Devil’s Den

June 19, 1982

John Cecil kept asking me if I would lead a trip . . . Well, John can be most persistant and so finally in a moment of weakness I said I would . . . Now where to go??? Devil’s Den was my first thought . . . Devil’s Den is a huge crack system on top of Deer Ridge, which is due west of Roseburg in the Coast Range. A group of eleven met at the parking lot, made a two-car convoy, and took off for Roseburg. After a coffee stop, we went west through Melrose and up the Calahan Road. A very steep and curvy road which gains 1900 feet very fast . . . Parking our cars under a nice stand of old fir trees (they did not get burned during the big forest fire in 1951), we started down the dirt road which leads toward Devil’s Den. We did not drive because of the condition of the road which is used by off-road jeeps, etc. in the winter. A quick two-mile hike with excellent views down into the Umpqua River valley got us to the start of the crack system. After setting up a hand line to get into the head of Devil’s Den, we started down. Now getting to the lunch spot was the main thing . . . There were a few obstacles between us and the lunch spot though. Devil’s Den was formed by a section of the rock ridge the length of a football field splitting apart. The results are rooms up to 150 feet deep and up to 50 feet wide. There are also cracks just wide enough to get into which go from the inside of the Den to the outside face of the ridge. This plus the many huge rocks which are all jumbled together inside makes for an interesting, but convoluted route finding problem. Lots of climbing, crawling, slipping, sliding, wiggling, etc. Despite this, even though those who had never done this type of thing before made the lunch spot. At this point those who were still willing to follow me, said they would go to the end. We went down into a hole which at one time contained bats (it’s dark) and with a few more twists and turns the following people—Mike Bobst, Bob Foster, Chris Kirk, Ed Lovegren, Anne Montgomery, Wes Prouty got a chance to kiss the blarney madrone tree (the official end). After a couple more side trips we got back to the lunch spot where we joined Barbara Kirk, Sharon Smith, Herry Smith and Elaine Yost. After a nice lunch, which was eaten sitting on soft moss in the shade where it was 75 degrees (outside it was at least 90), we headed back to the start. After getting to the hand line, some left to hike back to the cars, while I took a few to do one more side trip back into the Den by a different route. The only negative part of the trip was finding that some lowlife had somehow brought a chainsaw into the den and cut down a magnificent big leaf maple tree which stood in the center of the biggest room. On the positive side the people on the trip were a fine and enjoyable group. Leading trips can be fun—Gary Kirk, leader.


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