Devils Den

June 18, 1983

After last year’s Devils Den escapade, I thought that would be the last time I would be asked to lead a trip. No such luck . . . So let’s give it one more chance. First thing I noticed when I showed up at the parking lot, there was nobody from last year’s trip there (that should tell you something). After a nice trip down to Roseburg, we turned west and headed toward the Coast Range. Through Melrose and up the steep and curvey Calahan Road to the top of Deer Ridge. Here we parked the cars and headed up the dirt road which goes along the ridge. After about a mile we got on the old forest trail. Fantastic views of the Umpqua Valley below were to be seen. After we arrived at the “Den”, Else Catling, Gladys Grancorvitz, Ethel and Robin Steussy decided to stay above ground and explore in the general area. The rest of us set up a handline to get down into the start of the crack system which makes up Devils Den. Devils Den was formed by a section of the rock ridge the length of a football field splitting apart. The result are rooms, up to 150 feet deep and 50 feet wide. There are also cracks just barely wide enough to get through, which go from the inside of the den to the outside face of the ridge. This plus the huge rocks which are jumbled together inside makes for an interesting but convoluted route through the maze. Lots of climbing, crawling, slipping, sliding, wiggling, etc. One of the problems this year was the addition of rain. Not much, but enough to make it a little harder than last year. In fact, at one spot we had to back-track a bit, go outside the den by way of a crack, then down hill to a small hole which we wiggled into. At this point Rachel Major decided that was all she wanted (if I hadn’t been the leader I would have said the same). The little rabbit hole we went into opens up into a two-foot wide 75-foot long crack which goes back into the den. We were back in the other end of the big room from where we had back-tracked. We continued up and down, in and out, over and back, until we were just before the spot where in the good old days, bats used to hang upside down and sleep. Betty Legris decided that she would wait for us at this point. After a short bit of down climbing, a couple of more corners and we were at the end. We all took a turn around the Blarney Madrone tree and headed back. Those getting to the end were John and Pete Cecil, Gene Thaxton, Dot Leland, and leader Gary Kirk. We went back the way we came in, stopping along the way at Big Bathtub Rock for lunch. It was decided that Pete Cecil makes an excellent foot hold to get over those tricky spots. All-in-all, a fun trip!

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