after the advance group.
Out of 23 signers, the following fifteen braved the elements: Mary Bridgeman, Emmy Dale, Mary Ellen de la Pena, Irene Flynn, Marjorie Harrington, Betty Legris, Sarah Linden, Judith MacInnis, Betty Metzler, Steve Newnan, Donna Smedley, Debbie Rauch, Helen Smith, Ethel Steussy, and leader Lois Schreiner.