MacDuff Peak

September 27, 1981

That very elusive MacDuff Peak did it again. This time our excursion failed to reach the summit because the leader erred. Perhaps she has learned a lesson—that a trip should be scouted beforehand. Anyway, six out of ten signers left Eugene about 7:35 a.m. and arrived on an abandoned road near Cougar Reservoir before 10:00. It didn’t look right, but we followed it for awhile and decided it was a powerline road. As the road deteriorated we saw some ribbons, so decided to follow them, hoping it would take us to the lower end of the old Castle Rock Trail. After climbing over logs and getting deeper into the forests we decided to abandon that approach so went back to the cars. Out of several options the leader decided to take the group up the Castle Rock road and park at the saddle near the old Castle Rock Trail. At eleven o’clock we started down the old trail and reached the beginning of the O’Leary Trail at 11:55 a.m. I was certain the road was close by and proceeded down through the brushy trail a short distance to the road where we had lunch. At 12:15 p.m. (at least two hours too late at that point) we started up the O’Leary Trail toward Macduff Peak. We knew we would not be able to make the steep, and I mean STEEP, four miles to the top, so set a time limit for turning back. We trudged up approximately two miles through some sunshine and shadow, but the rains came about l:15 (half way to our turn-around point) and continued most of the rest of our hike. Then, at l:30 p.m. we stopped for more food, and the majority of the crowd opted to turn back after the snack, so that’s what we did. Boy, was it ever steep going down. If everyone’s knees and thighs hurt like mine descending that trail, there were a lot of sore muscles from this trip. We were back to the cars by 4:00 p.m. ready to return to civilization, dry clothes and warm houses.

I was still puzzled concerning the approach to the O’Leary Trail (I had been there before several years ago), so my carload went exploring—scouting the hike after the fact. We found a road very near the face of the dam so decided to see where it would take us. Well, lo and behold,_ after 2½ miles we were at our lunch spot near the O’Leary trailhead. It’s not the same road I remember of many years past—that one has been abandoned (a different one than we tried earlier in the morning)—but apparently is the road used about four years ago. (Frankly, I don’t remember it except at the upper end.)

Rain trotters were Laura Bates, Phyllis Ford, Mary Fulton, Lana and Jack Lindstrom and leader Lois Schreiner.

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