Skinner Butte

April 29, 2007

On a sunny Sunday morning, our group met at 9:00 in front of the Eugene Public Library. Eugene Marathon runners had started two hours earlier. We took our time gathering for a photograph around the bronze statue of Eugene Skinner looking up at his namesake butte. Jane Hackett walked over to her car (in front of Bradfords) to look for her keys while the rest of us strolled to the plaza to see the Ken Kesey Memorial statue, “The Storyteller”. A few minutes later, Jane appeared with the news that her car was being stolen when she walked up to it. She had left the keys in the car door and a young person was in the driverís seat ready to take off. Jane pounded on the car window and said a few words. The young man said it was his grandmotherís car but Jane told him differently. We missed the action but we were glad that Jane was safe. And I didnít think it was necessary to keep the group together downtown!

We stopped at the Hilton Hotel entrance to admire Dallas Coleís mural, “The Procession”, and then visited the Peace Park. In front of the Fifth Street Market, we read the Skinner survey marker and then made a short detour by some of the bungalows in the historic district. At Skinner Park we watched some of the runners heading east on the bike path. Rick Ahrens showed us a picture of the old 1930ís CCC camp that was located near Skinner Butte. The band at Lamb Cottage kept our spirits up as we started up the trail. Rick identified many flowers and helped us find the eagleís nest. On top of the Butte, there was plenty to see: the osprey nest, cackling ducks flying overhead, the O for Oregon, the well hidden E for Eugene, the Skinner marker for 1st Street, and a legacy white oak tree. We headed down the trail past native grasses to the columns and the Skinner cabin monument. The new landscaping and park benches at the columns certainly enhance the area. Back at the park, we inspected the replica of the Skinner cabin and childrenís playground. The band continued to entertain us as we walked by the native grasses and wildflower restoration project. At last we made it back to Fifth Street Market for lunch. Janet referred to several related books that could be checked out at the library. “Stubborn Twig” by Lauren Kessler (Peace Park/Japanese internment), Barbara Halloway mysteries by Kate Wilhelm (historic homes), “Skookum” by Shannon Applegate (Applegate Trail). The trip took at least three hours!

Hikers were: Rick Ahrens, Jim Duncan, Sharon Duncan, Jane Hackett, Janet Jacobsen (leader), Norma Lockyear, Karla Rusow and Peggy Windle.

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