McDonald Research Forest

March 18, 2006

Six of us left at 8:00 for the OSU 11-square mile McDonald Research Forest north of Corvallis. We started at the Chip Ross Park access to hike the 1.6 mile loop to Ross Park viewpoint. On top was a map pointing to all of the mountains that were hidden in the clouds. We stopped at a rock monument and read the plaque dedicated to Willie Unsoeld who was a teacher, philosopher and mountain climber. He died in an avalanche on Mt Rainier March 4, 1979.

Note: Unsoeld made the first ascent of Mt. Everest’s West Ridge in 1963. He was the speaker at the Obsidian 50th anniversary banquet in 1977. “Willie told about his climbing experiences as a youth in the Eugene area, often going with the Obsidians on exciting adventures into the Cascades. Often his boots were too large having been handed down from older climbers; and food was of heavy consistency swallowed in fast gulps causing heartburn and many “burps” on the mountain. (Quote from Bulletin)

We then drove to Peavy Arboretum on the west side of the forest. With map in hand, we hiked the Woodland Trail, Calloway Creek Trail, Intensive Management Trail, Forest Discovery Trail, Section 36 Loop Trail, and Powder House Trail. The lunch stop was a busy open spot filled with several youth groups also enjoying the brief moments of sun. It was Beth Stegall’s first trip and we do hope she joins. When she read the sign up sheet she thought she thought the word “boots” was "books." Since her mother owns a bookstore in Cottage Grove, Beth had no problem adding several magazines to her pack. She shared Ms. Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine with us at lunch time. Beth was so good-natured about our teasing.

Highlights of the trip were the trillium and wood violets just beginning to bloom and the OSU forestry students and professional competitors practicing their logging skills near Cronemiller Lake. Becky was able to identify and explain the competitive events: sparring (tree climbing), axe throw, log roll, and crosscut. The most interesting was the young woman sparring up a tree trunk for about 12 ft.

We would all like to go back and try some of the other trails such as Dan’s trail to Dimple Hill. We appreciate Becky driving and leading us on such an out of the ordinary hike.

Members: Joan Abel, Becky Hansen, Janet Jacobsen and Nola Nelson. Nonmembers: Beth Stegall.

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