Marys Peak

June 18, 2009

My decision to schedule this hike in mid-June rather than in May proved to be a good one. The snow was gone and the trail was in excellent condition. The weather proved to be much cooler and more cloudy than in the valley, but just right for hiking. The hike proceeds up the east side of the Coast Range from a trailhead on Wood’s Creek Road (Off Hwy 20, two miles west of Philomath).

Following a modest climb up to and across a level area the climb up the Peak begins. The trail proceeds up a steep ridge with very long switchbacks, which make the climb seem less steep than the elevation gain would indicate. The coastal forest is primarily Hemlock with a thick oxalis ground cover over much of the area. Scattered wildflowers were in evidence. About 6/10s of a mile from the summit the trail emerges onto a parking lot where a road off of the Alsea Hiway ends. A service road then becomes the trail to the top of the peak. Notable features of this last segment include a thick stand of Noble Fir below the East side of the Peak and a beautiful “flower garden” considering of Paintbrush, Penstemon and many others along the South slope. As usual this time of year, a view the Pacific Ocean from the Peak was unavailable due to the dense cloud cover. However, Mary’s Peak is the highest elevation point in the Coast Range at 4097 feet.

Hikers were Bill Buskirk, Bob Freed, Kitson Graham, Peter Graham, Daphne James, Jim Pierce, Guy Strahon, Marian West, Ron Allen, Lisa Logsdon, Ernst Schwiztser and Dan Christensen, leader.

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