Upper McKenzie River Trail: Clear Lake Lodge to Trail Bridge

May 26, 2007

When we arrived at Ellen Sather’s Blue River home to add her to our group of eager hikers, what caught our eyes were not the warm muffins and hot coffee she had for us, but the beautiful view of the McKenzie River tumbling along just outside her porch rails. Thanks, Ellen for sharing your kitchen, porch and bathrooms with us! We gobbled the muffins and coffee and enjoyed the river view for about 20 minutes before heading up to Clear Lake Lodge to begin our hike down to Trailbridge. We had to hunt for parking at Clear Lake Shelter as many boaters were out and they must have been in a huge hurry that morning by the way they parked their rigs! Boats were everywhere at Carmen Reservoir too: dads fishing, moms and kids sitting on shore taking up all the shade. All along our walk, we shared the trail with many mountain bikers, mostly fit-looking young men, only a few with equally fit-looking young women—it looks like a brutal sport to me—very tough! For the number of bikes that travel this trail, it is in remarkably good condition. The trail surface is covered in fir needles—inches deep, so even where wet, it is not muddy—more like potting soil that brushes off when dry. We were surprised to see only five people when we arrived at Tamolitch pool. Usually this is the most populated spot of the trip. Perhaps the recent reopening of the trail from Trailbridge was not widely known. Last winter this section suffered a huge blowdown that we marveled at as we walked along. Many, many big trees went down in a half-mile swath that spanned both sides of the McKenzie. Crews had cleared the trail well, but that storm must have been awesome! Thanks go to all my companions for a lovely trip, and to Cork and Jim for driving, and Ellen, again, for sharing her home, being sweep and delicious coffee and muffins!

Hikers were members: Anne Bonine, Jim Duncan, Sharon Duncan, Carol Fairbanks, Carolyn Higgins, Cork Higgins, Sachiko Iwasaki, Diane Jeffcott, Nola Nelson, Sally Quigley, Barb Revere (leader), Ellen Sather and Lee Young and nonmember Barbara Aten.

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