Old Baldy/Coburg Hills

April 21, 2007

An earlier hike this year, to show off the flowers, which seem to be gone by late May. Trouble is, rain is an operative word for today. We headed out Coburg Road, turned off on McKenzie View, and on to Pasture Gate which had been opened by my assistant leader Ron Funke. We all drove up road to parking area and got ready. I gave the talk about the special permission we have to hike in the area. Then back down to McKenzie View road and traveled East to the Trail Gate. Over the gate, and upwards into the East Caves, via the Kirk Memorial Trail. Up to the “Cave” and got the required group picture. Then upward and onward along the base of the climbing rocks, pointing out the many routes that have been done. Also Rick Ahrens, who was our official natural history guru, pointing out the many wild flowers along the way. Slowly we worked our way up to the open bench to get views of the Springfield/Eugene area below. It was a chance to get a breather after the steep trail to this point. Then it is off up the hill in a gradual climb through the woods. When we came to the big open meadow, the rain decided to stop teasing us, and make a statement. Nobody seemed to worry about it, and good humored comments were made by all. We stopped now and then for flowers and got a chance to see the rare and endangered Upland Yellow Violet. We continued on using deer trails, cow trails, man trails, and the old wagon road that used to go from Coburg to Marcolla when the winter rains stopped travel along the river. Then we were on the “Steep” which is the section, which is through the bald part of Baldy. It is steep, but has semi steps in the trail for footing. On top for a short bit of time for views (hardly any) and then into the woods to have lunch out of the rain. Then it was time to head on down a different way than up, working our way past the “Whale” (climbing school practice rock in the past) and eventually back to the parked cars. I really enjoyed leading the hike and sharing this area with such neat positive people.

Hikers were: Rick Ahrens, Bob Foster, Ron Funke (assistant leader), George Jobanek, Gary Kirk (leader), Mary Morrison and Barb Revere; and nonmembers: Lorrie Hoffman, Susan Mombert, Bill Nelson and Carol Stern.

Group in the “Cave”

Upland Yellow Violet

—photos by Gary Kirk

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