Sunday, July 28
A possibly misinterpreted tip from the forest service had us bushwhacking through a marsh by Mill Creek. While most of the group crossed to the north side of the creek, Jim stayed on the south side in search of dryer ground. Soon the valley narrowed. The ground was dryer, but the going was made difficult by boulders and fallen trees. The valley finally became impassable. The four north-siders scrambled up the hill side towards the ridge — the route suggested by the camp booklet.
Jim, having lost contact with us, did the proper thing, and returned to the place-last-seen. After waiting there for a while, and lacking better directions, he proceeded towards the saddle on the south side high above Mill Creek, our intermediate destination.
On the north side, we followed a steep trail which took us, after much climbing, into a park-like meadow. At the upper end of the park we crossed over to the south side of Mill Creek. We then followed the drainage upwards, sometimes following “trails”, sometimes through open meadows, finally reaching the saddle a ways east of its low point. There, “mountain man” Jim came down from above to rejoin us. Said he had seen a heard of elk when he first reached the saddle.
After a late lunch, we proceeded on to where Jim had declared his “victory”, just above tree-line. Nora decided that she had had enough, too, and remained there with him as the three of us pushed onward. At about 11100' elev., Effie decided that the air was thin enough for her. John and I walked on for about a mile further, scrambled up a rock pile, and declared our victory at just over 11700', only 100' lower than and about a half mile from the highest point on Osborn Mountain. Off in the distance we could see the continental divide.
On our way back, we followed elk tracks from the lowest point on the saddle. This was a mistake — stick to the less steep trail from the east side. After crossing back to the north side of Mill Creek, we picked up the trail at the lower end of the park. We lost the trail in a meadow, but picked it up again along a fence that runs the ridge. After passing by a large erratic, we finally dropped down and joined the Highline Trail at a marker post (no sign).
Returning to camp late, we were “rewarded” with no supper. Tip: if you think you might be late, ask the cook to save some dinner for you. Osborn Mountaineers were John Agnew, Nora Nicolaides, Wayne Deeter, Jim Whitfield, and Effie Neth (leader).
— Wayne Deeter
— photos by Wayne Deeter