June 9, 1985
A short comment before the “Devils Den” trip report. I noticed when I placed the signup sheet at the YMCA, that Ed Lovegren was leading the Rebel Rock hike the same day. I am sure that he picked that same day so that I could not join him on the “Rebel Rock Death March” again this year. After my fantastic route finding ability added an extra mile to the previous year’s hike I am sure he felt safe with me a goodly distance to the south.
On Sunday, June 8, three cars with 11 hikers started south toward Roseburg in excellent weather. After a short stop at the Tom Tom Restaurant for various amounts of breakfast, we headed due west toward Melrose and the Coast Range. We drove up the Callahan Road to the top of Bear Ridge where we parked the cars. The less than 2 mile hike to the “Den” was filled with the normal amount of bird, flower, tree, etc. identifications, excellent views of the Umpqua Valley, and interesting conversations between old and new friends. As Alys Riley did not want to go into the “Den” she left to do some exploration on her own, and the rest of us started into the “Den.”
I set up a hand line to protect the first part of the entrance where a slip could be most awkward and painful. We started off by heading toward the right hand crack system—the “Chockstone” was overcome by various means from just crawling under by the smaller hikers to the use of some climbing methods that even I have never seen before. A short stop at “Bathtub Rock”, then a scramble along the outside base of the rocks to the start of the “Narrow Passage Way”. As I started into the “Rabbit Hole” entrance I could hear comments about deranged leader types. The “Narrow Passage Way” led us into the “Big Room”—more climbing, crawling, descending, wiggling, etc., took us past the “Bat Room” then a very interesting descent down into the “Big Slab Room.” As you cannot see where you are going as you slide down into a black hole it does seem to make people a bit nervous. Soon we were outside the “Den” again. A traverse around (poison oak identification spot) and we were at the “Blarney Madrone Tree”, the official end. This was the first time leading this trip that everybody who started into the “Den” made it to the end. Normally, I lose one or two along the way. Official Devils Den Explorers were members Barbara Elsen and Judith Engle joined by nonmembers Harry Bonhan, Lee Crawley, Mike Horowitz. Ann Moore, Bert Nelson, Chris Nelson, Nola Shurtleff, and myself Gary Kirk (member) as Chief Cave Rat.
We headed back into the “Den” by a different route past the “Bat Room” and then into the “Lunch Spot” where we had a nice lunch during which comments about the amorous activities of the local millipedes brought the normal uplifting lunch conversation down to new lows (but with lots of laughs and giggles). Soon we were working our way back to start of the “Den” and the trail back to the cars. The main hazard in this trip is not the “Den” itself but trying not to be a victim of the many 2, 3, 6 4 wheeled vehicles and drivers ??? that use the ridge road for entertainment.
As a final comment I also wish to report all those who signed up for the “Devils Den” trip showed up to go—that was neat after last year’s problems with no-shows.