Whittaker/Clay Creek

May 15, 2002

There is something especially nice about starting out for a hike on a Wednesday morning while everyone else is on their way to work. We took about an hour driving out to Whittaker Creek. The reasonably well maintained trail with most of the interpretive signs and benches still remaining provide access to the few magnificent old growth trees stiff extant that are nice to touch as well as look at.

We then went further up the Siuslaw river to Clay Creek Campground and enjoyed an uncrowded lunch in the empty campground. After lunch we climbed the ridge to pockets of old growth on the upper ridge. The ancient trees deserve respect; still I was reminded of visiting a zoo where the few remaining survivors are allowed to live out their days without being hunted or harvested.

Then on our way back to Eugene, just before the Wolf Creek turn off, we discovered Rodney Hamby’s old Saragosa West Park. A sign said “closed” but curiosity took us in. The place looks like a stage set for a western movie, with facililities for lodging, drinks, camping, and a restaurant. We were welcomed by a very friendly caretaker and two aggressively friendly dogs who welcomed us in to look around. The ten of us, Dan Bates, Max Brown, Dan Christensen, Ellen Johnson, Steve Johnson, Sandra Larsen, Barbara Nelson, Sheila Ward, Reta Parks, and leader, Royal Murdock, then returned via Wolf Creek Pass to Eugene.

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