Drift Creek Wilderness

August 4, 1990

Twelve happy hikers fled the soon-to-be-sweltering Valley Saturday morning and drove via the scenic Alpine-Alsea forest road to the Harris Ranch Trailhead into Drift Creek Wilderness northeast of Waldport. After a warm descent through the forest (with a couple dozen trees to hurdle that had been downed in the January windstorms) and a hot traverse of the old ranch’s sunny pasture now used primarily by the local elk herd, we forded the creek to have lunch on the shady bank. While our mouths feasted on our lunches, and our eyes feasted on the robust crayfish on the creek bottom, the indigenous flies, in some abundance, feasted on our bodies. The group quickly proceeded another kilometer upstream along the north bank, the trail being nearly overgrown from disuse and lack of recent maintenance, to an idyllic streamside site in the shade of bigleaf maples draped with dormant epiphytic mosses (not lichens!). There, a pleasant up-valley breeze and a magnificent view to the hillside across the stream cloaked in old-growth hemlock and Douglas-fir forest afforded all a delicious, albeit short-lived, siesta. Meanwhile, marine air had moved somewhat inland, so our hike back up to the trailhead was more pleasant than it might have been otherwise. We all then proceeded to complete The Great Loop we’d begun in the morning by driving west to Waldport, then south to Stonefield Beach (by Ten-Mile Creek) to see and sniff the fragrant, yellow sand verbenas in full bloom there, before heading home via Florence and Mapleton to find out that the Valley temperature had reached 100 F degrees that day, ACK! Hikers enjoying the Earthly Paradise of Drift Creek, for far too short a time were: Dan Bates, Harold Busby, Judy Forell, Sylvia Harvey, Gerhard Hoffman, Ruth and Wayne Lill, Mary Millman, Lindsay Pierce, Karen Seidel, Susan Weldon, and Dennis Lueck (leader).

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