Macduff Peak

July 12, 1980

The Case of the Misnamed Mountain!

Three rough and ready Obsidians left Eugene Saturday, July 12, at 6:38 a.m. We arrived at the Horsepasture Saddle at 8:15 a.m. and were on the Olallie Trail by 8:35 a.m. After half an hour of hiking north through a myriad of beautiful flowers and green foliage, we turned onto the seldom used O’Leary Trail. Another half-hour of following orange ribbons through a hillside meadow and forest we arrived at the ridge overlooking the East Fork with the Sawtooth ridge facing us across the valley. We followed the open ridge by footpath and rock cairn, passed the helispot, eventually reaching a forested area where the trail was barely visible. We traveled through several south-facing slopes, then entered the woods again, but were unable to find the trail.

As the slope dropped steeply to the west and the trail was not apparent, we discussed our next move. Ewart suggested we continue down the hill to the saddle shown on our McKenzie Bridge quadrangle topographic map. We passed through a large patch of pink blooming rhodies and came out on a trail which we followed along another ridge then down through a swampy area on the north side of the slope. The swamp was crisscrossed with downed trees and the ground was covered in ankle deep sheep sorrel. We finally decided to leave the lush vegetation and worked our way up to a rocky ridge where we could see a high point ahead which the leader was sure was our destination.

We climbed up an open rocky south facing slope, then through trees near the top and finally reached the open peak, where we found the plaque dedicated to Nelson Macduff.

We had spent 4½ hours fighting high meadow grass, downed logs, lost trail and much hiking up and down the slopes to reach the elusive Macduff Peak. However, we discovered after poring over the map that we had passed the point marked Macduff on the map, and were firmly standing on the peak indicated as McLennon on the map. Question: Was the peak named before 1931 when the plaque was placed on the peak or are the maps mismarked? According to McArthur’s Oregon Geographic Names, the peak named Macduff is located in sec. 6, T 17S., R 5½E. That is approximately the area on the map where the name Macduff appears. McLennon is about sec. 35, T 16S., R 5E., and that is where the Macduff plaque is located.

The view was superb on that warm, sunny day. After eating lunch and enjoying the scenery for 40 minutes, we started our trek back to the car. George had inadvertently left his sunglasses on the hillside. Well, miracle of miracles, he was able to find them on our return. Olallie Trail was a welcome sight as it was the best trail tread of the day and meant we had only 30 minutes more hiking to reach the car. It took us five hours to return because we were so tired and had stopped for many rests. Ewart said it was as tiring and grueling as any mountain climb he had experienced. There were a few sore knees, legs and feet acquired on the 13 mile venture, and the car looked mighty welcome when we arrived about 7 p.m. We were not as rough and ready to tackle Macduff as we thought.

There was no stopping on the way home, and we arrived in Eugene about 8:30 p.m., knowing we had accomplished much that day. Hikers to Macduff were Ewart Baldwin, George Reddick and leader Lois Schreiner.

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