North Bank Deer Preserve East part

June 19, 2010

Four Obsidians met up at the scenic Wal-Mart in Cottage Grove to carpool down to the eastern access trailhead of this wonderful, underused hiking area. The leader had done numerous exploratory hikes there and was anxious to show off this section of the Preserve that hasnít been offered as an Obsidian hike.

We were lucky with the weather as we had barely a sprinkle on a day that was forecast to contain showers. Setting off from the Comstock Day trailhead (a very pleasant, newly constructed area with restrooms, picnic shelter, and even a BBQ) we sauntered up Soggy Bottoms Trail. This lived up to its name in several places where we had to attempt to circumvent the extreme mud and muck. Climbing up higher into the hills we finally escaped the mud and could enjoy the profusion of wild flowers and extensive poison oak displays. We stopped for a quick snack at Grumpyís Pond, before heading further up towards the ridge. Our grassy lunch spot not only gave us fabulous views of the North Umpqua River Basin and surrounding hills, but we also ate right below a Purple Martin Sanctuary with song entertainment from the inhabitants. The Ďnestí houses are installed on long poles and look nothing like a birdís house but more like things from outer space but obviously the birds like them. After lunch we climbed up and down the 4-mile long Ridge Trail that offered views in every direction before finally heading down to the access road.

Hikers were Lynda Christiansen, Becky Lipton, Chris Shuraleff and leader Chris Stockdale.

(To access this trailhead, you need to drive the North Bank Road past the west trailhead another seven miles; turn left into a gated area that is well signed and follow the road about half a mile to the trailhead. The trailhead has a superb trail map showing all the different routes one can take. Horses, dogs, mountain bikes as well as hikers are welcome in this area yet we saw just a couple of horse people at the beginning and not another soul during our 5+ hour day.)

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