Fall Color Trip

September 27, 2001

We left VRC at 8:00 a.m. under partly cloudy skies but no threat of rain and headed up Hwy. 58, stopping briefly at the new Oakridge-Lowell-Rigdon Ranger Station. We then went through Oakridge and turned left to the fish hatchery which has now been beautifully landscaped and had our morning coffee and goodies break under a covered picnic area. Close by was a group of cages with wild birds. Everyone scattered to visit the small museum and look at the large sturgeon.

We drove back to Oakridge and to Westfir via the back road and stopped to examine the Office Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Oregon. Nearby is the Bed & Breakfast housed in what was formerly the mill office. We continued from Westfir up the North Fork, now Aufderheide Drive, and kept watching for Fall color; there was very little. We stopped briefly at the Gorge and did the eighth-mile hike through the big trees at Constitution Grove. Te trees are identified with names of the signers of our country's Constitution and commemorating the 200th anniversary.

We then continued on to Box Canyon and turned right on a graveled road toward Skookum Creek Campground, where we ate lunch. We enjoyed looking around the area as this is the trailhead for Erma Bell Lakes. Some went up the trail a short distance, along with some people who had driven in with a trailer and horses; they were bound for the lakes. Skookum Creek is very clear and cold but not drinkable, although there is a large pump there painted orange with cold water. Unfortunately, the handle had been removed.

After lunch we returned to Aufderheide Drive and found Rd. #1980 which took us up to Hidden Lake, one of the few lakes in Oregon with a bog. We could see the lake in the distance beyond the bog. Returning to the main road, we went a few miles to the French Pete trailhead and hiked the short distance to French Pete Creek, a very pretty spot with lots of moss and rocks. We drove past Cougar Dam and turned into Delta Campground to take the Nature Walk but didn't stay around too long as we then headed for Mom's and pie and coffee.

Many thanks to the refreshment committee and to Marian Borchardt for taking reservations and especially to co-leader Ray Jensen who led the hikes and in scouting the area found Hidden Lake. We finally did find some Fall color as the vine maple had turned red at the higher elevations. Many thanks to our very capable bus driver, Larry Edwards.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Richard Decker, Marian Borchardt, Ingrid Carmichael, Nicole Chase, Mary Bridgeman, Chapin & Dorothy Clark, Mary Lee Beadle, Florence Douglas, Jeanette Forsman, Elina Gerrard, Patricia Hays, Dora Harris, Mary Ann Holser, Jean Jensen, Tilda Jensen, Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, Mary Millman, Rosemary Mason, Cleora Mersdorf, Mary Lemons, Liz Reanier, John & Lenore McManigal, Joyce Norman, Edna Robertson, Janet & Richard Speelman, and leaders Bette Hack and Ray Jensen.

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