Old Baldy - Coburg Hills

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Leader: Gary Kirk
Hike: 6 miles, 1500 ft (Difficult)

It's Saturday May 21st, so over to South Eugene High School NE parking spot, put little “Baldy” sign on top of pickup. Soon we had folks showing up. I got people to pay fee and sign the signup sheet. We got car transport worked out. We waited until 9:05 for a no show, but then just left. One canceled after she paid the fee, because she did not read the sign up, and had made a commitment for 2:00 in afternoon, so there is no way she could make it. So off to Pasture Gate, and it was open. Zip up and park, and TNC’s Matt Gibbons is waiting for us. Soon we have the “Talk” about how lucky we are to get up into this area nowadays. Matt did his TNC bit with map and information, and he got lots of questions. Then we started, by walking back down to McKenzie View and down to next gate. It’s going to be the alternate way, as we can’t go any farther East. The falcons are nesting in the East Caves. We got over gate, and headed up through the wet grass, gaining the ridge, and walking through the meadows, on up to power line road. Followed the road on up to where it crosses the trail from the East Caves up to Baldy. Tom and I had checked this out last week and it works out well. Up the trail to the Coburg/Marcola Wagon Road, where Matt talked about the Oak Savannah restoration. Lots of flowers along the way. Rick Ahrens does not have to see a bird to identify it, as he knows their calls, and there were a lot of different birds, as we slowly gained altitude. Off the old Coburg/Marcola Wagon Road, onto the regular trail. We got to the “Steep” and I asked Tom Happy to lead the speedy ones up to the summit, while I slowly wandered behind. On top for lunch at 12:00. Views were good for the valley, but not the Cascades. No rain on the hike, and things are drying out from the shower early in the morning. So people could sit and eat where they wanted. Matt had to leave for an appointment at 12:30, so when we were ready to continue, he took off down regular trail. We headed over to the col between the TV towers and Baldy. Then slowly worked our way down to lower meadow. Through the wet areas, but by staying high wasn’t bad. Soon into the woods, and even though I’m sure some thought I was lost, we ended up at the crawl under the fence spot. Over to the Main Caves, but so much wet moss, I decided not to climb up anything. But they still are impressive. Back to fence and down the trail (of sorts) and over to the Whale where we used to do a lot of Obsidian Climbing Schools along with the Main Caves, in the past. Lots of memories for me there. Then onto the regular trail down to the cars, where I gave thanks to all for their fine attitude on the hike. It had been most enjoyable group of hikers. They also thanked TNC and the Jaqua family for allowing me to take them into this area. I walked down and opened the gate and they soon were heading on back to town.

Members: Kirk, Gary, Ahrens, Rick, Schmidt, Jeanne, Eyers, Chuck, Bryan, Keiko. Nonmembers: Happy, Tom, Gibbons, Matthew, Kirk, Kim, Bronson, Patrick, Hsiao, Berri, Berenschot, Lisa, Hancock, Allen.

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