Three of us went out to the Dunning Rd. Trailhead east of Oakridge and hiked up Aubrey Mountain. I had gone the same way towards Heckletooth the week before, but this time we turned at the junction. There are significant map discrepancies here. The GPS shows a road and a trail; the Oakridge map shows the road and then the trail coming from it, which is correct. The trail, however, has a sign saying "Aubrey meadows 1/2 mile," when in fact it is closer to a mile, and the trail goes below the summit (of sorts) of 3000' Aubrey Mountain. From the meadow, the map shows the trail looping back to the trail we came in on, and indeed, there is a junction near the beginning. The problem is that the trail from the meadow clearly is headed north as well as down, and I wasn't entirely clear that we weren't going to end up at Salmon Creek. It's possible the trail goes down a long way and then switches back, but the map doesn't show that route. Not wanting to have us descend a long way only to re-ascend and go back the way we came, we turned around not long after the meadow, and retraced our steps, which is what I had planned.
We saw about a dozen elk cross the trail and I had a praying mantis on my pack during lunch. The colors were good, but it was past the peak. Still, it was a nice day to be out there, and while we saw rather fresh mountain bike tracks, we saw nobody again. I'd do Heckletooth again; for the little extra effort compared to Aubrey, it is a lot better hike.Members: Mike Smith, David Lodeesen, Marguerite Cooney.
Mike and Marguerite entering the threshold of our magical mystery tour.—photo by David Lodeesen
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