North Bank Deer Preserve

June 4, 2006

This was a hike that nearly wasn’t. As I hadn’t had any calls or sign ups by Saturday afternoon, I was already making plans to go elsewhere on Sunday but then the one call came in. As the weather forecast was a bit “iffy,” we agreed to confer early the next day. At that time things didn’t look too gloomy, so I met non-member Mark Anthony at the Cottage Grove Wal-Mart for the drive down to the preserve. Although we got rained on a few times, it barely lasted long enough for us to put our rain jackets on before having to remove them again. Thanks to the rains we have had this spring, the vegetation was lush, especially the widespread displays of poison oak. I would not recommend this area in the spring for anybody who is susceptible to the stuff. After the trail emerged from the trees, we followed it up to the ridge. In places it was hard to see the trail as the grass was so long, but you can’t get lost in these open hills. We were able to sit and enjoy lunch with a good view over the North Umpqua valley, and could see rain clouds in the distance, but they avoided us this time. I was happy to see that the wonderful old madrone that had been disfigured by people carving initials and dates on it was actually healing itself. The wood was beginning to grow over the defacing and I just hope nobody else tries to immortalize themselves on its magnificent skin. On the road out of the preserve we were accompanied (with a fence between them and us) by a herd of young bullocks that was having a great time galloping around and having mock battles with each other. Hikers were leader Chris Stockdale and non-member Mark Anthony.

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