Marys Peak

Friday, June 17, 2011
Leader: Dan Christensen
Hike: 8 miles, 2000 ft (Moderate)

Watching the gentle Spring rain fall on my patio on Saturday reinforced the realization that the capricious Spring weather gods had once again been dodged on our Friday hike. On Friday skies were clear in the Valley with temperatures eventually reaching near 80. On top of the mountain a broken cloud cover combined with sun breaks to produce a temperature only reaching the low 60s. Nonetheless it was a perfect day for climbing Mary’s Peak on the North Trail route.

The trailhead is about 1 ½ hours from Eugene, west of Philomath, at the end of Woods Creek Road. The hike begins with an initial climb up a modest slope into a hemlock forest glen. This flat area was covered with a thick carpet of oxalis in flower. It was the kind of magic forest place one simply doesn’t want to move on from. Nonetheless we continued through this flat area to the bottom of the ridge that leads up the mountain. The ridge trail is steep but well maintained with a nice series of switchbacks which make the climb very manageable. Unlike prior years, there was considerable blowdown on the trail but none that presented any problems. We were surprised to find Trillium in bloom, more than a month later than normal. Further, in a high meadow just off the trail daffodils were in full bloom. The flowers that are normally present in mid June were absent and likely won’t be seen until July. However, beautiful displays of avalanche lilies were present on higher slopes. Snow was largely gone except under trees and on slopes away from the sun.

The meadow on top of the Peak did contain a fair number of colorful small flowers. As usual, a coastal cloud cover prevented any views of the ocean from the peak. However, to the East, mountains all the way from Diamond Peak to Adams and Hood could be seen.

We had lunch on top of the mountain and then hiked back down to the trailhead. The hike up the mountain takes about 3 hours to cover 4 ½ miles while going down requires a bit over 2 hours.

Members: Dan Christensen, Art Kearney, Jim Whitfield, Chris Stockdale, Nancy Whitfield.

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