July 9, 2005
The weather looked dismal as 13 of us headed out of Eugene at 7:00 a.m. on our way to Cowhorn Mountain. But, as often happens when crossing Willamette Pass, the weather picture improved significantly as we descended the east side. On arrival at the trailhead at Windigo Pass, the sun was popping through occasionally and spots of blue sky could be seen. By 9:45 we were on our way up a dust free PCT (for change.) Conditions continued to improve as we hiked the ridge, with our views of Cowhorn improving as we rounded each ridge-top switchback. Before long we could see our ridge to the summit in its entirety.
The cool, comfortable morning, provided the venue for a brisk pace, placing us at the base of Cowhorn in a couple of hours. It was obvious that the fun was about to begin (if your definition of fun includes a lot of up), as we stared up at the steep, exposed ridge that was to be our route. So, steeply up we went, through scree, past natures own bonsai trees, over a volcanic dike, and on to the rock scramble to the summit that is always the highlight of this trip. After one party member chose to remain at the dike, my only concern was how we would find room for 12 summiteers on a six seat summit. Luckily the pleasant hike had insured a friendly group and we managed to squeeze together with hardly any fuss. While the weather was much more pleasant that we had hoped for, there was a brisk breeze blowing across the top of Cowhorn, so lunch was a bit abbreviated.
Note to file (and Wayne): chin straps are helpful in keeping hats on heads in the wind, thus avoiding cap retrieval heroics.
The descent went quickly as we retraced our steps off the summit and down the PCT. We reached the cars about 3:30. A stop at Crescent Junction for refreshments topped a great day on Cowhorn Mountain. Hikers were Jim and Melody Clarkson, Wayne Deeter, Chris Gordon, Jane Hackett, Bob Huntley, Kristen Higgins, Janet Jacobsen, Craig Renkert, Nancy Whitfield, Sue Wolling and nonmember Keri Sadler. Leader John Jacobsen