May 31, 2009
We keep being told to “make time for the girls,” so on Sunday, May 31, we did just that! When all the men who had signed up for the hike dropped out, they left a great group of six women to enjoy the day together. Our non-member Jen, an experienced hiker, called to ask if this was going to be a slow hike. I quickly reassured her that would not be the case, with the likes of Elle Weaver and Daphne James to emulate mountain goats. She was not disappointed and, I think, almost met her match.. New member Judy Ness was concerned, too, but she was wondering if this hike would be too challenging for her. She, too, was not disappointed.
At South Eugene, we all piled into my VW camper and this gave us a great opportunity to get to know each other before hitting the trail. We were glad that 95 percent of the trail is in the woods as it’s a tough hike up to the summit, gaining 2600’ in 5½ miles and we were there on one of those extraordinarily hot May days. Everybody hiked her own pace, meeting up at several rest points. On the lower parts of the trail, the rhodies were beginning to bloom, and the open meadows of the summit had a good show of wild flowers. Thanks to the extremely dry weather the Willamette Valley area had been experiencing, the air was very hazy, but we still had fantastic views of the Sisters, Mt. Washington and the McKenzie Valley. Although it appeared that we were the only hikers that day, we definitely were not alone. What seemed like a hundred mountain bikers climbed past us on the way up and congregated on the summit But good mannered bikers they all were and none of them ran into any of us. We were glad, though, that we were still enjoying lunch when they all took off, flying down the trail. (We didn’t encounter any corpses on the way down, so assume they all survived the trip.)
Judy, though somewhat tired, was thrilled to have conquered Castle Rock and attributed her success to the support of the group. I attribute it more to her gutsy determination to get up there! A great attitude combined with a wonderful sense of humor guarantees that she’ll achieve what she sets out to do. (Look for Judy scaling Lassen at Summer Camp.)
Everybody voted for a slight detour to visit Harbick’s for cold drinks before heading back to Eugene. Enjoying the day out were Lynda Christiansen, Daphne James, Elle Weaver, Judy Ness, Chris Stockdale (leader) and non-member Jen Jackson.