Mystery Trip

October 26, 1983

We left town about 8:10 a.m. on a lovely Wednesday morning in late October for a mystery trip. As the leader had not been to the ‘mystery’ point in many years, it was nearly as mysterious for her as for the other ten adventurers. We stopped at the Blue River Ranger Station to get directions to the area chosen for hiking, and were given excellent information.

The weather continued lovely, and there were still some beautiful fall colors to be seen, although the wind had stripped many of the bushes and trees clean of leaves. As we progressed toward our point, the road changed from wide paved to narrow, high-center gravel and rock. We decided to park the three cars at the junction of two logging roads and progress by foot the last mile of road to the trailhead. There was a method in our madness as we were planning a loop trip, therefore, the cars would be in a good spot so we would not have to retrace our steps except a mere half-mile near the top of our trail.

We started up the road at 10:15 a.m., arrived at the trailhead at 10:45 where we stopped to shed some outerware, and to view the high Cascades from Washington to the South Sister. It was sunny, warm and windless—a beautiful day so late in October. Then we proceeded up the trail through the forest, catching a brief glimpse of Jeff and Three Fingered Jack. A short way up the trail we saw a man-made metal object several feet high containing an inverted funnel, a pipe extending down from it with a faucet handle, and around the top a circular metal band with movable flanges placed all around. There was also a metal ladder as part of the contraption. Much speculation as to what it might be and why it was there—rain gauge? Snow gauge? communications standard? ??? (Later discovered it is a rain gauge placed there recently by the Andrews Experimental Station.)

Our trail was only a mile long ending at a lookout atop a prominent basalt column; the last few feet of trail being a steep scramble up the rock for a beautiful view of the Cascades from Mt. Hood to Diamond Peak, and to the north and west, the lower ranges of the Western Cascades superimposed on each other in the haze so that each range was a little paler than the one before, giving one a different perspective of the hills we love so much. If you haven’t guessed by now where we went, the next statement should be a dead give-away. As we ate our lunch at 11:30 we could also see below us the massive Wolf Rock. We really enjoyed the view, although there were many clear-cuts and logging roads to be seen, for an hour in the warmth of the sun. We stayed on the east side of the lookout because that was where the best view was, and because we were out of the wind that was whipping around the lookout—the only wind encountered all day.

We backtracked half a mile, then took the abandoned Blue River Trail (you surely must know our mystery point by now) for about 1½ miles under branches, over logs, down a rocky slope where the trail is obliterated, through groves of noble fir and garden-like displays of rhododendron. Eventually we came upon the end of a logging road as the trail disappeared on the open hillside among downed logs and blackberry vines growing close to the ground which constantly tried to trip you. (At this point the leader was hoping it was the right logging road that would take us back to our cars.) We had a bit of a steep hike up the logging road for a short ways then it leveled out to a pleasant grade. This leader doesn’t like hiking on roads, but we had no choice except very difficult cross-country—we opted for the road. Along the edges of the road we saw several flowers blooming, among them were pearly everlasting, penstemon, lupine, and blackberry blossoms. This part of the trek was approximately two miles back to the cars, which we reached a few minutes after 3:00 p.m. (I was questioned several times about whether this was a qualifying hike. It may not be six miles, but one member noted that it was harder than a qualifying hike he had been on previously—so, I deem it qualifying, especially since the troop didn’t know where it was going, and had to rely on a leader who had not been in the area for many years. I know, I’m supposed to scout it out first!!!!) The last car arrived in Eugene about 500 p.m.

Well, if you don’t know where we went by now I'll have to tell you that the following went to Carpenter Mountain: Gladys Grancorvitz, Neal Ice, Dorothy Kimball, Meg Janecek-Wall, Alys Riley, Martha Mitchell, Kathy Perkins, Bob and Pat Shaw, Paula Vehrs, and leader Lois Schreiner.

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