Cowhorn Mountain

July 17, 2010

What a gorgeous day — crystal clear skies, pleasant temperatures and a great group of hikers (so what if there were a few mosquitoes buzzing around — a nice breeze kept them at bay much of the time).

We left Eugene at 7:00 a.m. to get a jump on the long drive and were heading up the PCT from Windigo Pass by about 9:30. Within a couple of hours on the trail we arrived at the base of Cowhorn and left the PCT to head up Cowhorn’s steep, exposed western ridge, through scree, over the volcanic dike, and on to the rock scramble to the top, reaching the summit about 12:30. The 360° view of mountains from Diamond Peak, to Jefferson, to the Three Sisters, to Thielsen, to the rim of Crater Lake, to Mt. Bailey, was incredible with the so much snow still on them. After a leisurely lunch while clinging to the small summit for about an hour, we headed back, gingerly down-scrambling through the rocks and sliding down the scree.

We encountered considerably more snow along the trail this year than usual, particularly along the north slope of the ridge as the PCT approaches the base of Cowhorn. The snow was easily traversed and keeping track of the trail’s location was aided by following the horse tracks of the volunteer trail clearing crew that had just passed through. Even without the horse tracks, the patches of snow were not so extensive as to cause significant route finding difficulties.

We all arrived back at the trailhead about 4:30 and headed home. The leader, Janet and Erin stopped at Crescent Lake for a cool, refreshing dip in the lake to get rid of the layers of trail dust, bug spray and sun screen, before the long haul down Highway 58.

Hikers were members Janet Jacobsen, John Jacobsen (leader), Daphne James and Sam Miller; and nonmembers Chuck Harpham, John Hartman and Erin Hewett.

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