N. Fork Middle Fork Willamette

Monday, November 15, 2010
Leader: Tom Musselwhite
Hike: 6.5 miles, 1450 ft (Moderate)

Two weeks earlier this trail was bright with the color of vine maple, and huge big-leaf maple leaves covered large stretches of the forest path. This day, most of the leaves were down, and bare limbs foretold of winter’s approaching storms. This North Fork hike is the first trip of the official Obsidian Winter Trips season, and the first to be scheduled through Obsidians’ online access. Online access worked with only a few bugs, which, from my end were not a problem with John Jacobsen’s help. A triumph considering all that is involved. The user/member interface works to add or remove participants and edit trip info. The Trip Signup Sheet pdf (now on 11 inch paper instead of 14 inch legal paper) printed out well. Overall, from volunteering to lead a trip, to signing up for an outing, the online system offers many advantages. One is a Trip Signups Utility Sheet available for Leaders to print that contains Participant contact information.

Our party of four Obsidians departed Amazon Center promptly at 8:30am, and arrived back shortly after 3:00pm It was cloudy, gray, and overcast when we left Eugene. We found mostly clear skies up river, but in less than 2 hours the weather began to change to misty rain. The fir landscape became shrouded with drifting fog as we explored this 6.5 mile trail segment along the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. We found assorted fungi and salamanders, and springboard notches in the stumps of old trees. Judging by the tracks, a single large deer had recently preceded us up the trail. The river level was up . . . snowmelt from recent rain on new snow in the high country. Despite the weather, the trail was not very slick or muddy. We were all adequately equipped for the weather, and experienced no problems as we each bounced between short sleeves and rain gear several times. The weather forecast had been for scattered showers beginning about 1:00pm. The steadily increasing drizzle hit us about noon as we sat down for lunch. Thanks, no doubt, to our excellent safety discussion before embarking we have no accidents to report . . . and I had plenty of time to make my last First Aid Class (Outdoor First) at the Obsidian Lodge that night. There are numerous footbridges (7-9) across tributary creeks . . . some are more slippery than others, but not dangerous unless you aren’t paying attention. This trail has several steep sections, both up and down, that require sure footing and a moderate amount of stamina. Trailheads for this section are located on FS Road 1912 and FS Road 1920.

Members: Tom Musselwhite, Brian Popowsky, Dick Hildreth, Keiko Bryan.

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