King's Valley

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Leader: Dan Christensen
Hike: 5 miles, 600 ft (Easy)

The weather for the trip was expected to be marginal, at best. Fortunately, the weather gods smiled on us. Other than a couple of brief showers and a few granules of hail near the end, the weather was comfortable; cloudy with some sun breaks.

The King's Valley hike is actually 2 hikes originating at separate historic sites. The first began at the historic (1875) Plunkett farmhouse, a site donated to Benton County and managed by the County as a Park. The hike begins along Plunkett Creek, then turns up a ridgeline to continue on a 2 mile plus loop which takes you back to the farmhouse. The ridgeline is fairly steep, but 20 switchbacks in a very well maintained trail enable one to comfortably reach the ridgetop. The vegetation is primarily typical Coast Range foothill dense rain forest. Some trilliums were blooming but most of the flowers typically found this time of year were absent.

For the second leg of the trip we drove a couple of miles further up King's Valley Road and then 2 miles west to the Ft. Hoskins site, which is also now a county park. This park has an excellent covered picnic area with a great view southeast across a portion of the Valley. After lunch, we began a loop trip around the old fort site which contains lots of interpretive signs to give one an excellent understanding of the area's history. The original farmhouse, built on the property in 1868 by the pioneer family who bought the fort site from the government at the end of the Civil War, is also viewable from the outside on this loop. Once the loop was completed, we crossed the park road and climbed another ridge above the Park. This climb does not seem as steep as the one on Plunkett Ridge, but because it has very few switcbacks it is a bit more difficult climb. This portion of the trail circles around an extensive open savannah, containing some Oaks and Douglas Firs, and back down to the Park.

Each of these 2 hikes is 2 to 2 1/2 miles with elevation gain of no more than 5-600 feet. We had left Springfield around 8AM and were back to the parking lot before 3.

Members: Dan Christensen, Patricia Mac Afee, Chris Stockdale, Jim Whitfield, Moshe Rapaport, Rich Romm.


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