Browder Ridge Thru-Hike

July 18, 2009

After leaving Eugene at 8:00 a.m., we arrived at the Gate Creek Trailhead at the east end of Browder Ridge shortly after 10:00. The hikers waited at Gate Creek for three vehicles to be driven to the west trailhead on Forest Road 080 and for the three drivers to return to Gate Creek in one vehicle. Although the two trailheads are only about 15 miles apart, the round trip between the two took about 45 minutes, so that our hike didn’t begin until 11:00 AM. Because of the late start, we skipped the side trip to the ridge summit and hiked straight through along the ridge.

The weather was perfect and the wildflowers were spectacular! Trilliums, false hellebore, and bear grass were past their prime for the season, but we were right on time for so many more, including great displays of Cascade lilies, penstemon, columbine, and many others. Each meadow we encountered had its own “personality”; some were mostly one color of bloom, while others were mixes. Some meadows were mostly dry rock flowers and others were filled with tall ferns.

Recent work on the final section of trail has made major changes. Previously, the trail from the west trailhead gained 850 feet in elevation in less than a mile. The trail was recently rebuilt with several switchbacks, reducing the steepness, but increasing the length of trail to the ridgeline.

Hikers were Obsidians Barb Revere, Bill Rodgers, Daphne James, Paul Flashenberg, Brian & Mary Hamilton, Peter & Kitson Graham, Rob Castleberry, and guests, Tina Dixon, David Kolb, and Barry Taub. Thanks to Barb and Peter for driving the shuttle cars.

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