North Fork Middle Fork Willamette River
November 19, 2006
It seems that very few people are aware of this beautiful trail that is so easy to get to. Perhaps we should keep it that way because if it becomes “discovered,” the crowds will descend.
Although the forecast called for rain and wind (this is November, after all), twelve Obsidians headed up to Westfir and the start of the trail. It heads upriver from the parking lot that is immediately on the other side of the covered bridge. One of the joys of this parking lot is the restrooms with running water and hot air hand dryers – a bonus at the end of a wet cold hike.
We had a variety of hiking speeds, but as there are no trail junctions to mislead people, groups took their time. Thanks to the unusual amount of rainfall, the river was a spectacular sight, with white water roaring over many small waterfalls and rapids. Enough fall foliage remained on the trees to add color to what was a rather grey day. Mushrooms of all sizes and colors seemed to be popping out of the ground as we hiked along.
Everybody arrived at the lunch spot – a reasonably dry area sheltered by trees and right by the river. At this point, one carload decided to turn back, and the other two to keep going. The end of the trail is, however, still an unknown as nobody wanted to continue past about 6 miles, knowing they had to hike back 6 soggy miles. This trail is apparently under construction to extend along the river to the Kiahanie campground, but with the reduced budget for the Willamette National Forest, this may take many years to accomplish.
The wind and rain picked up as we headed back to the aforementioned hot air dryers. The group all agreed it’s a beautiful trail that has much to offer whatever the weather.
All Obsidians, Zella Andreski, Jim Clarkson, Jim & Kathy Floyd, Dick Hildreth, Daphne James, Bill McWhorter, Mary Morrison, Sam Miller, Jim Pierce, and Martha Welches joined leader Chris Stockdale for this outing.