Smith Rocks

October 13-14, 1979

Ours was a leisurely weekend with a somewhat taxing hike. We took the scenic route over McKenzie pass, petted some llamas just before entering Sisters, then spent an hour and a half poking around the shops of that interesting little town. Some of our group ate the last of the world’s best French onion soup and some of our group looked on in dismay, then settled for pie instead.

We set up camp at Tumalo State Park, then had a sumptuous meal of charbroiled steak and hamburger with potatoes and corn on the cob roasted in the coals of our roaring campfire. (It was actually a sputtering campfire until Dave and Jack dragged a good sized log off the side of a hill.) The meal was complete with salad, rolls, Swiss mocha coffee and popcorn for dessert.

All had a fitful sleep due to a noisy bunch of kids, but we were revived by a delicious breakfast of bacon, eggs, sweet rolls, honeydew melon, fruit juice and camp coffee. (An advantage of car camping is great food.) We took in Peterson’s Rock Garden, a fairyland of intricate miniature rock structures and bridges constructed with loving care.

We began our hike around magnificent Smith Rocks at 11:15 and had our lunch on top at 1:30. The day was overcast and cool, perfect for the strenuous up-hill trek. The cathedral-like rock formations were awesome in their beauty. The view from the top was glorious, even on a cloudy day. From at least one point it is easy to see why the Crooked River is so named because it was plainly visible right under us both on the north and the south.

The ascent was steep and hard work. The descent was steep and fast. We were sprinkled on during the descent, even though we hurried after seeing Black Butte disappear in a rain storm. The sky really opened up only after we were safely on the river trail again and only a half hour away from our cars and dry clothing. The rain was pleasant and warm and was accompanied by the lovely fragrances of the first rain in weeks on the dust, the juniper and the sagebrush.

Hikers were Jack Ewing, Gladys Grancorvitz, Joella Hadland (leader), Jan Middleswart, Dave Predeek, and Dorothy Turner.


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