October 11, 2015.
Another day, another hike assignment for hike366. I was really feeling like I’d run out of options. So I pulled out an old guidebook I’d found in a thrift store and read through the descriptions. One area east of Eugene caught my attention, and I started reading.
Most of the hikes were short, and it seemed like a lot of driving for a little hiking. But I found two quick hikes that started from trailheads just a few miles apart. Bingo, my trip was coming together.
The trail to the Little Cowhorn gained 450′ in about a mile. It began up a steep, gated forest service road that led to the trail. The lush, green forest held on to a lot of moisture so I warmed up quickly in the humid air. All along the path there were moss-covered rock pinnacles hiding behind the trees. It was a unique landscape. Near the top, a handrail appeared along the trail. Steel cables strung between poles protected hikers from tumbling off the edge of the trail. It seemed a bit excessive to me, but maybe this area had a history of falls?
Suddenly I burst out of the dense forest and into the blue skies. The fire lookout was straight ahead. It was open, so I had a peek inside. It was clean and well-maintained. There was a killer view from the deck. This would be a great place to hang out!
So I did.
It was still early morning, and I had time to spare. I stared at the mountains until their images were burned into my retinas. Aah, the Cascades. They simply never get old.
A hop, skip and a jump and I was back at the car. One more stop to go: Clark Butte…
All I’ll say is that it was an ass-kicker 🙂
All in all I hiked 7.5 miles in three hours on those two hikes. Not a bad way to spend the morning. Lots of views, foliage, mushrooms and solitude. Not many people head out on these trails, especially mid-week. This project has been a great way to encourage me to seek out little known places and get out hiking during off-peak times!