Old Baldy/Coburg Hills

May 21, 2005

I limited the size of the group this year to 20, but only 12 signed up. And after the hike was over, I realized that I am going to limit it to 12 from now on. I felt more like I was part of the group, and I feel I had done a better job of leading and sharing the hike. The normal trips fees and sign up procedure, then off to just beyond Spores Bridge to the gravel lot. There the rest of the hikers waited five minutes while I drove to where the gate is to the pasture where we will park. Soon the rest of the cars showed up, parked, hikers got ready, then they get a pep talk, warnings, unwanted advice, and a comment about the special permission allowed us to hike on private land. We walked McKenzie View Road eastward to the “Trail Gate”. Over the gate and up the hill, past the marsh. Then on the “Kirk Memorial Trail” that goes up the steep slope to the “Cave”. We then continued along the trail, which in some places is built with boards fastened to the rock wall, while I pointed out the many rock climbing routes on the steep vertical rock cliffs. The name of this area is called “The East Caves”. At the top of the ridge we walked over to the open area to view the Springfield/Eugene area below. Then slowly upward and onward to the summit of “Baldy” which we reached at 12:00. This year the weather was cloudy, with no rain. The views were excellent. We sat around on the rocks at the summit and enjoyed lunch, and conversations with old friends and new friends. After lunch we headed downward by a cross country route. While it wasn’t raining, the ground was soggy, and the grass was wet grass that the leader type being first, would strip of most of the water and transfer to his pants. I was following a trail I had marked over to the “Main Caves” where the Obsidian climbing schools for years used to teach basic climbing. Following orange tape we wandered down through the woods to just above the Main Caves. A short tour of the area and we headed down the hill, across the meadow, over to the “Whale”. This is a very large rock with a lot of short rock climbing routes. Now it’s all downhill to the parking area with wet boots and pants, but everybody had made it in fine shape, and I think had enjoyed this different view of Eugene/Springfield area, the woods and rocks of the Coburg Hills, as I had enjoyed sharing it with them. Again as the leader I felt that the smaller number of hikers made it so much more enjoyable, and Max Brown did an awesome job as rear guard.

Those on the trip: Ann-Marie Askew, David Becker, Max Brown, Maggie Gontrum, Yuan Hopkins, Gary Kirk (leader), Beth Kodama, Ken Kodama, Gerry Lee, Jacki Lukowski, Carol Stern, and Mel Zavodsky.

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