March 29, 2006
Four of us voted for the shorter hike (eight miles) starting at the South Bank trailhead (Forest Road 2102). Dan Christensen lost his plea for the longer hike (9.4 miles) beginning at Sweetwaters Park. It took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to hike the four miles from 1300 ft. to 3700 ft.
I called everyone before the trip to warn about the major hurdle, a huge tree blocking the trail on a steep slope. We peered up at the 6 ft. trunk and considered our choices. We could make an awkward scramble up around the root ball or an ungraceful climb over the trunk. There were no steps to aid the first move. Several of us found a 4 or 5 ft. section to climb/roll over which left us with wet and dirty hiking pants and hands. Ruth Romoser opted to go under the tree where it had fallen over the trail. There was a petite space that was quite dry and perfect for elves where one could stretch out and roll. Charlie Van Deusen followed Ruth under the tree and recommended it for our return hike.
We met Obsidian members, Jan Anselmo and Kathy Jensen, on their way down from their daily workout. There were more trees on the trail to scoot over but they all seemed a piece of cake after the monster tree. Bursts of sun and a few unidentified purple flowers made us feel that we were on a “spring hike.” Near the top, we felt the drops of melting snow from the trees. There was still a bit of snow to be found on the ground. A year ago on March 12th when I led this hike, it was 69 degrees and we were wearing shorts.
Larison Rock is hidden in the trees until the last ten minutes of the hike. “We came all the way for this!” was one joking comment. There used to be a lookout on top but now tall trees block the view to the east and southeast. We scrambled up to the top to find a perch that allowed us to gaze west at the ridgeline and moving clouds.
On the return trip, all but Dan rolled under the monster tree. He has the longest legs so perhaps he hopped over the tree. We stopped for soda pop at Rascals, the last stop on the way out of Oakridge.
Members: Dan Christensen, Janet Jacobsen, Barb Revere, Ruth Romoser and Charlie Van Deusen.