Maxwell Butte

September 19, 1982

We expect no fancy biota — no hardship of travel as we are privileged to hike this easily accessable and well used trail from just off Highway 22 to the summit of Maxwell Butte. We do look forward to seeing magnificent vistas — south, east and north. This day Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson were swathed in filmy clouds which parted a little from time to time to let us know they were still in residence. The valley floor, to the east, was more visible and we could see great detail from Duffy Lake past Santiam Lake to the two Berleys. Craig remained hidden. To the south the Potato Hill-HooDoo-Hayrick Butte-Hogg Rock (with its girdle of highway)-Sand Mt. complex presented itself and in the distance Belknap Crater showed.

Not one drop of rain fell while we were on the trail but the homeward journey led through, several lively showers. The trail was still wet from a good soaking and the low priority given to trail clearing by the Forest Service has resulted in considerable ecological damage as hikers and particularly horses make their way around downfall.

Along the trail this mid-September day (probably early June Maxwell Butte time) were noted Penstemon, Scarlet Gilia, Lupine, Pearly Everlasting, Mountain Aster, Prince’s Pine, Twin Flower and one flowered spike of Bear Grass. Birds noted were Pine Siskin, Red Shafted Flicker, Juncos and some not identified. On the return we marveled to see an osprey sitting at the top of a tall tree a short distance from the years old nest near the trailhead. He gave us his monotoned concert and we could hear him following us through the woods as we returned to the parked cars.

All made it to the top except Paula Vehrs. Her fears as to the functioning of her car’s ignition system caused her to bow out at the half-way mark and return. Her destination was Bend and her note said “car OK”.

We did have a mystery. What were a pair of Ladies-delicately-flowered-freshly laundered (or new)-neatly folded-under pants (long Johns) doing setting on a log along the trail. Conjecture ranged from the prosaic “where is the other part?” to “Where is this Wild, Wild Woman?”. No satisfactory solution presented itself. Perhaps someone is stocking a Ladies Ready-to-Wear Store. In this latter day, (with apologies to R. W. E.) on a beaten path in the midst of a dense forest, the world will pay (pay) little attention. (Hope this satisfies you jokers.)

We were helpful. A note at the trail head told of a missing horse and pack saddle. We saw a bundle of hay at the first trail downfall. A group of people with horses were encamped at Twin Lakes. From near the top we saw a horse far to the south against the escarpment above Lost Lake. We also heard a whinney. Some saw a horse with packsaddle—some even saw a human close by. Horse and rider from Twin Lakes set out to check our report.

A disappointment! An anticipated stop to replenish our strength with Vi’s Pi’s, perhaps even with B & B (Lauded so admirably and poetically in previous issues of this journal), was cancelled on account of the place was flowing over with people. One car after a stop at the Fish Lake cemetery were able to get in.

In addition to the one mentioned above, guests were Dick and Mary Bentsen, Barb Elsen, Marshall Pallett, and Maggie Gontrum; Obsidians were John Cecil, Don Payne, Betty Legris, Karen Seidel, Velma Shirk, Ethel Weltman and leader Wilbur Groner.


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