October 11, 2006
First scheduled for Sept. 30, our outing ended badly when, only a few miles from the trailhead, a major engine problem forced us to turn back to town. Thanks to non-members Paul Flashenberg and Andrew Watson for their gracious patience and supportiveness during a very frustrating and disappointing day.
I’d promised Bob Obermeyer, Trails Chief at the Middle Fork RD, that we would clear the trail. Non-member Erik Muller and I set out again on Oct. 11, stopping at the Ranger Station to pick up a “wheel” for measuring trail length.
Dome Rock stands high above the Middle Fork south of Hills Creek reservoir, at the end of Staley Ridge, an arm of the Calapooya Mtns. In an area seldom visited by anyone but loggers and hunters, it’s a delightful trail that rollicks delightfully along the ridgetop with great views, rocks, and botanical diversity. Problems: (1) it’s far from town, and (2) it takes a 2.4 mile (our measurement!) walk along an old washed-out logging spur to reach the official trailhead. (Views from the road are excellent thanks to downslope clearcuts.) The Forest Service hadn't been around to clear the trail in five years; clearly it’s been in danger of slipping off the map.
We hauled along a chainsaw, cut 24 logs blocking the way, and removed other branches and debris as well. After a leisurely late lunch on top of Dome Rock, we enjoyed our walk back over the freshly cleared trail, and got back to town at 8:30 p.m.