Opal Creek

April 5, 1997

Our group of nine, mostly non-members, headed off to the Opal Creek trailhead at about 7:15 on a glorious sunny spring morning. Two hours later we arrived at the locked gate on Forest Road 2209, the starting point into the newly designated Opal Creek Wilderness Area (and the road leading into the mining operation of Jawbone Flats). After 2½ miles on the road through a lot of mature timber, we reached the beginning of the newly renamed Mike Kopetski Trail which first crosses the stream and then turns left upstream in close proximity to the watercourse. Opal Pool was reached after nearly two miles — a lovely spot for a snack. Another ¾ mile upstream a bridge crosses Opal Creek and a newly cut trail proceeds upstream on the north bank. After following this — with some climbing — for about ¾ mile, the trail began to give out and other hikers reported deep snow cover ahead. We therefore turned back and began to search for — unsuccessfully — a connection back to Jawbone Flats. With some disappointment, the plan to loop back through the mining operation was abandoned, and we retraced our steps. The beauty of the forest, the weather, and the special quality of Opal Creek made the disappointment readily forgettable, and we arrived back at the vehicles at a reasonable 3:00 p.m. for the drive back to Eugene. Hikers were Joyce Smith, Dick & Lucy Rayle, Jeanne Polziuski, Karen Pidgeon, Janet Hall, Lois Humphreys, Nioma John and Pete Suttmeier (leader).

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