Tidbits Mountain

July 18, 2008

All the signs were propitious. The weather forecast was mid 70s with a zero percent chance of rain, and everyone was on time and ready to go at 8 a.m. at SEHS. We drove up 126, turned onto Road 15 and met at the campground on Blue River reservoir for a restroom break. We quickly made our way to the gravel of 1509 for an eight mile drive to the trailhead. The road conditions were our first sign that everything wasn’t going to be perfect after all. Although the road was open, it was quickly obvious that it had been a hard winter. The road was passable but littered with downed trees, boulders and other debris. We parked at a wide spot in the road a quarter of a mile from the trailhead because the connecting road is notorious for its car-eating potholes. When we got to the top of the road to the trailhead parking area, we found two sinkholes marked by rock cairns—yet another reason to park down below. We started up the trail under crystal clear skies and a temperature of 60. The trail was lined with blooming rhododendrons and many other wildflowers—flowers that are rarely seen this late in the year. Right before the junction that leads to the rock slide and the climb to the summit, we suddenly ran into large patches of snow. After navigating six or seven patches of snow before reaching the rockslide, and being confronted with yet another large snow patch, we decided that continuing was too risky and returned to the junction. Since it was only 11:15, we decided to head down to the cars for lunch. After surviving the snow and making the decision that discretion was the better part of valor, you would think we would be rewarding with an easy descent. Such was not to be. One hiker stumbled and slipped about 15–20 feet down the embankment. Two nearby hikers quickly jumped into action and scrambled down the slope to assist. The good news was that the person who tripped was fine. The bad news is one of the rescuers cut his arm sliding down the hill. Fortunately, we had plenty of first aid supplies and quickly had a bandage on the arm. When we got back to the cars a more lengthy rebandaging was performed while eating lunch. Despite the snow and the slips, everyone was in good spirits and humor. After lunch one car headed back to Eugene to make sure that our hero’s arm and been properly treated while the rest of us made a short detour to the old growth nature trail at the Delta Campgrounds just off 126 on the Aufderheide. Hikers included non-members, Lisa Cunningham, Carol Armstrong and Sarah Procter and members Stewart Hoeg (leader), Kathy Hoeg, Lyn Gilman-Garrick, Jim Fritz, Barb Bruns, Pam Morris, Bill Rodgers and Bud Proctor.

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