October 3-7, 1983

Prospects for bridgeless Deception Butte Trail #3466 look brighter today than they have for many a year . . .

Incredulous disbelief greeted the news recently that efforts by various interested, concerned hikers are apparently about to pay off on this favorite, 4.3 mile, Lowell District hiking trail.

Long a hiker’s nemesis, Deception Butte Trail is a close-in, low-elevation, “ “through-the-timber-and-up-the-butte” ” hiking path with an easy trailhead at Milepost 31 on Highway 58, but with an impassable creek crossing for all but the big, strong and waterproof. It has long been an Obsidian standard. Various ruses have gotten hiking parties across: soaked boots, slippery stepping stones, and on one occasion a hip wader was passed back and forth (time consuming and it leaked . . .).

A 10-man/woman “heavy” squad from Lowell Forest Service (including acting District Ranger Tom Hussey) and four Obsidians, this week heaved, pushed, dug, pulled, shoved, hammered, drilled, sawed, sweated, grunted and generally worried into existence the required 12' x 12' log “crib” on the bank of the creek, and neatly ballasted it with river boulders. A one-log “sill” appeared as if by magic across the stream, leveled and precisely squared in spite of some crude measuring equipment. The whole was designed and overseen by Forest Engineer Marcia Miolano, and the exercise was generally “gaffered” by Brad Exton, Lowell’s recreation person.

The result of the day’s efforts — a cleared, prepared site ready and waiting to receive its 28-inch, 55-ft Douglas fir bridging member, soon to be delivered by helicopter from a nearby hillside. The log will be flattened on one edge for a sure foothold, handrails and access steps to follow, and “roaring, rolling Deception Creek” will have been conquered . . .

Yes, future prospects are very good for Hiking Trail No, 3466!!

(Trail-note: Paralleling this “Bridge Project”, the upper 2-mile section of Deception Butte Trail is under review for relocation. Timber Sale “Illusion” will take out large sections of the trail known to us all, but Forest Service regulations mandate its eventual replacement. Working closely with the Forest Service on this issue have been several Obsidians, who looked at various alternatives on maps and on the ground. The reviewing panel indicated its preference for “Plan C”, the longest but potentially best choice: a series of switchbacks—after passing through a high-level scenic rock formation—that descends to the creek and the newly forded crossing. A much-needed trailhead car park is also planned, and awaits the OK from State Highway officials.)


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