Drift Creek Wilderness

August 1, 1992

Other than carsickness (the Alpine-Alsea-Tidewater road is not exactly a straight shot!), dunkings in the creek (while fully clothed, and including the brief submersion of a camera), and a surprise sting operation carried out by a bunch of the local residents, it was a Grand Day to be in the forest! As usual, the morning was cloudy and the hike into Drift Creek from the ridgetop trailhead was an easy one, made all the more pleasant this year by an abundance of red huckleberries, evergreen huckleberries, and sweet salal fruits. By the time we reached the former Harris Ranch meadow (now a popular pasture for the local elk herd), the sun had come out and there were evergreen blackberries to carry us through to the ford, where we momentarily lost Karen in the creek. We regrouped on the other side, ready to head for our lunch spot near the confluence with Cougar Creek, only to have that short leg of the hike interrupted by screams of terror as one after the other of us was stung by an armada of female yellow jackets sent out by their queen to protect a ground nest that we had inadvertently disturbed. The wounded got back together at our otherwise serene lunch spot, and consoled one another over the usual sandwiches, chips, and fruit. After a short siesta in our little idyll, we headed back, skirting with care the yellow jacket nest. Then, after accidentally dunking Frederick in the creek, we headed back up to the trailhead, only to have several members of the group attacked again along the way by yet more stinger-bearing members of the subfamily Vespinae! Final tally: Seven stingees (of eight participants). Winner (loser … ?), for total number of stings: Frederick, with a not-so-grand total of three, yee-OW!! We motored on to Waldport, then south along the lovely coast to Stonefield Beach, to ooo and ahh over the pretty and fragrant golden sand verbenas in full bloom on the dunelets east of the parking area, then on to Mo’s to continue our recuperation with internal poultices of onion rings and chowder, before heading back to Eugene in early evening. Everyone had great stories to tell in the locker room the next day! Stung hikers included members Ray Jensen and Frederick Kropp, and non-members Karen Kreider, Michael Murphy, Arun Toke, and Nathan Toke. Non-member Norma Jacobs was NOT stung. But leader Dennis (Whitey) Lueck was!!

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