Wildwood, Moon, Spirit and Pinard Butte Falls
February 23, 2005
Many thanks to Anne Hollander for her assistance—picking up the signup sheet from the Y, and meeting Joan Abel, LaRee Beckley, Dick Hildreth and Daphne James at LCC and ferrying them to Cottage Grove—thus saving me two 30 mile round trips to Eugene.
Our first stop was Wildwood Falls—a popular swimming area on the Row (rhymes with cow) River a short ways upstream from Culp Creek. And it was almost swimming weather, as the unseasonably warm, dry spell continued.
After leisurely drinking in these falls for a while, we drove up Layng Creek to the Rujada Campground and hiked the Swordfern Loop Trail, added to this trip to bulk it out a bit as all the trails in this area are rather short. The only flowers noted where a few Snow Queen. Several types of fern were noticed in addition to the namesake—maiden hair, and cute, one leafed ones sticking out of moss-covered boulders.
A ¼ mile hike got us down to Spirit Falls on Alex Creek. We had lunch at the picnic table there, though it was a tad chilly as it’s deep down in the valley and shaded by trees. A thousand feet higher in elevation up the same creek, we hiked the ½ mile trail to Moon Falls. This section was a bit warmer at least partly due to the “thinning” operation of a few years back. It’s iffy to have this trail on the schedule at this time of year, but it worked out this time due to our dismally light snowfall.
I had planned an optional trip to Parker Falls next—a falls rarely visited by the club 10 miles up Brice Creek. Instead I offered to treat the group to Pinard Butte Falls. A trail was started to this falls about 20 years ago, but was never completed. Parts of that trail have vanished in slides, and much of the rest is rather over-grown. All agreed to try it, in spite of its being out-of-character to the signup sheet. A ½ mile bushwhack got us to this almost unknown spot—you won’t find it in Bill Sullivan’s books, nor even in Jerold William’s. This 60' tall cascade free-falls for about half its height into a circular pool about 15' across that’s ¾ surrounded by rock walls. Work has recently resumed on this trail, so it may soon be a bit easier to get access. —Wayne Deeter, leader.
—photos by Wayne Deeter