June 12, 2010
The trip was organized as a snow trip due to cooler than normal temps, higher than average precip and the McKenzie Bridge ranger station reporting a snow level of 4200 ft.
We lucked out by having beautiful weather and snow was not a factor. That being said it was a physical trip in rugged country. We chose to do the hike by its south loop to maximize success as it’s more direct to the Rock itself. The first five miles of trail ascends from 2000 ft. at the confluence of Rebel Creek and the South Fork of the McKenzie River to 5300 at the crest of a ridge I call West Rebel with great views of Mt. Jefferson, the Three Sisters, Rebel Mtn. and Rebel Rock, our goal for the day.
What happened to all that snow? Due to the southern exposure of Rebel Mtn. and the whole south loop, the snow was only a minor inconvenience. We stashed our snowshoes and other implements worthy of snow at the West Rebel view and continued forward to a point of interest along the trail known as Rebel Lookout and Heli Pad. The lookout is weather beaten and more a rodent hostel than a place for humans to lay down a bed roll. It has great views of the South Fork of the McKenzie canyon, the southern end of the Three Sisters Wilderness and the Cascade crest peaks of Mt. Bachelor, Packsaddle, Horse and Irish Mountains.
Another .5 of a mile you leave the vague trail behind and ascend Rebel Mtn. while traversing the Rebel Rock geologic area, a series of weathered basalt dikes making up a precipitous and imposing wall of rock high on the canyon wall. Once we arrived at the summit of Rebel Mtn. we traversed south through thick brush to the Rock itself. Once at the rock there are sweeping views to the east of the Three Sisters, Broken Top and Mt. Bachelor. The Rock itself is imposing, the summit tantalizingly close but I would not recommend scaling this over hung, mossy and loose precipice without some protection.
Some other highlights along the trail were forested ravines that were choked with deadfall and flowing streams. Up higher the forest opened up to meadows that were choked with new growth that obscured the trail which managed to separate our party once or twice and showy wild flowers such as yellow orchids, creamy white trilliums and blue/white irises that really added beauty to these brushy meadows and rock outcroppings that dominate the high country.
It was a strenuous day with blisters, cramping and dehydration that accompanied us through the trip and affected us all to some degree. It was a great experience nevertheless with a great group of fellow Obsidians.
Hikers were Sean Breslin, Danni Harris, Bistra Hristova and Larry Huff, leader.