Kings Valley

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Leader: Dan Christensen
Hike: 5 miles, 600 ft (Easy)

The weather looked very iffy for this early season venture into the foothills of the Coast Range, west of Philomath. However, the weather gods smiled on us. Pleasant temperature, no wind, and a nice mix of clouds and sun. The hike combined historical elements with the beauty of a Coast Range forest. The first leg of the hike was into the Beazell Memorial Forest, now managed by Benton County, which still contains the original 1875 Plunkett farm house. The intention is to convert portions of the forest to oak savannahs. The 3 mile trail follows Plunkett Creek, then circles up a ridgeline above the creek, then follows the ridgeline and eventually takes you back to the trailhead.

The 2nd leg requires a drive a few miles further north to the Ft. Hoskins historic site, also managed by the county. A very well done series of interpretive signs describe the history of the location as you circle the site. Again, the original 1869 farmhouse, built by the family who bought the property after it was decommissioned by the military, is well preserved. Considerable exterior restoration has occurred, but funding appears lacking for the interior. The 2 mile trail extends around the fort site and then climbs a ridge above the fort on a circular trail. The south side of the ridge contains a large savannah in which the intention is to replace Douglas Firs with oak trees.

We left Eugene at 9, stopped at the Philomath DQ on our way back, and returned home about 4 PM.

Members: Dan Christensen, Clara Emlen, Mari Baldwin, Jim Whitfield, Kathleen Willett, Keiko Bryan. Nonmembers: Bob Graff.

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