Deception Butte

January 15, 1989

Of the nine severely optimistic people who signed up for this wintry death march, only two failed to come to their senses by Sunday morning and managed to show up at the SEHS parking lot in full battle garb. The goal was to hike from the trailhead at 1,000-ft. elevation (snowline on that day) to the top of Deception Butte at 3,700 ft. and 4½ miles away. A steady rain was falling and ominous clouds descended as we headed blithely up the trail in search of adventure. Deception Creek was rip-snortin’ with run-off from the snowpack. The first mile was basically level and in one inch of patchy snow. After crossing the creek on the excellent wood bridge, the snow was about 8 inches deep. View of snowy, rugged Deception Canyon were inspiring. An hour later, we stopped for a brief lunch and immediately cooled down, prompting us to put on more clothes. A steady rain accompanied us on our journey up through the trees as we slogged through the soft snow up to the second clear-cut just above a landing stage at 1,900 ft. We were now postholing in 2½ to 3 ft. of snow, sinking in to well above our knees with every step, laughing giddily at the futility of our efforts and the dour beauty of the surrounding snowbound country. The view ahead to where the “trail” heads up the gully and above the landing stage was sobering, however, as we realized that that slot would no doubt hold even deeper snow! At this point we agreed that 50 yards distance gained in 15 minutes could no longer be called hiking and decided to turn back. The hike downhill in some of the steeper sections of trail resembled skiing more than walking, prolonging the fun. All in all, it was a great (5-mile) hike for sodden Obsidians Ed Lovegren and Michael Cooper (leader).

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