Bunchgrass Ridge

October 8, 2006

Apparently no Obsidian has led a hike along the Bunchgrass Ridge trail since 1992, somewhat surprising since it is within a reasonably short driving distance from Eugene, is a relatively easy hike and offers great views. Two carloads of Obsidians were blessed with perfect weather for this hike, which was billed as “12 miles plus.” We were a colorful group as we knew it was hunting season and wore bright colors, but fortunately we did not see or hear any hunters until later in the day when a couple of shots were heard in the distance. We had the trail completely to ourselves. The somewhat rough route crosses several meadows that at this time of year were filled with the dried stalks of thousands of bear grass blooms — what a sight this must be earlier in the year! It also wends its way through the woods, along the ridgeline offering filtered views both to the north (with the Sisters, Broken Top and Bachelor in sight) and to the south over the Hwy 58 valley and beyond. Quite a long stretch of the trail goes through the old Warner Creek burn area, which is regenerating well, before climbing the one challenging hill to our lunch spot with a great view of Diamond Peak. From here on, it was an exploratory hike as the leader had not ventured further. We were all glad we did continue as we encountered beautiful, sweeping meadows with views towards Waldo Lake (though we couldn’t see it). In the middle of one meadow we found a sign indicating that the area was the site of the old Sheep Camp, dating to the mid-1800s. Unfortunately, our hike photographer — Jim Pierce — had a nasty fall, twisting a knee and spraining an ankle, giving him a painful six mile hike out. This accident, along with the leader getting “sucker punched” in the chest by a protruding branch (that’s what happens when you’re watching where you put your feet and not looking at other hazards), made the hike even more memorable. Enjoying the day’s solitude were members Daphne James, George Jobanek, Sam Miller, Jim Pierce, Chris Stockdale (leader) and non-member Mary Rieger.

Signpost in the meadow

In the meadow

Remnants of the fire

Sam enjoys the sunshine

—photos by Chris Stockdale

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