To our surprise, the road to the trailhead was blocked by a locked gate. Instead of adding 5 miles to our overall hike and returning to Eugene later than planned, an alternate hike at Browder Ridge was quickly organized. After loading back into our vehicles and leaving behind a swarm of mosquitoes, we drove to the relatively close Gate Creek Trailhead.
We followed the Gate Creek Trail almost 2 miles to a fabulous viewpoint located on the shoulder of Browder Ridge at 4,800 ft. elevation. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the warm sunshine while viewing Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, Hoodoo Butte, Black Butte and the Three Sisters with a cloudless, brilliant blue sky for a backdrop. Hikers we met on the trail reported seeing a bear and encountering deep snow drifts blocking their way beyond the viewpoint so we agreed this would be a good place to turn around.
Along the way we saw an abundance of trillium in bloom. Because of the late thaw, we were too early to enjoy the fields of bracken fern, false hellebore, and patches of bear grass that are usually growing in late June and early July. We went around and over several downed trees and crossed several slippery patches of snow. To our good fortune, there weren’t any mosquitoes!
This moderate hike has an elevation gain of 1,150 ft. and was successfully completed by all including one hiker who accidentally left his boots at home and wore sandals with Vibram soles - good thing he was wearing hiking socks to keep his toes warm going across the snow!
The leader was looking forward to the original hike and reaching the top of the Middle Pyramid so it was disappointing to have to opt for Plan B; however, we made the best of a beautiful day and had a very enjoyable hike.Members: Mary Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Nancy Whitfield, Barbara Norregaard, Judy Terry, Guy Strahon, Jim Duncan, Ed Lichtenstein. Nonmembers: Charles Fisher, Tonya Cronkright.
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