Noonday Trail, Bohemia District
October 13, 1984
Prompt at the parking lot and fast on the trail—that characterized the group of four who signed up for this trip where coming, downhill was as hard on the legs as going up. This historic wagon road in the Bohemia Mining District is so steep in parts that the mule teams needed frequent block and tackle assists. A Forest Service publication lists the grades as varying from 15 to 30%. No sooner had we arrived at the trailhead and gotten all noses pointed in the right direction than what-a-guy Lee put it in gear and took off like a shot. We never saw him again for over an hour. Bobs D, E and F, plus a librarian named Leona did their share of hustling as well.
We regrouped and took a snack break in the area of the four major mine tunnels, but rapidly dropping temperatures soon had us pushing onward and upward. By 1115 we topped. the ridgeline, an abrupt change from the tranquilizing silence of the trail to the nerve twitching gawd-awful clatter of a dump truck rocking a road that had been turned into impassable mire by logging trucks.
We took an early lunch under the friendly broad branches of a stately fir tree which provided reasonable shelter from the wet snow and rain mixture that had started to fall. The temperature, as measured by Bob E, was 36 degrees. No one dallied much between bites.
Heading homeward, the leader made a spur of the moment decision to depart from the original hike plan, taking the logging road instead of the trail. It was an interesting loop, but as we slopped along on a road that became ever more muckier and yuckier, I was thankful to have along four good sports who pretended like it was great fun.
Along the way we saw a mountainside being laid bare, an ugly scene of total devastation. Made me want to quit using paper and toothpicks. We also examined several tons of mining machinery and a wrecked vintage 20’s truck that lay abandoned at the spur road that would lead us back to the Noonday Trail. From here it was all downhill and it lacked a few minutes of being 2000 when we reached trail’s end at the confluence of Champion and Brice Creeks. It was a pleasure to sink into the deep cushions of Bob E’s plush top-of-the-line Mercedes for a smooth ride home.
The hardy hikers were Bob Emmich, Bob Foster, Lee Hatch, and Leona and Bob Devine, leader.