Carpenter Mountain

October 9, 1985

Three petite Obsidians enjoyed the sunny, yet cold day on this short hike to a viewpoint that gave us a broad expanse of exciting beauty. One person signed for this Indian Summer excursion didn’t arrive at the staging area, which is too bad because it was a wonderful experience. Gladys and I picked up Velma in east Springfield then we proceeded to the Blue River Ranger Station where we obtained road directions for our destination. We were shocked at the appearance of the Blue River Reservoir—no water, but we tried to imagine how it had looked before the dam. As we progressed up the hill we saw some small logging operations and had to avoid oversized equipment in the road.

Dressed warmly with wool caps and gloves, double layers over our legs and plenty of warm wraps on our upper body against the cold wind we started up the trail at 10 a.m. to the lookout perched atop the basalt column known as Carpenter Mountain. We climbed over a number of downed logs of various sizes, observed a strange structure that we decided measured precipitation, crossed through a long ago harvested area, and questioned the appearance of little red, white and blue flags on a couple of open slopes. Nearing the top of the mountain we encountered icy patches and small spots of snow along the trail, but the rocky approach was free of such matter and we arrived at the lookout at 11 a.m. The view was fantastic—it was clear and cloudless toward the high mountains which were covered with a new blanket of snow and ice. We could see the upper quarter of Mt. Hood, the western expanse of Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Washington, and to the southeast were the Three Sisters in all their magnificence plus Bachelor, and way south Diamond Peak rose to be considered in the view. Many of the lesser peaks in the High Cascade chain were visible with a dusting of snow. Of course, there is a 360° range of beauty from this 5349 foot peak, but many of the views are spotted with large expanses of clearcutting, and the western views were somewhat hazy which added to the observance of ridge after ridge marching away into the distance.

We found a very comfortable spot on the south side of the lookout which protected us from the wind and provided us with the warmth of the sun. It was so pleasant there that w e hung around for an hour and a half munching on lunch, discussing Obsidian affairs, talking about friends (did your ears burn?), spotting familiar and unfamiliar points of interest, noticing that the lookout was in need of a paint job, and observing that all the leaves had been blown off the vine maple that surrounds the base of the pinnacle. We almost hated to leave this beautiful place, but decided we should try other things. On the way back down I showed Gladys and Velma the spring below the scree slope.

As we approached the harvested section we found the old Blue River Trail and hiked down it for about 15 minutes. We opted not to go the distance to the logging road as we didn’t want to hike back up the road and around to the trail head (logging road hiking isn’t that interesting), so we retraced our steps back up the hill to the Carpenter Mtn. trail and back to the car arriving there about 2 p.m. By then it had grown considerably warmer and we were able to shed part of our gear, have another partial lunch break, then proceed down to civilization. We stopped at the ranger station again to get some questions answered about the strange structure and the flags on the hillside, but were unable to have our curiosity satisfied. The flags are possible testing plots of hemlock sprouts being conducted by researchers of the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest.

Arriving home about 4 p.m. were Gladys Grancorvitz, Velma Shirk and leader Lois Schreiner.


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