Wahanna Lake

September 22, 1985

The last full day of summer was about as perfect a day as anyone could ask for. Although it was cool and misty as 14 of us left Eugene at 7:45 a.m. and a cool wind greeted us at the trailhead, the day quickly became a memorable one. First of all we dropped two of our passengers at the Mt. Ray trailhead so these gung ho-ers could challenge that mountain, and the other twelve drove on to North Waldo CG.

We left there at 9:30 a.m. skirting the north shore of Waldo Lake and soon began shedding outer wear as the day grew warm and sunny. We hiked the 2.2 miles through forest to the Rigdon Lakes trail where we turned north to enjoy more beauty of the forest and the two Rigdon Lakes with Rigdon Butte facing us across the lakes. After traveling over this undulating two mile stretch of trail we reached Lake Kiwa and the Wahanna Trail junction.

We had a few stragglers on this trip, folks who stopped to take pictures, and there were plenty of places to absorb the beauty of the area and to take home graphic memories of it, so I had to gather these folks together from time to time. However, I goofed once and succeeded in losing four of the hikers at this Wahanna Trail junction. I did not know they were not with us until we stopped at the northern end of Lake Kiwa for lunch. I went back to look for them, calling and blowing my whistle, but got no response. Earlier I had seen a little used trail leave the main trail to the left and thought they may have taken that route in error. After several minutes and no sign of foot traffic decided they were not on this side trail so returned to the lunch spot in hopes they had arrived there while I was off on the other trail. But, no, they were not there. Before long we heard voices and I started blowing my whistle and got an immediate response from another whistle. Seems one of the lost ones also had been blowing her whistle, but neither one of us heard the other until we were within sight of each other. I guess whistles are not that effective in the forest after all as we heard voices before we heard whistles. Seems the four “lost ones” had turned left when they reached the Wahanna Trail instead of right. The whistle blower also had a map so they soon realized that they had made an error and retraced their steps possibly three quarters of a mile and eventually found us munching away.

From the lunch spot we hiked another 15 minutes to the south end of Wahanna Lake, our destination. We stayed in this beautiful spot only momentarily as time was quickly passing and we had nearly a six mile return ahead of us. This time we hiked to the gaging station, a distance of nearly three miles, where we took time to go to the headwaters of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. It was so pleasant and beautiful there that we sat around for awhile munching on snacks and telling jokes. But we finally had to tear ourselves away as we had nearly three and a half miles to trek back to the cars where we arrived well after 4:30 p.m. Finally we were on the road and picked up Whitey Lueck and Rick Wright at the Betty Lake trailhead where they had been waiting for us for an hour (we were that late). Arrived in Eugene about 6:30 p.m. after a wonderful day in the Waldo Wilderness with Dale and June Christiansen, Nancy Pawlak, Gladys Grancorvitz, Joyce Mitchell, Ted Castell, Marcia Olds, Gary Marx, Dot Leland, Paula Vehrs, Rachel Major and leader Lois Schreiner.

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