Rock Creek Wilderness

May 2, 1993

Gary Marx graciously agreed to coordinate the trip from Eugene and the group arrived at Rock Creek about 10:15 a.m. after a drive to Florence and 16 miles north on Hwy. 101 to Rock Creek bridge. The sky was sunny, the breeze brisk. The barely 5-mile hike begins at a convenient parking area about .4 mile from Rock Creek campground (which is closed for bathroom and water improvements.) The trail traces an old homestead road. The homestead, last owned by the Bowman family, was abandoned some 45 years ago, acquired by the Forest Service in 1966, and dedicated a Wilderness along with Cummins Creek in 1984. An unmaintained trail … it’s wise to wear mud boots at any time of the year! There’s little elevation gain but finding the trail about .4 mile beyond the campground is a challenging game. Slides and lower-story plants are reclaiming the old road. After several dead-ends, muddy retreats and alternating pathfinders, our group had lunch at the east-west meadow with only a few old apple trees and fence posts as reminders of the homestead years. The area is an important hatching ground for the endangered silver spot butterfly and home of at least one nesting marbled murrelet pair. The Rock Creek canyon is a great example of what an old-growth means in terms of undisturbed watershed, healthy marshes and a clear, clean stream. On the way out, our group hiked to the mouth of Rock Creek under the Hwy. 101 bridge to a lovely crescent beach which is largely unseen or used by the public. After investigating the beached blue sailors (tiny jellyfish) and tide pools, the group left for Eugene. Hikers included Ann Patrick, Gary Marx, Ben Elkus, Teresa Ladd and leader Charlotte Mills.

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