Opal Creek Wilderness/Jawbone Flats

October 29, 2010

Predictions of 40 percent precipitation didnít materialize. We all were grateful for the sometimes cloudy and often sunny day as we hiked 3.25 miles along Forest Road 2209 to Jawbone Flats. Damp moss dangled from old-growth limbs. Huge fungi clung to enormous trunks. Red, black and purple mushrooms stood among clumps of dewy ferns, wild geraniums and withering Solomon Seal. Within earshot, the swollen North Santiam River rushed over enormous boulders. In a clearing, Depression-era machinery and an outbuilding are still intact, remnants of the abandoned Merten Mill. Just beyond, Sawmill Fallsí step-like, frothy rapids glimmered in the sunlight.

At Jawbone Flats, we ate lunch and chatted, and admired the well-preserved yet retrofitted buildings of this old mining camp. We wandered among a roadside exhibit of old trucks and aging wood burning stoves. Before returning to our car, we took a short jaunt to Opal Pool, a luminescent gem in this lush wilderness.

Members: Chris Cunningham, Pete Peterson and Lamonte Smith. Nonmember: Janel Laidman.

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