It was just as well this hike was described as “exploratory” as it didn’t go as planned. The leader had heard a report of a landslide blocking the road to the trailhead and called the McKenzie ranger station. She was given directions for a diversion, but managed to misinterpret them when the two cars of hikers tried to find it. However, the group had spotted the first trailhead for the Olallie trail (heading up from McKenzie Bridge) and opted to try that, with the still planned destination of Horsepasture Mountain. The first part of the trail is what seems like a never-ending trudge uphill through the forest, although it is well maintained for about the first 3 miles (by the mountain bikers); but where the O’Leary trail branched off, the Olallie trail immediately became less friendly as it headed through thick vegetation along an east-facing ridge. Great views of different peaks, however, made it pleasant. We found the trail for Horsepasture and climbed up to the top in the heat of mid-day and enjoyed spectacular views of the Cascade peaks from Hood to Diamond. Unfortunately what must have been a fantastic display of beargrass was over, but there were still plenty of other flowers. The trip back down seemed to have added miles as everybody was suffering a bit from the heat and unexpected elevation gain. The trip was meant to be 10.5 miles long with about 1200’ gain. Instead, it was determined the total elevation was 2800’ in 11 miles. A welcome stop at Harbicks for cold drinks and ice cream revived spirits for the journey home. Thanks to Becky and Lynda for driving.Members: Chris Stockdale, Katie Geiser, Becky Lipton, May Fogg, Dick Hildreth, Lynda Christiansen, Kate Parrish. Nonmembers: Jim Woods.
Lunch on top of Horsepasture—photo by Chris Stockdale
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